Traditional Dashi

Traditional dashi used to make miso soup

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.

Dried bonito flakes

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.

A little homage to A Table For Two's excellent Beeramisu photos

25 Comments add yours

  1. I always wondered how dashi was made!! This looks a million times better than anything store bought that I’ve seen.

    Thanks! It was a lot faster than I thought it would be and tasty too.

    steph on March 8th, 2010 at 1:34 pm
  2. looks great, very cool glasses too. nice photo.

    Thanks Max!

    steph on March 8th, 2010 at 1:35 pm
  3. love it. the simplest of concoctions can have the biggest impact.

    Dan,
    It’s funny how three things can come together to taste so good!

    steph on March 8th, 2010 at 1:35 pm
  4. No kombu? I thought steeping some kombu in water that was just under a boil was part of making dashi.

    Andy,
    I mention konbu in the second paragraph. There’s a photo of a piece of konbu in the second photo too :)

    Oops! Guess I was reading too fast.

    You and your husband do nice picture composition, by the way. The way the dashi is well lit in a fairly dark frame really makes it pop.

    Have you considered double walled glasses? That creates a nice floating effect.

    Andy on March 8th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Andy,
    Actually we have considered doubled walled glasses! I’ve wanted them for espresso for the longest time; maybe we’ll get some soon.

    steph on March 9th, 2010 at 1:50 am
    steph on March 8th, 2010 at 4:25 pm
  5. love the glass and the presentation. :)

    Thanks Jen!

    steph on March 10th, 2010 at 10:16 am
  6. I too love the glass.. any chance it’s still available someplace?

    Paul,
    It’s from Crate & Barrel. I think they still have it.

    steph on March 10th, 2010 at 10:18 am
  7. Love the soup in that glass too. That’d make a nice appetizer: imagine a mouthful or two or noodles in there. Mmm

    That’s a good idea: noodle shooters!

    steph on March 18th, 2010 at 11:57 am
  8. How long can we keep the dashi stock in the fridge? If we want it for later use.

    The dashi will lose it’s flavour if you keep it for too long, I wouldn’t recommend over 3 days.

    steph on May 4th, 2010 at 10:40 am
  9. Actually Dashi is Japanese liquid base used in soups, sauces, etc. you might think of it is a liquid used instead of plain regular water.
    Dashi itself is a water in which something was soaked up for a couple hours or overnight.
    The popular possibilities are one of the following or combined together in wide variates: hoshi-shiitake(dried shiitake), kombo, bonito flakes(sliced dried tuna).
    And that’s what dashi is.

  10. For a piece of konbu that size and bonito flakes… How much water do you use? Is there a perfect ratio for the ingredients? love your blog btw :D

    Hi. Did you get an answer to the how much water question?

    Lynda Benham (Me) on February 27th, 2013 at 6:08 am
  11. If you make this a lot, you can get big bags for cheap at Asian markets. Just make sure you put the opened bag of what’s left in the freezer. It’s very oily stuff and will go rancid very, very quickly if you don’t.

    Deb Koslowsky on May 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm
  12. Most of the recipes that I have seen for dashi don’t have you simmer the kombu. The kombu is removed when the large bubbles appear and before boiling. Then the katsuobushi (the bonito flakes) are dropped into the pot and steep without boiling the water. I have had great results, but I wonder about the recipe you have given here-does it make a difference since you are boiling the kombu and perhaps also the katsuobushi.

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