I make plenty of different stocks at home and dashi is by far the easiest one. It takes just 30 minutes to make which is vastly different from the 24 hours you usually simmer other stocks for (like bone stocks or chicken stocks). No, this one is so simple that there really is no excuse for not trying it.
Well, maybe there is one excuse. It’s the ingredients that can be hard to find in a regular supermarket. You need kombu and katsuobushi to make proper dashi at home.
Kombu is dried kelp. Kelp, just like most other seaweeds, contains plenty of umami that will give your meals that wonderful deep flavor. Katsuobushi is shaved bonito flakes. It is also packed full of umami. Asian stores should carry both of these ingredients so if you have one nearby then consider yourself lucky. If not, then ordering them online is also a perfectly valid option. After all, both kombu and katsuobushi are dry so it’s not like you need them to be fresh.
Dashi is the base of many Japanese foods, like miso soup. And by making your own dashi, you are sure that there is no shady MSG involved. The umami particles in kombu and katsuobushi are what provides the rich flavor so you don’t need any artificial enhancers!
- a large stockpot OR a French oven
- a large glass bowl
- a large stainer
- a large glass jar with a lid for storage
- 1/2 cup of katsuobushi
- 1 piece of kombu
- filtered water
- Put about 5 cups of filtered water in a large stockpot or a French oven and soak the kombu in it for at least 15 minutes. The dry kombu should become soft by then.
- Turn on the heat and bring the water almost to a boil.
- Add in the 1/2 cup of katsuobushi flakes.
- Remove from heat and leave the katsuobushi to steep for about 5 minutes. The flakes should sink to the bottom of your stockpot.
- Pull out the seaweed using tongs and discard.
- Use a strainer to remove the katsuobushi flakes.
- Transfer the liquid-only dashi to a glass jar and store in the fridge. Use within three days.