How to make your own dashi

Dashi means broth or soup stock, made by soaking or boiling fish, seafood, meat or vegetables, and so drawing out their nutrients and natural umami flavour.
Japanese dashi, French bouillon or fond, and Chinese tan are all used to make the most delicious dishes of their respective cultures.
2 people
Ready In min (Prep  + Cook )
There is a wide variety of types of dashi, but the standard dashi taste on which washoku itself rests as a foundation is one made of kombu (a type of kelp found mainly in Japan) and katsuobushi (dried shavings of skipjack tuna). Other common types of dashi are made from shiitake mushrooms, various vegetables, and niboshi (dried sardines). The dashi ingredients used are chosen to match the type of dish being made – changing the ingredients to suit your meal creates a harmony of flavour. If you think that real dashi is all well and good, but not worth the trouble, just try it once and compare the taste to store-bought or ready-made dashi. You will find, as we have, that the dashi you’ve made yourself tastes much better than the “just add water” type. And what’s more, in choosing dashi ingredients to match your meal, you’ll learn to create your own ideal balance of flavours!
Put your dashi in an airtight container and it will keep in the fridge for two days, and in the freezer for up to a month. That way you’ll have some handy for miso soup, dashi maki, or any of the myriads of oishi washoku recipes calling for dashi.
Dried kombu (approximately 5×5 cm) . . . 4 pieces
Katsuobushi . . . 20 grams
Water . . . 900 mL
Wipe the powder* off the kombu with a dry cloth and soak in water for 20 minutes.
* Dried packaged kombu is usually covered with a white powder which helps bring out its natural umami.

Step 1

Put the kombu and water into a pot and heat over medium. Just before it starts boiling, quickly remove the kombu. (If brought to a boil, the kombu will become slimy and release some residue into the water, so be sure to remove it before it boils).

Step 2

Allow the kombu water to come to a boil, then add all the katsuobushi at once and gently push it down with cooking chopsticks (or a wooden spoon) to submerge it. Heat over minimum for 2 minutes. Carefully remove any scum that might build up.

Step 3

Line a strainer with paper towel and pour* the boiled liquid through it into a bowl.
*Do not push down onto or squeeze the flakes, as they will release a slightly sour taste and cloud the broth.