Cookbook:Dashi (Japanese Soup Stock)

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Dashi (Japanese Soup Stock)
CategoryBroth and stock recipes

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Dashi is a broth used to make miso soup. 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 are 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.



Any of the following (to taste):

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


  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.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • Both kombu and the fish flakes may be found at most reasonably-sized Asian markets or bought cheaply online
  • Katsuobushi is sold in many forms, including small, single-serving packets and in mesh bags to aid removal. An 80 g 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.