Hey guys, it’s Yuto here from @sudachi.recipes and today I'm going to show you how to make a basic awase dashi stock using dried shiitake mushrooms and dried kelp kombu. This will add authentic flavour to your Japanese cooking and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians!
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What is dashi?
Dashi is a type of Japanese stock. It can be made from a number of different ingredients, much like how stock used in Western cooking can be from chicken, beef, vegetables, fish etc. Despite this, dashi can’t be compared to meat stocks in flavour, it’s totally unique!
Dashi is one of the fundamentals in Japanese cooking. It adds umami and depth to a recipe whilst still being subtle, and it gives each dish that distinct and authentic Japanese flavour.
It is often used for noodle broths and soups, but it can also be used in sauces or dressings too.
Check out our recipe for concentrated dashi sauce “tsuyu”. It’s great for using on donburi or as a dipping sauce for noodles.
How to Make Dashi
There are a number of ways to make dashi.
- Dashi from scratch - Buy individual ingredients and soak/boil
- Dashi powder - Instant, sprinkle on cooking or boil in water
- Dashi in a bag - Ingredients are already assembled in a teabag, boil in water
The dashi powder and dashi bags are super convenient, but the problem is they almost always contain "katsuobushi" bonito flakes which is made from skipjack tuna. If you want to make vegetarian or vegan dashi, it's better to make it from scratch and that's what I'm gonna show you today!
The most common ingredients used in dashi are:
- Kombu (dried kelp) - I use Hidaka kombu
- Katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes)
- Dried Shiitake Mushroom
- Niboshi (usually dried sardines or anchovies)
In today’s recipe we are going to use kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms, so let’s learn a little bit more about these ingredients.
Kombu (昆布) is a dried edible kelp. When cut up small and seasoned, it makes a very delicious onigiri filling!
When we use it to make dashi, we soak it in cold water first. It needs to be rehydrated in order to extract the flavour.
This usually takes about 30 minutes but some people leave kombu to soak overnight for maxium flavour.
You can purchase it on Amazon here. (I like Hidaka brand).
Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Dried Shiitake mushrooms are a delicious vegetarian/vegan friendly option for making dashi.
Like kombu, they need to be rehydrated by placing them in cold water. Dried shiitake somehow have a deeper flavour than fresh shiitake and once they are soaked, the delicious flavour is extracted making a tasty dashi!
Dried shiitake can become bitter if it's heated too quickly. Our recipe recommends soaking it over night in cold water for the best flavour.
Soaking over night
For both kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms, I recommend soaking over night if possible. But of course, sometimes you don't have time!
It's okay, you can just soak them until softened. This takes about 30 minutes. The flavour won't be so deep, but it still works if you are pushed for time.
What is "Awase Dashi"?
Awase comes from the Japanese verb “awaseru” (合わせる) which means “to combine”. So awase dashi doesn’t refer to only one kind of dashi. It is any dashi that uses more than one ingredient.
Today’s awase dashi is made from kelp and dried shiitake mushrooms which is a flavourful combination dashi that can be enjoyed by vegans and vegetarians too!
We use this dashi stock in our miso soup recipe here, check it out!