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Homemade Japanese Dashi

I love to eat hot soup when it gets cold outside in Japan. My mom makes dashi every time we have hotpot, soba noodle, or any Japanese meal. When I’m in the U.S. without her, I tend to use dashi powder (which is very easy to use and tasty) but my husband Patrick notices the difference in flavor whenever I make dashi from scratch. That shows me the difference between being lazy and putting some effort and love into my own dashi. Each Japanese family has own recipes for dashi and my recipe is from my grandmother who is the best cook in my life.


Yield: 6 cups  Time: 10 mins

Ingredients for dashi: 

  •  8 inch Kombu
  •  15 g Bonito flakes
  •  6 cups water

What is Kombu and Bonito flakes: 

Kombu is edible kelp from Hokkaido, Japan. It contains minerals such as calcium and vitamins, and provides dishes with umami flavor. Bonito flakes are made out of thinly shaved dried bonito. A bonito is a Japanese type of fish that is salt cured and petrified over time. It contains potassium, vitamin D, calcium and minerals. Bonito flakes’s main nutrition is glutamin which is the source of umami flavor.

Preparation:

Step 1  Warm the kombu and water over medium heat in a Donabe if you have one.

Step 2  Take the kombu out from the pan when you see small bubbles around the kombu. Don’t let the water boil. Cooking the kombu too long in the pan can make the broth bitter and a bit slimy.

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Step 3  Bring the water boil, and turn the heat off. Add the bonito flakes and use chopsticks to mix the flakes into the water gently. Let it steep in the water for 1 minute.

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Step 4 Strain the flakes using natural cheesecloth and a strainer. Transfer the broth into a large bowl. Squeeze the bonito flakes from inside the cloth to render as much water as possible.

The ideal dashi color is golden.

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