Dashi is to Japanese cooking what butter is to French. A cornerstone of Japanese cooking, dashi is found in almost all soups, simmered dishes, salad dressings and marinades. Most people don’t make homemade dashi anymore due to the myriad of instant dashi powders at the store, but making it yourself is fresh, fast and simple.
You need a piece of konbu, a couple of handfuls of katsuo-bushi (bonito fish flakes) and water. Steep the konbu in simmering water for 10 minutes then add the pale pink katsuo-bushi and steep for another seven minutes. After the steeping, strain out the konbu and katsuo-bushi and you’re left with a pure, savoury stock that tastes sweet, smokey, and just a little bit like the sea.
Dashi is the base stock of miso soup: stir a little bit of miso paste, add some nori and tofu and you have home made miso soup, perfect for rainy days.