Dashi is a clear Japanese soup stock that is used as the base for many soups and dishes. It's a simple, delicious and versatile broth made with only 4 ingredients.
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What is dashi?
Dashi is a clear, golden-coloured all-purpose stock that forms the base of many soups and dishes in Japanese cooking.
It is the cornerstone of Japanese cuisine and is used in many Japanese dishes.
Dashi has a mild flavour and is filled with savoury umami, which is known as the 5th taste.
Dashi is mainly made with seaweed (kombu) and bonito flakes, which have high amounts of glutamic acid that give it its delicious umami taste.
Koreans also use a similar broth flavored with anchovies (instead of bonito flakes).
Why you'll love this recipe
Dashi is very easy to prepare from scratch with only 4 ingredients.
Using both bonito flakes and anchovies heightens the depth of flavor the broth.
You can easily customize the dashi broth with additional seasonings to suit your taste.
Ingredients you'll need
- kombu: also known as kelp; usually comes dried in large pieces and is dark in colour
- bonito flakes: made from skipjack tuna that has been smoked and fermented; also known as katsuobushi
- dried anchovies: optional; they are small, salted anchovies; adds additional umami flavour
- water: filtered, to make the stock
You can find all these ingredients in Japanese grocery stores or Asian supermarkets.
How to choose dried kombu
Choose dried kombu with lots of white powder/specks on it.
The white powder is the glutamic acid, which adds to the umami. (It is not mold or dirt).
Don't wash the kombu, which will wash away the glutamic acid.
Instead, use a slightly damp towel to gently clean.
How to make anchovy broth
Place the kombu and water into a pot and heat it up until it is near boiling. (Don't let it boil or the kombu will become slimy).
Remove the kombu and set aside (to make furikake) or discard.
Add in the bonito flakes and anchovies.
Let the liquid simmer for about 30 seconds.
Turn off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Strain out the bonito flakes and anchovies and pour the dashi broth through a sieve or mesh strainer into a clean jar.
Let it cool, cover with a lid and place into the fridge until ready to use.
How to store soup stock
Store the cooled dashi broth in the fridge for up to 1 week.
You can freeze the dashi in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. (Make sure to give enough headspace in the container to allow for expansion of the liquid).
To use, defrost the broth overnight in the fridge.
Ways to use anchovy broth
You can use the dashi broth in many Japanese and Korean dishes.
Serve the broth with various noodles. Or try one of these:
- oden: Japanese-style fish cakes in broth
- udon noodle soup
- takoyaki: octopus balls
- okonomiyaki: Japanese savoury pancakes with veggies, seafood/meat
- miso soup: add the dashi to some miso paste
- tteokbokki: spicy Korean rice cakes in gochujang sauce
For a vegan variation, you can use dried shiitake mushrooms and white radish in place of the bonito flakes and dried sardines.
Mushrooms are also very high in umami.
You can easily double the dashi stock recipe for a larger batch.
Take care not to boil the kombu or it may become slimy.
You can save the used kombu and bonito flakes to make furikake seasoning.
If you can find it, you can use instant dashi, anchovy broth tablets, or dashi powder as a shortcut.
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Dashi Broth (Japanese Stock)
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 1 large piece dried kombu
- 1 L (4 C) filtered water
- ¾ C bonito flakes
- ¼ C dried anchovies optional
- Place the kombu and water into a pot and heat it up until it is near boiling. (Don't let it boil or the kombu will become slimy).
- Remove the kombu and set aside (to make furikake) or discard.
- Add in the bonito flakes and anchovies.
- Let the liquid simmer for about 30 seconds.
- Turn off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Strain out the bonito flakes and anchovies and pour the dashi broth through a sieve into a clean jar.
- Let it cool, cover with a lid and place into the fridge until ready to use.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.