How To Make Kombu Dashi (Vegetarian/Vegan Dashi) 昆布だし

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  • Learn how to make Kombu Dashi, vegan-friendly Japanese soup stock, at home and create the umami flavor for your Japanese dishes! 

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

    Dashi (Japanese soup stock) is a Japanese soup stock, and it is a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes to create authentic flavor. Today I want to share how to make Kombu Dashi (昆布だし).

    What is Kombu Dashi?

    Kombu Dashi (昆布だし) is a Japanese soup stock made with kombu (昆布 dried kelp), dried kelp that is used extensively in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cooking. In Korean, it is referred to as dasima (다시마), and in Chinese as haidai (海带).

    Kombu Dashi is vegetarian and vegan and the easiest dashi you can make.

    Kombu (Kelp) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    This sea vegetable earns its name as ‘the king of seaweeds’ because it possesses an amazing flavor and nutritional value, unlike any other seaweed. The most noteworthy advantage is its high content of glutamic acid, an amino acid responsible for umami. And umami is what you’re looking for in a dish where it provides a complex, elemental taste.

    If you follow a vegetarian/vegan diet or simply want to embrace a more plant-based diet, kombu is an outstanding ingredient to incorporate into your cooking. Besides being a great flavor enhancer and tenderizer, kombu is a powerful, health-promoting food that can make up for certain nutrients that are absent in the diets.

    In my Pantry Kombu page, I discuss different types of kombu and which kombu is good for specific types of food. Please go over the post if you want to know more about how to use kombu for Japanese cooking.


    Kombu Dashi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Two Methods in Making Kombu Dashi:

    Method 1: Cold Brew

    The cold brew or Mizudashi (水出し) method is pretty hands-off. All you need is to put water and 1-2 kombu strips in a large bottle, let steep for 2-3 hours or more.

    Method 2: Hot Brew

    If you need dashi right away, the hot brew or Nidashi (煮出し) is the method you can go with. Just place the kombu and water in a medium pot and gently bring out the flavor. Turn off the heat before it comes to a boiling point.

    A few quick tips on cooking with kombu:

    1. There is no need to wash or wipe off the white powdery substance as kombu is pretty clean these days. The white compound is known as Mannitol which is the key contributor to the umami.
    2. Make a couple of slits on the kombu will help release more flavor.
    3. Do not throw away the leftover kombu as it is can be repurposed into Kombu Tsukudani (Simmered Kombu) or Homemade Furikake (rice seasoning).

    Watch How to Make Kombu Dashi

    Learn how to make Kombu Dashi, vegan-friendly Japanese soup stock, at home and create the umami flavor for your Japanese dishes!


    Japanese wooden bowls containing vegan miso soup with tofu and seaweed.

    Recipes Using Kombu Dashi

    If you can’t access to kombu, another delicious option for making another vegetarian/vegan dashi is Shiitake Dashi.


    5 different types of dashi in a jar and their ingredients.

    The Ultimate Dashi Guide on Just One Cookbook

    Dashi plays an important role as a flavor enhancer in Japanese cooking, so you don’t need to season the food with too much salt, fat, and sugar. Rich in minerals and other vitamins, dashi is considered a healthy ingredient in our daily diet.

    There are five different types of dashi you can use in Japanese cooking, including vegetarian and vegan dashi (*).

    1. Kombu Dashi → made from kombu (dried kelp)*
    2. Katsuo Dashi → made from katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
    3. Iriko Dashi → made from iriko or niboshi (dried anchovies/sardines)
    4. Shiitake Dashi → made from dried shiitake mushrooms*
    5. Awase Dashi → made from a combination of all above or two (e.g., kombu + katsuobushi)

    If you are new to different types of dashi, check out my Ultimate Dashi Guide post.

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    3.96 from 22 votes
    Kombu Dashi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Kombu Dashi (Vegetarian/Vegan Dashi)
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    20 mins
     

    Learn how to make Kombu Dashi, vegan-friendly Japanese soup stock, at home and create the umami flavor for your Japanese dishes! 

    Course: Condiments, How to
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: dashi, kombu, stock
    Servings: 800 ml (3 ⅓ cups)
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    • oz kombu (dried kelp) (10 g, 4" x 4" OR 10 cm x 10 cm) (You can add more for stronger flavor)
    • 4 cups water (roughly 1000 ml)
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients. Most Japanese recipes would say to gently clean the kombu with a damp cloth. However, these days, kombu is pretty clean so just make sure it doesn't musty. DO NOT wash or wipe off the white powdery substance (Mannitol), which contributes to the umami flavor in dashi. 

      Kombu Dashi Ingredients
    2. Make a couple of slits on the kombu, which will help release more flavor.

      Kombu Dashi 1
    Method 1: Cold Brew Kombu Dashi (Mizudashi)
    1. Put water and kombu in a large bottle.

      Kombu Dashi 2
    2. Put the cap on and let it steep on the counter for 2-3 hours in the summertime and 4-5 hours in the winter time. You can also cold brew kombu dashi overnight in the refrigerator.

      Kombu Dashi 3
    3. Remove the kombu from the bottle and reserve the used kombu (see below). Kombu dashi is now ready to use. If you are not using the dashi right away, save it in a bottle and keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or in the freezer for 2 weeks. I recommend using it sooner for the best flavor.

      Kombu Dashi (Vegan Japanese Dashi Stock) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Method 2: Kombu Dashi with Boiling Water (Nidashi)
    1. In a medium pot, put the kombu and water. [optional] If you have time, soak for 3 hours or up to a half day ahead of time. Kombu’s flavor comes out naturally from soaking in water.

      Kombu Dashi 4
    2. Turn on the heat to medium-low heat and slowly bring to almost boil, about 10 minutes. 

      Kombu Dashi 5
    3. Meanwhile, clean the dashi by skimming the surface.

      Kombu Dashi 6
    4. Just before the dashi starts boiling, remove kombu from the pot (see below for what to do with it). If you leave the kombu inside, the dashi will become slimy and bitter. 

      Kombu Dashi 7
    5. Now kombu dashi is ready to use. If you are not using the dashi right away, save it in a bottle and keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or in the freezer for 2 weeks. I recommend using it sooner for the best flavor.

      Kombu Dashi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    What to Do with Used Kombu
    1. Save the used kombu in the airtight container for a few days in the refrigerator or for up to a month in the freezer. With the leftover kombu, you can make Kombu Tsukudani (simmered kombu) or Homemade Furikake (rice seasoning). I usually save the leftover kombu enough to make tsukudani.

      Kombu Dashi 8
    Recipe Notes

    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 and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2013. The images have been updated in April 2019.

     

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