Dashi

Dashi is an important ingredient to many Japanese dishes. It is simple to make on the spot once you are acquainted with the ingredients and method. Dashi that is leftover can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days but the flavour want be as good. The recipe below is for primary dashi, there are in fact two main types of dashi: primary and secondary (see note below), the first being milder and clearer and the second more concentrated in flavour.

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cooking: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Dashi

  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 30g konbu (giant kelp)
  • 30g bonito flakes (available from Chinese and Japanese food stores)

Method

  1. Dashi: Place the konbu in a saucepan with 1 litre of cold water. Bring it to a simmer and leave it to cook for 15 minutes (the konbu should tender). Remove the konbu from the water and set it aside for secondary dashi if needed).
  2. Bring the stock to a strong simmer and add the remaining cold water and the bonito flakes. Return the stock to the boil and remove it from the heat. Leave the stock to settle for 1 minute. Strain the stock and if you are preparing secondary dashi reserve the flakes. Use as required or allow it to cool and refrigerate it in a sealed container for 2-3 day or freeze it.
Secondary Dashi: Place the reserved konbu and bonito flakes from primary dashi in a saucepan with 1.5 litres of cold water. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce it to a steady simmer. Leave it to cook for around 20 minutes until reduced by half. Add 15g of fresh bonito flakes and remove the pan from the heat. Leave the stock to settle for 1 minutes then strain it. Use as required.