How To Make Dashi, A Foundation Stock In All Japanese Cooking

Dec 3, 2013 12:00 pm

Chef Tadashi Ono offers his master recipe

This is a foolproof recipe for an all-purpose dashi. Dashi is the Japanese word for “stock,” but it also refers to this particular version, made from kombu (a type of super umami-rich, naturally preserved kelp) and dried, shaved bonito — considered a fundamental building block of traditional Japanese cuisine.

Related: The History Of Japanese Soul Cooking In 100 Recipes

Dashi can be used hot off the stove, at room temperature or cold. It can keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Keep in mind, too, that an alternative to making dashi from scratch is using “dashi packs” or all-natural dashi powder, which are both terrific. The packs look like giant teabags you stick in water and heat; follow the package instructions. The all-natural powder has also become more available in America in the past few years. It’s super easy to use; just dissolve in hot water, following package instructions. But check the label carefully to make sure your dashi powder is an all-natural version, not one with additives and other junk.

Reprinted with permission from Japanese Soul Cooking

Kombu and bonito flakes are two crucial ingredients in dash, and easier to find than you might think.
Kombu and bonito flakes are two crucial ingredients in dash, and easier to find than you might think.
Servings: 6 cups


8 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
2 (6-inch) pieces kombu
1 1/2 ounces dried, shaved bonito (about 3 packed cups)
  1. Add 8 cups of the water and the kombu to a large stockpot and let it steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Place the stockpot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove the kombu. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons water to slightly reduce the liquid’s temperature. Add the bonito and stir it once to mix it in.
  3. As soon as the liquid comes to a boil again, decrease the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove any scum that appears on the surface, which can affect flavor.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the liquid steep for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Don’t squeeze the bonito flakes. Discard the bonito flakes after using.

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Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
5 minutes
Cooking Time: 
1 hour
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