Dashi is Japanese stock, which become the base of many Japanese dishes, such as soups, dipping sauce, and nimono (simmered dishes). There are different kinds of dashi. It can be made from kombu (dried kelp), katsuo-bushi (dried bonito) flakes, niboshi (dried small sardines), hoshi-shiitake(dried shiitake mushrooms), and others. Good dashi accentuates many Japanese dishes.

Dashi can be quite light in flavour and increasing the amount of ingredient in some cases doesn't seem to "strengthen" the flavour. Flavour enhancers such as celery, garlic etc may be compatible with the content or you may do as many cooks do add a little MSG and certainly what many commercial sources contain. I'm certainly not advocating MSG but there really is no scientific evidence linking it with allergic reaction, so if it works for you and you choose to use it I think you're safe.



Katsuo Dashi
Niboshi Dashi
Kombu Dashi
Shiitake Mushroom Dashi


Katsuo Dashi

Ingredients:

•    800 ml (~3 1/4) cups water
•    20 gm (2/3 oz.) katsuobushi (dried bonito) flakes

Preparation:

Put water in a deep pot and heat on medium heat. Just before the water boils, add katsuobushi flakes. When the water boils, skim off any foam that rise to the surface. Remove from the heat. Strain the stock through a paper towel or washed calico
.
*Makes about 3 cups


Niboshi Dashi


Niboshi dashi is a Japanese fish stock made from dried sardines. It's often used to make miso soup in Japan.

Ingredients:

•    20 gm (2/3 oz.) niboshi (dried sardines)
•    1060 ml (~4 1/4 cup) water

Preparation:

Clean niboshi and remove the heads. Put water in a deep pot and soak niboshi for 30 minutes to one hour. Put on medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, skimming off any foam rise to the surface. Stop the heat. Strain the broth through a paper towel.


Kombu Dashi

   
Kombu (kelp) dashi is known as Japanese vegetarian stock. Kombudashi is suitable for nabe (one-pot dishes), nimono (simmered dishes), and so on. The kombu used to make dashi can be used to make other dishes again.

Ingredients:

•    1000 ml (~4 cups) of water
•    20 cm by 10 cm (8 in by 2 in) kombu (dried kelp)

Preparation:


Wipe the kombu with clean cloth. (*Kombu shouldn't be washed.) Put water in a deep pot and soak the kombu for about 30 minutes. Put on low heat. Just before the water comes to a boil, remove the kombu. Stop the heat.


Shiitake Mushroom Dashi

   
It's a kind of Japanese dashi stock made from dried shiitake mushrooms.

Ingredients:

•    4 cups and 1/4 cup water
•    4 large hoshi-shiitake (dried shiitake mushrooms)
Preparation:
Put water and hoshi-shiitake mushrooms in a deep pot and soak for 10 minutes. Heat on medium heat and bring to a boil. Stop the heat. Let it set for 20 minutes and strain the broth. Use the shiitake mushrooms for cooking.