Dashi (Japanese stock) : The heart of Japanese cuisine

Over the centuries, Japan has passed down their unique characteristic of food culture from generation to generation. Every dishes will be arranged beautifully. The colors and ingredients are well chosen from nature, be it river, mountains or sea. This is all lead to the best of health, mind, and body.

Dashi is Japanese cooking broth that is light but packed with umami(deliciousness) that will add richness and depth to any dish.

The ingredients in Dashi can be soaked more than once. The stock from the first soaking, the ichiban dashi, has the finest flavor and is mixed with a little miso paste to make miso soup or Udon.

Dashi can be made from kombu (dried kelp), katsuobushi (dried and smoked bonito/skipjack tuna that is shaved into thin flakes), iriko or niboshi (anchovies/sardine) and dry Shiitake mushroom

Dashi is made from boiling or soaking dried ingredients to extract umami, which you can use just one ingredient or more than two of that to make.

Credit: http://news.xinhuanet.com/food/2015-12/09/c_128505806.htm

Credit: http://news.xinhuanet.com/food/2015-12/09/c_128505806.htm

How to make Kombu Dashi (Seaweed Dashi)

Method: boiling
1. Boil seaweed with water (60-80℃) about 20-30 minutes.
2. Be careful not to cook with high heat or simmer too much because the smell of seaweed will be too strong and gooey.

Method: Soak for 1 night (about 10-15 hours)
1. Put Kombu and water in a bowl and soak for 2 night. Kombu flavor comes out naturally from soaking in water and become Dashi.
2. Dashi soup would be delicious by refrigerateing. 
Recommended proportion is 10g of seaweed per 1L of water.

How to make Dashi from Katsuo bushi (Dried bonito)

1. Boil water, then turn off the heat and add dried bonito.
2. After that boil again around 1-2 minutes, then filter the water with straining cloth or filtering paper.
3. The soup will be impure and will have strong flavor, it’s just right to soak Katsuo Bushi for 1-2 minutes.
Recommended proportion is 20g of Katsuo Bushi per for 1L of water.

How to make Niboshi Dashi (Small dried sardine Dashi)

1. Prepare 30-40g of mall dried sardine and 5 cups of water
2. Cut the head of sardine and take internal organs out then soak into water for one night or 30 minutes.
3. After that Boil with medium heat about 5 minutes and remove harshness with spoon.
4. Final, filter the water with straining cloth or filtering paper.

How to make Katsuo Kombu Dashi

1. Prepare 10g of Kombu Seaweed, 20g of Dried Bonito and 5 cups of water
2. Soak seaweed into water for 30 minutes and boil with medium heat, then pick seaweed out before water will simmer.
3. After simmering, leftover water for a moment, then throw dried bonito into the water and leftover 1-2 minutes.
4. Final, filter the water with straining cloth or filtering paper.

Nowadays there are packed Dashi selling at supermarket, which you can use those productions useful, and could reduce the time making food with those productions but remain the Umami flavor like before. The flavor is richness that is made from natural ingredients, which can add the taste more grateful. And also those ingredients that use for the soup is fresh, not greasy or oily and is different from those soup which is made from meat in the west. Dashi is the heart of Japanese food which lead us to warm our heart after finishing eat. Furthermore, striking point is that Dashi is fertile with mineral that is beneficial for your health.