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

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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.

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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

How To Make Dashi, A Foundation Stock In All Japanese Cooking
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  • 8 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 (6-inch) pieces kombu
  • 1 1/2 ounces dried
  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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