Dashi is Japanese stock and is used in many Japanese dishes as the basic flavoring. Dashi is typically made from kombu (kelp), bonito flakes (dried and smoked skipjack tuna that is shaved into thin flakes), sardine (iriko or niboshi), or a combination of all or two of them. With good dashi, the umani creates an amazing taste so very little flavoring is required when you season the food.
So how do we decide which type of dashi to use for a particular dish? Well, each household may have preference, but I wrote some examples here about how I generally decide.
The great thing about kombu dashi is that it is vegetarian stock. You can use kombu dashi or shiitake dashi instead of awase dashi if you are vegetarian. Kombu dashi is probably the easiest dashi you can make. Enjoy!
Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
- 0.7 oz (20 grams or 4" x 5") kombu
- 4 cups (1000 ml) water
- A sieve
- Paper towel
- Gently clean the dashi kombu with a damp cloth but leave the white powdery substances which contribute to the umami flavor in dashi. Do not wash the kombu!
- Make a couple of slits on the kombu.
- Put water and kombu in a large bottle and let it seep for overnight (10 hours) in the refrigerator. Discard the kombu and it's ready to use! Easy, right? You can keep in the refrigerator for 3-7 days or in the freezer for 3 weeks.
- In a medium pot, put the kombu and water. If you have time, soak for 3 hours or up to half day ahead of time. Kombu’s flavor comes out naturally from soaking in water.
- Heat up the pot slowly on medium low heat. It will take 20-25 minutes to a boil. Meanwhile, clean the dashi by skimming the surface.
- Just before the dashi starts boiling, remove kombu. If you leave the kombu inside, the dashi will become slimy and bitter.
- Line the sieve with paper towel (cheese cloth/linen cloth) and set over a large bowl. Strain the dashi through the sieve.
- If you are not using the dashi right away, save it in a bottle and keep in the refrigerator for 3-7 days or in the freezer for 3 weeks.