Authentic Dashi sea-stock

The quality of Japanese cooking relies on how to make Dashi sea-stock.

This is sweet kombu seaweed from Algaran, Ireland.

The picture below is Katsuobushi/dried bonito fish flakes from Japan.

Basic Dashi is a clear stock with Kombu seaweed and dried bonito flakes called Katsuobushi.  It has a subtle flavour as it is and doesn’t taste fishy.  So it is best called sea-stock rather than fish stock. Dashi is quite easy to make if you have the necessary ingredients.  I have discovered that kelp/Kombu from Ireland makes a good substitute, so all we need is Katsuobushi from Japan.  Katsuobushi  is prepared through natural processes of filleting, boiling to activate certain bacteria and enzymes in the flesh (fermenting), drying in the sun and steaming with Japanese oak for imparting the subtle aroma.  The instant Dashi usually contains MSG (monosodium glutamate) and other undesirable chemicals.  You will notice the difference particularly after-taste in the mouth.  MSG and ther other chemicals often make you thirsty!

1 litre/1000 ml Dashi stock;

Ingredients:   Kombu 10 g, Katsuobushi 15 g, water  just over 1 litre

  1.  Wash Kombu then put it in a saucepan with 1 litre of water for 10 minutes then turn the heat on medium.
  2. Take the Kombu out just before boiling the stock then add Katsuobushi.
  3. Remove any foam on the surface of the stock as cooking on medium heat for 2 to 5 minutes then turn it off. (If you are making clear soup, it is better not to cook too long, otherwise it turns bitter.)
  4. Wait until fish flakes sink to the bottom of the pan, which takes a minute or two.
  5. Use a fine colander to strain the stock.

The used Kombu and Bonito flakes can be used again to make another Dashi stock, which is great for soy sauce flavoured simmered dish.  However, if you are using 10 g Kombu and 15 g Katsuobushi, perhaps you can cook them with soy sauce, sake and Mirin to make condiment called Tsukudani.  * You can keep Dashi sea-stock in a tightly covered container for up to 4 days.

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