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.