Dashi

Many, many years ago, my cousin told me she made udon from homemade dashi. When I asked her about the taste, she said it added more depth to her broth and raved about how delicious it was. Dashi is a simple fish stock frequently used to cook any number of dishes like miso soup, namasu, oden, and katsudon. Dashi is a foundation, just like any other stock.

I grew up with instant dashi, which comes from a packet, in granule form. It never occurred to me to make it from scratch, so I was intrigued by my cousin’s revelation. Could it make that much of a difference? Her comment stuck with me over the years, but I had no reason to make it from scratch…

dashi_kombukatsuo1

Until I realized how easy dashi is to make! With only 3 ingredients—one of which is water—there is no reason not to make it at home. Instant dashi is only a little more convenient than homemade and often contains unwanted ingredients like MSG.

Compared to making other types of stock, this is a cinch. You just have to measure the dry ingredients and into the pot they go. I like to double the recipe and freeze a portion of it in plastic bags or containers, usually in 1 or 2-cup increments.

How does the taste compare? You’ll have to make it, incorporate it into a recipe, and judge for yourself.

dashi_spoon1

Basic Dashi
Makes about 3 ½ cups (850ml)

2 pieces of kombu, about 5 in (12–13 cm) each
0.7 oz (20g) katsuobushi
4.25 cups (1000ml) water

Wipe the kombu with a damp towel. Add it to a large pot with the water and turn the heat to high. If any impurities rise to the surface, quickly remove with a small strainer or paper towel. When small bubbles appear and the water is about to come to the surface, remove the kombu. Let the water come to a boil, then add the katsuobushi. Turn the heat off immediately. Lightly press the tips of your chopsticks into the katsuobushi in a few places, then let sit.

Let the katsuobushi fully sink to the bottom of the pot. Do not stir or agitate, as this will cloud the dashi. Place a strainer in a larger bowl and line it with a paper towel. Carefully pour the dashi through the strainer and into the bowl. Fold the paper towel over into a ball and press lightly to squeeze some of the remaining liquid out.

Adapted from 和食の基本.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I love this dashi recipe! It has changed my life, especially my soup game. It has such depth and adds so much more flavor in my food. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Posted July 25, 2016 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    May, thanks for your comment! As side note, I’ve been using atsugiri katsuobushi (thick-cut) and I recommend it if you can find it…

8 Trackbacks

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