Dashi is the mother of Japanese dishes. This is the basic awase dashi (dashi made of two ingredients – kombu and katsuobushi), and besides knowing how to make it right, using the high quality ingredients is extremely important to make good dashi. Here’s my basic dashi making process. It’s very simple and straightforward, and the result is always superb. If you let the kombu sun-bathe (just leave it in a basket under the direct sunlight) for about 30 minutes before soaking in water, it would help increasing the vitamin D and umami levels of the dashi.
EquipmentClassic-style Donabe (2.5-qt/ 2.5-liter capacity or larger)
YeildAbout 1.8-qt (1,800 ml)
- 2 quarts (2 liters) cold water (soft water is preferred)
- 2/3 oz (20 g) kombu (dry kelp)
- 2/3 oz to 1 oz (20 g to 30 g) shaved katsuobushi (also called hana-katsuo; smoked and dried bonito flakes)
- Combine the kombu and the water in the donabe and let the kombu soak for at least 20 minutes (if you have time, 2 – 3 hours or up to overnight of soaking is even better – in this case, use a separate bowl for soaking and transfer the contents to donabe when they are ready). *Suggestion -cut some slits in the kombu with scissors once it’s soft, so the kombu will release more flavors.
- Set the donabe over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a low simmer (about 25 – 30 minutes). Remove the kombu.
- Turn up the heat and bring to a high simmer, and immediately turn off the heat. Add the katsuobushi all at once.
- Wait until the katsuobushi settles in the bottom of donabe (about 2 minutes).
- Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.
Kabu Miso Soup (recipe in Naoko’s DONABE Cookbook) made with the fresh dashi tastes so special.