Dashi broth isn’t something many people have heard of, but it’s a delicious recipe chock full of healthy properties! Today’s post is brought to you by Japanese cuisine expert Lucy Seligman of Thanks For the Meal. Enjoy!
What is Dashi?
Dashi: Japan’s basic fish stock, is typically made from dried bonito shavings (katsuobushi), dried konbu kelp or a combination of the two. It is intensely flavorful and very versatile in how it can be used in dishes, such as soups, one pot dishes (nabemono), noodle dishes, simmered dishes and so on. It is one of the essential culinary flavor foundations for making Japanese dishes, and it uses only 3 ingredients, readily available at local Asian markets and or online!
And it so easy to make! After planning out my week’s menus, I figure out how much dashi I need for all my dishes, and make a big vat of it and store in the refrigerator to use. A lot handier than making it dish by dish.
How to Make Dashi
(Makes 4 cups)
- 4-inch piece of dried konbu kelp, wipe lightly with a damp cloth
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup dried bonito shavings
Take the kelp and put into a pot with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and remove kelp.
Add in dried bonito shavings and boil for one minute.
Turn off heat and after 2 minutes, strain.
Try your hand at making Miso Soup, which uses dashi as its base.
Basic Miso Soup (Serves 4)
3 1/3 cups hot dashi fish stock
4 tablespoons miso (use red, white, or light-colored miso or a combination thereof)
Place the stock in a saucepan and heat until very hot. Add whatever ingredients you are planning to use, and cook until done. Place the miso into a small bowl and mix with a little of the stock, using a whisk to make a thick paste. Just before serving, add the miso paste to the soup; reheat it if necessary, taking care not to boil the soup after adding the miso, since this will make it taste bitter.
Ladle the soup into soup bowls – lacquerware ones not only retain heat well; they also add a touch of authenticity – then garnish and serve immediately.
Here’s one of my favorite variations of Miso Soup to try as well:
Tofu and Wakame Miso Soup – Add the following ingredients to basic Miso Soup:
Use ½ block of silky tofu, cut into small cubes, and 1 ounce (30 grams) of rinsed and chopped raw wakame kelp. Garnish with minced green onions or negi (Japanese leeks).
If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out Lucy’s newest e-book: The Wonderful World of Osechi
Lucy’s love affair with Japan started when she was only 15 years old, when she visited Japan for the first time that summer. She studied Japanese in Hiroshima, stayed in Tokyo’s Olympic village, and lived with a Japanese family in Okayama.
Her culinary life in Japan included being a restaurant critic, a food historian and writer, the editor of Gochiso-sama! – her culinary newsletter on Japanese cuisine – and the owner of her own cooking school, Lucy’s Kitchen.
Lucy continues to love Japanese food and now cooks for her daughter, who is equally obsessed with Japanese food, especially street foods like Yakisoba and Okonomiyaki.