How To Make Dashi

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

    What is Dashi & How to Make It?

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

    All the dried ingredients that are used to make dashi 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 Japanese dishes, such as miso soup, noodle soup, donburi (rice bowl), chawanmushi (savory egg custard), simmered dishes like Nikujaga and more.  Without dashi in Japanese cooking, it lacks authenticity.

    Different Types of Dashi & Recipes

    A lot of people think dashi is made of fish, so vegetarians and vegans can’t use dashi.  No, that’s not true.

    There are several types of dashi and I’ll introduce them here.  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 (vegetarian/vegan, check Kombu dashi).  Awase means “combination” in Japanese.

    This dashi is good for:

    RECIPE: To make it from scratch, check out How To Make (Awase) Dashi.

    2) Kombu Dashi (Vegetarian/Vegan) 昆布だし

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

    • The vegetarian/vegan 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 or seafood, I usually use kombu dashi because bonito flakes may overpower the flavor of the seafood.
    • It’s probably the easiest dashi to make.

    This dashi is good for:

    RECIPE: To make it from scratch, check out How To Make Kombu Dashi.

    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 bonito flakes 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 dish because it could taste too fishy overall.

    This dashi is good for:

    RECIPE: To make it from scratch, check out How To Make Iriko Dashi.

    4) Shiitake Dashi (Vegetarian/Vegan) 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:

    RECIPE: To make it from scratch, check out How To Make Shiitake Dashi.

    3 Ways To Make Dashi

    1) Make From Scratch

    1. Awase Dashi (kombu + dried bonito flakes)
    2. Kombu Dashi (kombu)
    3. Iriko Dashi (dried baby anchovies/sardine)
    4. Shiitake Dashi (dried shiitake mushrooms)

    2) Dashi Packet

    This is the most convenient method which produce pretty flavorful dashi.  One drawback is that these dashi packets might be hard to find in Asian grocery stores.  Your local Japanese grocery stores should carry one or several brands.

    Here in the U.S., you can purchase Japan’s most popular Kayanoya Dashi Packet from their online store or Amazon!

    Kayanoya Dashi Packet | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    No MSG & no preservative!

    Dashi Packet

    Yamaki Dashi Packet (you can buy from Amazon)

    RECIPE (How To Use Dashi Packet): Please see the recipe below.  

    3) Instant Dashi Powder

    If all you need is dashi that’s for one cup of  miso soup, instant dashi powder can be very convenient and save a lot of your time.

    Nowadays there is MSG-free Dashi Powder available at Japanese grocery stores (but it might be hard to find in Asian grocery stores).  In Japanese, No-MSG is written as 無添加 (mu-ten-ka) and 天然素材 (ten-nen-sozai).

    Dashi Powder | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    No MSG Dashi Powder

    RECIPE (How To Use Dashi Powder): Please see the recipe below.  

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    How To Make Dashi Stock
    Dashi (with Dashi Packet or Dashi Powder)
    Cook Time
    5 mins
     
    Course: Condiments
    Servings: 2 cups
    Ingredients
    With Dashi Packet
    • 2-3 cups water (2-3 cups = 480 - 720 ml) (See Notes)
    • 1 dashi packet (1 packet = 9 g)
    With Dashi Powder
    • 2-3 cups water (2-3 cups = 480 - 720 ml) (See Notes)
    • 1 tsp dashi powder (1 tsp = 6 g)
    Instructions
    Dashi Packet Method
    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 heat. After boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Discard the packet and dashi is ready to use.

      Dashi Packet Method
    Dashi Powder Method
    1. Bring water to a boil, and stir in the dashi powder.  Turn off the heat and dashi is ready to use.

      Dashi Powder Method
    Recipe Notes

    Water: Use 2 cups of water for rich dashi and 3 cups of water for regular use.  

     

    To Store: You can keep dashi in the refrigerator for up to 3-7 days.  I don't recommend to freeze dashi made with dashi packet/dashi powder.  

     

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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