Easy Japanese Recipes

How To Make Dashi

How To Make Japanese Dashi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

What Is Dashi?

Dashi is a Japanese stock or broth, and it is a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes.  Dashi is made from kombu (dried kelp), bonito flakes (dried and smoked skipjack tuna that is shaved into thin flakes), anchovies/sardine (iriko or niboshi), or a combination of all or two of them.

All the dried foods used to make stocks are rich in naturally occurring glutamates and provide intense flavor to the stock.  Dashi creates a savory umami flavor from all these ingredients and you don’t need to season the food much if you have good dashi.

Dashi is used in many different Japanese dishes, such as miso soup, noodle soup, donburi (rice bowl), chawanmushi (savory egg custard), simmered dishes like Nikujaga and more.

Different Types of Dashi & Recipes

There are several types of dashi.  How do we decide which kind of dashi to use for a particular dish?  Well, there is no rule.  Each household may have preference, but I added some examples of dishes that go well with each type of dashi.

1) Dashi (Awase Dashi) 合わせだし

How To Make Dashi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

  • The most common seafood based stock made from a combination of kombu and bonito flakes.
  • A basic all-purpose stock that goes well with most of cooking and I use this dashi for 80% of my cooking.
  • When recipes call for “dashi”, use this dashi.  Awase in Japanese means “combination.”

This dashi is good for:

To make it from scratch, click here.

2) Kombu Dashi (Vegetarian) 昆布だし

 Kombu Dashi (Vegetarian) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

  • The vegetarian stock made from kombu (kelp).
  • Gentle flavor.  I use kombu dashi when the flavor of other ingredients are subtle.  Also, when the main ingredient is fish, I usually use kombu dashi because bonito flakes from awase dashi may overpower the flavor of the fish I’m cooking.
  • It’s probably the easiest dashi to make.

This dashi is good for:

To make it from scratch, click here.

3) Iriko Dashi いりこだし / 煮干だし

Iriko Dashi (Anchovy Stock) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

  • The seafood based stock made from dried baby anchovies/sardines.
  • Strong fishy aroma, but less fishy in flavor.
  • Most affordable compared to katsuobushi and kombu.
  • Most commonly used for making miso soup.  I also use iriko dashi when I want a nice savory stock to go with other strong distinct flavors, or seasoning like soy sauce.  I don’t use Iriko Dashi to cook fish as anchovies/sardines may overpower the flavor of the fish I’m cooking.

This dashi is good for:

To make it from scratch, click here (coming soon).

4) Shiitake Dashi (Vegetarian) 干し椎茸の戻し汁

Shiitake Dashi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

  • The vegetarian stock made from rehydraing dried shiitake mushrooms.
  • Rehydrated shiitake is used for cooking.
  • The soaking liquid (shiitake dashi) is rarely used as its own and usually combined with other kinds of dashi to enhance the flavor (add umami).

This dashi is good for:

To make it from scratch, click here.

Quick & Easy Dashi

1) Dashi Packet

Dashi Packet

Personally, I use this method for my daily use and it is good enough to make savory dashi stock without losing authenticity.

Quick Dashi Recipe (with Dashi Packet)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: Makes 3 Cups
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add water and dashi packet (some brand may ask you to add the packet after boiling). Start cooking covered over medium high heat. After boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Discard the packet and dashi stock is ready to use.
Notes
You can keep dashi stock in the fridge for 3-7 days. I don't recommend to freeze it, but I know some people do and you can keep for up to 3 months.

2) Instant Dashi Powder

No-MSG-Dashi-Powder-471x550

If all you need is dashi stock just to make one cup of  miso soup, you can use instant dashi powder to save time.  Nowadays there is MSG-free Dashi Powder available at Japanese grocery stores in Japan; however, it might be still difficult to find outside of Japan.  In Japanese MSG is written as 無添加 (mu-ten-ka) or 天然素材 (ten-nen-sozai).

Quick Dashi Recipe (with Dashi Powder)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp. instant dashi powder
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a boil, and stir in the dashi powder.
Notes
Dashi powder brand: Hondashi, Dashi-no-moto, MSG-Free Dashi Powder, etc.

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