Hey guys, it’s Yuto here from @sudachi.recipes. So you keep seeing Japanese recipes that need “dashi”, but what is “dashi” and how do you make it?
In this post, I’m going to teach you how to make one of the most common kinds of dashi using dried kelp and bonito flakes. Let’s get started!
What is Dashi?
Dashi is basically a soup 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.
Dashi is one of the fundamentals in Japanese cooking. It adds umami and depth to a recipe and it gives each dish that distinct and authentic Japanese flavour.
It is often used in noodle dishes and soups, but can also be used in sauces or dressings.
If you find yourself wondering where the umami is coming from in a Japanese meal, it’s usually coming from the dashi!
Check out our recipe for concentrated dashi sauce “tsuyu”. It’s great for using on donburi or as a dipping sauce for noodles.
The most common ingredients used in dashi are:
- Kombu (dried kelp)
- Katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes)
- Dried Shiitake Mushroom
- Niboshi (usually dried sardines or anchovies)
In today’s recipe we are going to use kombu and katsuobushi, so let’s learn a little bit more about these ingredients.
Kombu (昆布) is a dried edible kelp that you might have seen in miso soup.
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.
Katsuobushi (鰹節) is the Japanese name for “bonito flakes”.
Bonito flakes are made from skipjack tuna that has been dried, fermented and smoked. It is then shaved into very thin flakes.
The flavour is kinda strong and smokey and it makes a very delicious dashi. The longer you cook it, the stronger the fish flavour in your dashi.
Katsuobushi is often used as a topping on dishes such as Okonomiyaki or Takoyaki. It’s a useful and tasty ingredient to have in your cupboard if you’re interested in Japanese cooking.
Tip for making a clear broth
Because the flakes are so delicate, there are often tiny bits of katsuobushi left in the stock. To remove shavings and tiny bits, line a colander with kitchen paper and pour the dashi through. The kitchen paper will filter out the bits and leave you with a clear broth.
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 bonito flakes which is one of the most common kinds of awase dashi, but you can also make a vegetarian awase dashi using kelp and dried shiitake mushrooms.
Japanese Recipes that use Dashi
Here are some recipes that require dashi:
These are just a few, we’ll add to the list as we post more recipes. Let’s get started!Print