Cookbook:Dashi (Japanese Soup Stock)

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Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes | Soup | Cuisine of Japan

Dashi is a broth used to make miso soup.

Ingredients[edit | edit source]

One or more of:

  • dried young "flying fishes" (飛魚;tobiuo or あご;ago,unique name to Japanese-oceanside.)

Procedure[edit | edit source]

  1. If using sardines or anchovies, remove the heads and intestines. Discard these, keeping the bodies.
  2. Boil fish in water, as if you were making tea.
  3. Filter the liquid or scoop the solids out of it. The liquid is your dashi.

When only kelp (konbu) is used, you get kombu-dashi. This is bland, and appears to be unpopular for use in miso soup. A chunk of kelp about 6 inches across might be reasonable for a quart of broth.

When sardines or anchovies also used, you get niboshi-dashi. This seems to be the most popular choice for making miso soup. You might add a bit of sake in this case. About 10 little fish (guppy-sized) per quart of broth should do.

When both kelp (konbu) and bonito flakes (katsuo-bushi) are used, you get katsuobushi-dashi. This appears to be the second most popular choice for making miso soup. About 1 cup of bonito flakes per quart of broth should do. At first you produce primary dashi (ichiban-dashi). This is good for clear soups. If you use the solids a second time, you get secondary dashi (niban-dashi). This is good for thick soups and for cooking vegetables.

Simple Soup Dashi[edit | edit source]

This Dashi can be used to make a miso soup similar to those served in restaurants in North America.

Ingredients[edit | edit source]

  • 3 large handfuls of dried, smoked, thinly-shaved skipjack tuna (katsuobushi)
  • 4 or 5 4 inch (10 cm) long sheets of kombu seaweed
  • 4-8 cups (1-2 liters) of water (7 cups, or 1.5L of water, will make a strong enough dashi for restaurant-quality miso)

Process[edit | edit source]

  1. Cut small gashes into the kombu. Do not wash the kombu; the white powder on the exterior is actually natural, crystallized MSG and gives the soup flavour.
  2. Place the kombu into the water and bring it to a boil, skimming the surface periodically
  3. Just as the water begins to simmer, remove the kombu (this may be re-infused with less water a second time to make an inferior dashi suitable for cooking)
  4. Let the stock cool down for approximately 5 minutes
  5. Add the flaked tuna and stir, returning to heat
  6. Permit it to boil for about 30 seconds and remove from heat
  7. After a few minutes, the fish will sink to the bottom. Strain the stock through a fine mesh filter (cheese-cloth works well), squeezing the fish to extract every bit of juice (this may be re-infused as well)
  8. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days, and in the freezer for up to 6 months

Tips[edit | edit source]

  • Both kombu and the fish may be found at most reasonably-sized Asian markets or bought cheaply on-line
  • Katsuobushi is sold in many forms, including small, single-serving packets and in mesh bags to aid removal. An 80g bag of the flakes will make about 4L of stock.
  • Most cheap restaurants in Japan and abroad use a powdered mix of salt, MSG, and fish-flavour extract from Ajinomoto, the company whose founder discovered MSG and a Knorr-like presence in Japan. This powdered "instant dashi" is also readily available in the places mentioned above. The recipe provided here will provide a less-salty, deeper-flavoured but similar broth.