Monday, January 16, 2012


I love making Japanese food; and one of the ingredients used in almost all Japanese dishes (that aren't fried) is dashi. It's a subtle broth that adds umami to dishes. This is my recipe for a standard dashi; for a vegetarian version, omit the bonito flakes, and put about a cup of sliced fresh shitaake into the broth when you turn the heat on. You can also use shitaake in a non-vegetarian stock, for a stronger flavor (works well for a clear soup).

1 piece kombu (about 5" square, more or less; seaweed for making dashi stock; available online or at a good asian food grocer)
3 tablespoons bonito flakes
4 cups water
1 cup sliced shitaake (optional)
cheesecloth or very fine strainer

Put dried kombu and water into a pot. Allow kombu to soak for about half an hour. In the meantime, make a little pouch out of cheese cloth with the bonito inside (alternatively, you can put the bonito directly into the pan and strain with a fine mesh strainer afterwords) Turn heat to medium, and remove kombu when water just begins to simmer. Remove from heat, add bonito flakes and stir for one minute, then remove bonito pouch or strain thru fine sieve.

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