Dashi stock is a base for many Japanese dishes. From soups, sauces, simmered dishes, dashi stock is and indispensable ingredient. Keep a jar of it on hand and you will have instant umami to add to almost any dish.
Dashi comes in many different types. The most basic is called Katsuo, which is made from dried bonito flakes. Awase dashi, which is what I am going to show you how to make here, is made from dried bonito flakes and kelp. This version is simply my favorite, easy to make and adds so much depth to a recipe.
I used this as a base for gyudon, sukiyai, miso soup and udon. It is such a critical component. Without it, the dish tastes rather flat. The strange part is that if you taste plain dashi stock, it doesn’t taste like much. A slight hint of ocean and kelp. Doesn’t seem like it would do much, but it does a lot. It is some kind of magic potion that does a lot of heavy lifting for your recipe.
One of the best parts about Awase dashi, it is soooo easy to make. If you can brew tea, you can make dashi. Put the kelp and water in a pot and turn on the heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove the kelp and discard. Add the bonito flakes and allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain it using a fine mesh strainer and your dashi stock is ready to go. That's it!
Dashi stock can also be made from a dried concentrate. Add it to a soup or sauce according to the package. Just be aware that the dried version contains salt so you may need to adjust your recipe accordingly. This works well in a pinch, but fresh dashi stock is so easy to make, why not give it a try.
- Add 3 cups water and the piece of Kombu to a sauce pan. Turn on heat to medium and allow it to come to a boil.
- Once it begins to boil, turn off the heat and remove the Kombu and discard.
- Add the Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and allow it to seep for 20 minutes.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, remove the bonito flakes, leaving you a rich golden broth.