Dashi Recipes (Japanese broth stock)

I’ll post both a traditional bonito-based dashi and a vegetarian (shiitake mushroom-based) dashi recipe here today.  Both are good and serviceable!  Plus, cleaning out some old ingredients, I have a combo dashi at the bottom of this post.  Dashi has lots of uses in Japanese cuisine, as a stock or soup base.  You can make it and save it for a week in the fridge, or freeze it for around three months or so.   Coming up, I plan to post recipes for Age Dashi Tofu, and for Katsudon, both of which require a dashi base.

dashi, Japanese, recipe, kombu, bonito, shiitake, vegetarian option

Dashi, freshly prepared and still steaming

In doing research for this post, I’ve regretfully discovered that a lot of places that serve dishes enhanced by dashi are now using a powdered form.  I’ve noticed it sold at my local grocery, but figured it was something put out for us lazy “gringos” who wouldn’t notice any better, as it were.  No, the quick powdered form is now even appearing in Japan!  The ingredient list is appalling.  Real dashi is kombu, water, usually bonito (more on which below), or if vegetarian, mushrooms such as shiitake.  I can understand a preservative or two, but… Eh.  I’ll make my own, it is not so hard!

Bonito:  Bonito are shavings from preserved dried fish, most typically katsuobushi or skipjack tuna.

Kombu is a Japanese seaweed with a strong unami component.  You can simmer it but remove it prior to any boiling, as it may make your stock bitter.

And use dried shiitake, if you plan to use shiitake – the unami strengthens in this!

Japanese Dashi with Bonito

  • 3 inches kombu
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup bonito flakes

Add the water and kombu to a sauce pan.

Bring the water and kombu to a simmer, do NOT boil, the kombu can make the broth bitter.

Remove the kombu after a minute of simmering.

Add the bonito flakes.

Simmer/boil this liquid more vigorously for another two or three minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or cheesecloth), and reserve the liquid for future use as your dashi stock.

Japanese Shiitake Dashi, Vegetarian

  • approximately 15 dried shiitake mushrooms (they do vary in size…)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 inches kombu

(One can leave out the shiitake entirely, but that seems a waste of what could be a much more flavorful unami-enhanced dashi than if this is just kombu…  vegetarians should not live deprived!)

Soak the shiitake in warm water for an hour or so, or soak them in cold water overnight.

Remove the mushrooms, squeezing the liquid from the mushrooms into the soaking waters.  (Reserve the mushrooms for a dish, such as a stir fry or a soup.)

Add the mushroom liquid and kombu to a sauce pan.

Bring the mushroom liquid and kombu to a simmer, do NOT boil, the kombu can make the broth bitter.

Remove the kombu after a minute of simmering.

Simmer this liquid more vigorously for another two or three minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or cheesecloth), and reserve the liquid for future use as your dashi stock.

What You Can Do!!!  Bonito Plus Shiitake Dashi – Double Plus Good Unami!

  • 3 or 4 dried shiitake mushrooms  (you can use more; this works however)
  • a cup of water
  • 3 inches kombu
  • 3/4 cups bonito flakes

This particular batch of Dashi was made today.  I combined the best ideas from the vegetarian and piscevorian thoughts on Dashi.  You see, both my bonito and my kombu have passed their preferred “sell-by” dates.  For some odd reason, I’d bought both items back in February or March of 2011, and I’d stocked up – it was a distance to our not-so-local health food store, and it was the only place that at that point sold either.

At any rate, neither the kombu nor the bonito are glowing in the dark (the Fukushima tsunami tragedy happened in April of 2011).  It does turn out a lot of the source for bonito is from tropical fish that don’t swim near that corner of Japan, which helps.  It also turns out there are sources for kombu, or at the very least, kombu-like kelp – look at labeling – that are also not near  Japan.  But is time to turn what I do have here into dashi!  This is also why the final product I’m making WILL reach the boiling point.  Removing the kombu itself prior to boiling, but then still boiling the stock – yes, do this.

I’ve managed to keep the remnants of both stocks very dry, and I also have some more-recently-obtained dried shiitake mushrooms.

Soak the shiitake in warm water for an hour or so, or soak them in cold water overnight.

Remove the mushrooms, squeezing the liquid from the mushrooms into the soaking waters.  (Reserve the mushrooms for a dish.)

Add the mushroom liquid and kombu to a sauce pan.

Bring the mushroom liquid and kombu to a simmer, do NOT boil, the kombu can make the broth bitter.

Remove the kombu after a minute of simmering.

Add the bonito flakes.

Simmer this liquid more vigorously for another two or three minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or cheesecloth), and reserve the liquid for future use as your dashi stock!

This blog post shared at the Real Food Fridays Link Party.
And at the  Fiesta Friday link party!..  Laura is the week’s co-host.

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About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: Building a log home in rural western Massachusetts. Will be raising chickens and goats/sheep. Raising veggies and going solar.
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9 Responses to Dashi Recipes (Japanese broth stock)

  1. Lina says:

    Sound delicious! Great post!

  2. Pingback: Agedashi Tofu | Of Goats and Greens

  3. Pingback: 2017-02-03 Fabulous Food Allergy Friday – surviving the food allergy apocalypse

  4. Marla says:

    Thank you for sharing all your wonderful recipes and posts on Real Food Fridays. You have helped make Real Food Fridays a success . Pinned Be Be healthy and happy. Remember to always eat real food.

  5. Oh, no!! I’m guilty of using the powdered dashi! Will try to make my own fresh dashi stock from now on since it’s so easy. Love the shiitake dashi! And to think I usually just throw away the liquid left from reconstituting dry mushrooms 😬

    • I didn’t even realize until very recently that the powdered dashi was A Thing. And you’ll apparently be in the company of some Japanese restaurants. Home made lasts a while frozen if you have the space and want to make a batch at once.

  6. Thank you for all these recipes. I keep forgetting about dashi and it makes such an amazing replacement for stock in a soup or stew. I’ve pinned your post, now have to look for bonito.

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