Dashi

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Soups | Dashi Stock

(Japanese basic soup stock)

Dashi is the basic stock used in Japan for a wide variety of soups, stews and other dishes. Flavored with a combination of dried fish flakes and and seaweed, it has the simple, clean flavor of the ocean.

1 quart

Ingredients

  • Cold water -- 1 quart
  • Kombu (dried kelp), rinsed briefly in cold water -- 1 piece, about 4 inches square
  • Katsuobushi (bonito flakes) -- 1/3 cup

Method

  1. Place the cold water and kombu in a saucepan and set aside to soak for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring water just to a boil. Add the katsuobushi and immediately remove from heat.
  3. Let set for 5-10 minutes, and then strain, pressing down to remove as much liquid and flavor as possible. Discard the solids or use again to make niban dashi (see below). Use the dashi as directed in recipes.

Variations

  • Ichiban Dashi (First stock): stock made from the initial use of kombu and bonito flakes. Use for soups.
  • Niban Dashi (Second stock): stock made using kombu and katsuobushi strained from making an ichiban dashi. Niban dashi is for general use in dishes where it doesn't play a starring role, i.e. for simmering meats and vegetables.
  • Konbu Dashi (Vegetarian stock): Soak the kombu for an hour and eliminate the bonito flakes. Bring just to a boil and strain. Use for tofu dishes.
  • Hoshi-shiitake Dashi (Mushroom stock): Follow the same steps using 4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms instead of the kombu and katsuobushi. Let set 20-25 minutes before straining.
  • Niboshi Dashi (Sardine stock): Remove head and entrails from 1/2 cup dried sardines (niboshi) and soak in 1 quart water for 30 minutes to an hour. Bring just to a boil and strain. Used for miso soup.
  • Hondashi: instant dashi grains in a jar. Use about 1 1/2 teaspoons per 1 quart water.
  • Katsua Dashi: a liquid form. Add to fresh water.
  • Dashi-no-Moto: comes in bags to be steeped like tea in hot water.

Notes

  • Make sure not to boil the kombu for any period of time as it will turn slimy.
  • Most Japanese these days use instant dashi powder instead of making it fresh. But making your own will always be tastier.
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