Dashi is an extremely popular stock from Japan that is the base of many soups, braises, dips, and more. The stock is perhaps most famous as the base of Miso Soup, one of Japan’s national dishes. While making dashi the traditional way is less popular nowadays, it is in my opinion so much better than the instant powder store bought version.
There are five recognized Japanese dashi recipes; I am going to show you the most popular version. It is known as awase dashi and it is made up of two or more ingredients from the other four traditional dashi stocks. I use this as the base for other recipes on my blog like the tsuyu I use for zaru soba.
How To Make Authentic Japanese Dashi
The best awase dashi only requires three ingredients. It is the cooking method one needs to get right so the final stock is delicious and packed with rich umami flavor.
- 1 liter Water – this is 1000 ml or four cups.
- 1 piece Kombu – kombu is an edible seaweed that you can find at every Japanese market, or order online. Used kombu is also a part of plenty of other recipes like tsukudani.
- 1 cup Katsuobushi – katsuobushi is commonly called bonito flake in English. It is used in plenty of Japanese recipes as a garnish, such as atop okonomiyaki.
To start making this delicious and savory soup stock you have to follow a few simple steps. Step 1 is to place the kombu and water in a pot and slowly bring to a boil. Start with the lowest flame and gently raise it over the next 15 minutes. The instant the water begins to boil turn off the heat and remove the seaweed.
Next add in the katsuobushi, or bonito flakes, and give the pot a stir. Turn the heat on the highest setting. Once the water begins to boil turn off the heat completely and let sit for 10 minutes. Finally strain the dashi through a fine mesh sieve. The dashi can be immediately used, or stored for later.
If you want to store this stock for later let it cool to room temperature and then place it in a sealable container in the refrigerator. To reheat dashi you want to bring it up to right before a boil. It is important to never let the liquid boil as that will ruin the flavor.
- Kombu dashi: This base stock is made from just the kombu instead of using both kombu and katsuobushi like the recipe above.
- Katsuo dashi: This base stock is made from just the katsuobushi (fish flakes) instead of using both kombu and katsuobushi like the recipe above.
- Niboshi dashi: this version is made by soaking small, dried sardines in water to extract the potent umami flavor of the fish.
- Shiitake dashi: This version is popular as it is a vegan alternative to the traditional versions. It is made by soaking dried shiitake mushrooms in water.
- 1 Pot
- 1 Fine Mesh Strainer
- 1 liter Water 1000ml or 4 cups
- 1 strip Kombu dried edible seaweed
- 1 cup Katsuobushi aka bonito flakes or 'Japanese Fish Flakes'
- In a pot add the water and the kombu cut into strips. Set on the lowest heat setting and slowly raise it over 15 minutes until boiling. The second it begins to boil turn off the heat and remove the kombu.
- Add in the fish flakes and bring back to a boil. Once it is boiling turn off the heat and let the dashi sit for 10 minutes. Then strain out into a jar using a fine mesh sieve.