Dashi from scratch

Dashi from scratch

By
From
JapanEasy
Makes
500 ml
Photographer
Laura Edwards

Dashi is the life spring of Japanese cuisine – it is the essential Japanese flavour, at the heart of so many dishes. Now, I wholeheartedly endorse using dashi powder to make your dashi – it tastes good, it’s easy, it’s cheap, and it’s not a cheat – unless you consider the overwhelming majority of Japanese home cooks to be cheaters. Which isn’t fair! However, it’s useful to know how to make dashi from scratch, and the results are undeniably lovely. It also isn’t difficult in the slightest, although it may be hard to find (or hard to justify the cost of) katsuobushi, one of the key ingredients. If you do splurge on katsuobushi, I recommend following the instructions below to make niban (‘number two’) dashi as well, to get more dashi for your dollar. You can even use the spent katsuobushi a third time in home-made furikake (rice seasoning)! Niban dashi has a lighter flavour than ichiban (‘number one’) dashi, so it is best used in conjunction with ichiban dashi or in recipes where a strong dashi flavour isn’t required. You can also stretch out your niban dashi with an equal quantity of the instant stuff, which gives you some of the nuance and aroma of real dashi along with the economy and ease of store-bought. It’s win-win!

Not at all difficult, but it might be tricky to get the katsuobushi. If it is, not to worry – that’s what dashi powder is for

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Ichiban dashi

Quantity Ingredient
10g kombu, (about a 10 × 10 cm)
600ml water, (if you’re being really geeky about this, use soft bottled water like Volvic or Smart Water – it will provide a fuller flavour)
20g katsuobushi

Niban dashi

Quantity Ingredient
used kombu, from Ichiban Dashi (see above)
katsuobushi, from Ichiban Dashi (see above)
600ml water

Method

  1. Ichiban Dashi: Rinse the kombu briefly under cold running water, then place it in a saucepan and pour in the water. Place the pan on a low flame – kombu releases its flavour most readily at a temperature range from cold to just below boiling point, so the more time you keep it in that range, the more flavourful your dashi will be. When the water barely begins to simmer, with just a few small bubbles breaking the surface, remove the kombu. Keeping the heat low, add the katsuobushi and simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Once the katsuobushi has sunk to the bottom of the pan, leave to infuse for about 15 minutes, then pass through a fine sieve; squeeze out the katsuobushi for maximum flavour!
  2. Niban Dashi: You will need to be a little more aggressive with the heat to get more flavour from your spent kombu and katsuobushi. Place them in a saucepan with the fresh water and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 10–15 minutes, then pass through a fine sieve – and don’t forget to squeeeeeeze that katsuobushi again. At this point it is perfectly fine to discard your kombu and katsuobushi, or save them for something else (but no more dashi at this point, sorry).
  3. Keep your dashi in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it in ice cube trays or small containers to use as needed over the course of several months.
Tags:
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again