REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Quick Fish Stock (Dashi)

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This stock is hands down the easiest one to make.  It is completely done in less than half an hour.  (This is not to be confused with fish stock made from the bones and carcasses of non-oily fish.  That is different, and delicious as a base for fish chowder, yum!  I’ll be making that one for Real Food 101 soon.)

But that’s not what I’m talking about today.  Today I’m sticking with simple and quick: dashi!  Dashi is made from three ingredients.  Yup.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think throwing a chicken carcass and veggies into a slow cooker for 12-24 hours is pretty simple.  But dashi beats all the other stocks.  It’s just that easy.

All you need is kombu and katsuobushi.  Zuh?

Okay, so maybe the toughest part of making dashi is getting your hands on the right ingredients.  If you have an Asian market nearby, I am positive they will have these two items.  Kombu is just dried seaweed.  And katsuobushi is shaved bonito flakes.  Both are easy to find if you know where to look.  You might even find them at the health food store if they have a good Asian section. The easiest way to get them, in my opinion, is to just order them online here and here.

Plus, with dashi on hand you can make amazing Japanese foods with it, including my personal favorite: miso soup.  I always feel a little guilty if I eat miso soup at a restaurant.  I never know if they have made their own dashi for the base, or if they are relying on good* old MSG. *MSG is not good.

Equipment Needed:

  • large stockpot, or French oven
  • large glass bowl and large strainer
  • tongs
  • large glass jar and storage lid

 

Quick Fish Stock (Dashi)

1 piece of sun-dried seaweed (buy kombu here)
1/2 cup dried shaved bonito flakes (buy katsuobushi here)

  1. In a large stockpot or French oven, soak the dried seaweed in about 5 cups of water for about 15 minutes until it is nice and soft.
  2. Then, over medium-high heat, bring the water to just under a boil.  Add the 1/2 cup bonito flakes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let the bonito flakes steep for about 5 minutes, or until the bonito flakes have sunk to the bottom of the pot.
  4. With tongs, pull the piece of seaweed out and discard.  Then, strain the mixture into a large bowl, removing all the bonito flakes
    Then pour into a large glass jar to store.  Use within three days or so.
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