DASHI

An essential element in Japanese cuisine, Dashi forms the base for many soups and simmered dishes becuase of its distinctive gentle savoury flavour. Relying on the process of extraction and infusion, Dashi is often prepared as two versions each time: the Ichiban Dashi 一番だし(the first stock) and Niban Dashi 二番だし (the second stock). Ichi-ban Dashi is a flavourful stock packed with umami meant for clear soups, porridge, and Oden. Ni-ban Dashi has a more delicate flavour, and is ideal as an all-purpose stock for cooking. It is often used for making Miso soup and simmered dishes.

Two MAIN components in Dashi:

  1. Konbu 昆布 (kelp) : a type of seaweed found along the coastal lines. It’s salty and savoury flavour is often described as Umami 旨味 - the fifth taste described by Japanese chefs on top of sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Its rich flavour is enhanced through drying. Also in drying, preserves the kelp, aids storage and facilitate transportation.

  2. Katsuobushi かつおぶし: Paper-thin shavings of hard wood-like blocks of smoked, dried and fermented Katsuo 鰹節 (skipjack tuna). These components are rich in natural glutamates which provide flavour to the stock.

Ingredients :

  • 2 litres of water

  • 1 piece of Konbu 昆布(こんぶ) (approximately 12cm long)

  • 3 handfuls of Katsuobushi 鰹節(かつおぶし)

 

 

Equipment :

  • 1 Large strainer

  • 2 Large Bowls

  • 1 Cheesecloth

  • 1 Pot

  • 1 Kitchen towel

To make Ichiban Dashi :

  1. Wet a piece of kitchen towel and wring dry to wipe any dirt off the surface of the Konbu.

  2. Pour 1 litre of room-temperature water into a pot, and add in the Konbu. Let it soak for about 30min.

  3. Place the pot over medium heat and let simmer without bringing to boil.

  4. Remove the Konbu and set aside. This steeping and heating process will extract maximum flavour from the Konbu.

  5. Bring the water to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat. 

  6. Remove any scum that has accumulated. These are the impurities from the Konbu.

  7. Allow the water to cool for about 5min before adding in 2 handfuls of Katsuobushi. 

  8. Upon adding the Katsuobushi, place pot over medium heat and let it simmer. Gently push the Katsuobushi down into the water but do not store. 

  9. After 8-10min, strain the contents in the pot through the cheesecloth into a large bowl. This is Ichiban Dashi.

 

To make Niban Dashi :

  1. Return the used Katsuobushi from the cheesecloth back into the pot, and add the previously used Konbu.

  2. Add 1 litre of water into the pot and bring to boil.

  3. As soon as it boils, turn of the heat and add 1 handful of fresh Katsuobushi. Allow it to steep for a few minutes.

  4. Strain the contents in the pot through the same cheesecloth into another large bowl. 

  5. Wrap the strained Konbu and Katsuobushi in the cheesecloth and wring it to yield as much liquid as possible. This is Niban Dashi.