How to make Dashi - An Essential Japanese Seasoning
In Japanese cuisine, dashi is one of the most used ingredients. However, even though it is a basic in many Japanese dishes like miso soup, udon or eggrolls, most Japanese people don't make dashi from the scratch nowadays. Instead, many people use instant dashi powders or ready-made dashi liquids rather than homemade dashi.
However, homemade dashi is; much more flavourful, has no artificial substances, and most importantly, it is easy to make.
What is Dashi?
Dashi is a broth or stock made by boiling usually one or more ingredients such as:
Clockwise from the top left corner on the photo; dried shiitake mushrooms, dried baby sardines (Iriko or niboshi), dried kelp (Kombu) and dried bonito flakes (Katsuobushi)
For making dashi we can use various combinations of the above ingredients.
Out of the different types of dashi, we will introduce the most common seafood-based stock called Awase dashi. This dashi is a broth of dried kelps (kombu) and dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi).
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Total servings: 4
- Water - 1 Litre
- Dried kelp (kombu) - about 2 pieces or 10cm
- Dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) - 20g
If you want to make a rich, umami infused dashi, one of the most common dashi ingredients is katsuobushi or bonito flakes. Bonito flakes are packed with an intense savory taste, and its flavor pairs well with many Japanese dishes. It can also be used as a topping for Okinomiyaki, Yakisoba, Takoyaki, and many other Japanese dishes. You can even make homemade furikake with bonito flakes. Bonito flakes may be a little difficult to find in supermarkets overseas, so be sure to check out our site for 100%, made in Japan bonito flakes.
1) Preparing the Kombu
Gently clean the dried kelp by wiping gently with a damp cloth. (Please try not to remove the white powdery parts of the dried kelp off because it is "umami." Also, please do not wash the dried kelp with water.) Put the dried kelp and 1 liter of water in a pot and soak the seaweed for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour (or ideally, overnight).
2) Boiling the Kombu
Put the pot on the heat, and bring it to a near-boil over medium low heat. Skim the surface if you see any impurities. Just before boiling, take the dried kelp out to avoid dashi becoming slimy and bitter.
3) Adding the Katsuobushi
Turn off the heat and let the dashi cool down slightly. After cooling down slightly, put the pot back on the heat.(You can choose to skip this step.) Put the dried bonito flakes into the pot and boil the mixture for about 2 minutes on low heat. Turn off the heat and leave it for about 5 minutes to 10 minutes to let the bonito flakes sink to the bottom.
4) Preparing and Storing the Dashi Broth
Take the bonito flakes (katsuobushi) out by straining the dashi with the kitchen paper or a clean woven cloth over a sieve. Now it's done. We have just made the dashi so called Ichiban dashi (the first brewed dashi).
5) How to make the Niban dashi of Awase dashi
In the sauce pan, put 1 liter of water and the leftover kelps and the bonito flakes, and bring it to a boil over the high heat. When it starts boiling, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
6) Straining and Serving the Niban Dashi
Strain the dashi with a piece of kitchen paper or a clean woven cloth on the sieve. Now Niban dashi is ready.