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What is Dashi, and How Do You Make It?

If you've ever eaten any delicious Japanese soups like udon, ramen, miso soup, and soba, you've likely had Japanese dashi. This popular soup broth is the base for many Japanese-style soups that have been served in Japan and worldwide.

Dashi History

Dashi is an ancient Japanese soup stock with a history going back to the Edo period. There was no written evidence of dashi stock until the 1800s, when it appeared in a cookbook. The history of this soup broth is not clear-cut, as there is no single event that you can pinpoint, noting where or when dashi broth was created. Instead, it seems that people were testing different ingredients, and after multiple tries, this delicious stock came about.

What Is Dashi?

Dashi is a stock made from two main ingredients: kombu, dehydrated pieces of seaweed, andkatsuobushi (bonito flakes) and is used in many Japanese dishes. These ingredients are boiled with water and then strained, offering a delicious umami flavor. Not only does this stock work well with soups, but you can also use it as a base for dipping sauces. Many combine this stock with soy sauce, mirin (rice wine), and sugar for a sweet, salty, umami flavored sauce in Japanese food.

There are multiple varieties of dashi, ranging from kombu dashi (only using seaweed) to shiitake, bonito, and katsuo dashi. Awase dashi is the most common type, including the above ingredients of kombu and katsuobushi.

How to Make Dashi at Home

There are a few ways you can make this delightful soup base at home. One of the easiest ways to recreate this tasty stock is using an instant dashi powder. Try using Ajinomoto Hondashi Soup Stock

 Ajinomoto Hondashi Soup Stock

orKuze Fuku Traditional Umami Dashi; you'll need to mix each with water, then add in your favorite noodles.

Kuze Fuku Traditional Umami Dashi

You’ll still get the umami flavors that you’re craving. You can also use these powders for flavoring in other recipes like rice and even pasta; use less water according to the recipe.

If you're feeling adventurous and want to try authentic Japanese cooking by making dashi from scratch, you can boil kombu and J-Basket Katsuobushi Bonito Flakes (5 servings). Then, strain the kombu and katsuobushi, and you have a homemade version of dashi stock ready to use for a variety of recipes.

J-Basket Katsuobushi Bonito Flakes (5 servings)

For those who want to avoid dashi powder or don’t want to make a homemade version, you can use premade soup mixes like Nagatani Matsutake Osuimon.

 Nagatani Matsutake Osuimon

andHikari Menraku Udon: Hakata Style Agodashi.

Hikari Menraku Udon: Hakata Style Agodashi

Add ramen or udon noodles, and don't forget the toppings like soft-boiled eggs and pork belly for the complete Japanese cuisine experience!

Or, use Daisho Torinanban Nabe Soup to create a hot pot at home filled with veggies, tofu, chicken, and other inclusions.

Daisho Torinanban Nabe Soup

Other Ways to Enjoy Dashi

Of course, you can use dashi in sauces as well. Consider adding this soup base to any recipe for a deliciously meaty, umami flavor. Here’s a delicious way of incorporating this tasty base into other recipes – by making a rice bowl.

Use your favorite rice, making sure to use a quality rice spatula, like MTC Bamboo Rice Spatula For Kamameshi, so no rice gets left behind.

MTC Bamboo Rice Spatula For Kamameshi

Top it with slices of J-Basket Inari no Moto Seasoned Fried Bean Curd, panfried, or as-is (if you're in a rush).

J-Basket Inari no Moto Seasoned Fried Bean Curd

Then, add a finishing touch by drizzling Kuze Fuku Tangy Umami Soy Sauce for extra flavor.

Kuze Fuku Tangy Umami Soy Sauce

Interested in trying more Asian grocery items, including Japanese grocery foods? Avoid heading to the Japanese grocery stores or Asian grocery stores by checking out Bokksu Market.Bokksu Market is an Asian grocery store where you can order groceries online, making it convenient to purchase your favorites and find new favorites simultaneously.

By Krystina Quintana

Author Bio

Krystina Quintana is a 29-year-old copywriter living outside of Chicago, IL. Her passion for Asian culture began at a young age as she learned to create Asian-inspired recipes like homemade sushi with her family. This interest in Asian culture continues today with time spent in the kitchen and copywriting pursuits. Krystina has worked with customers ranging from small businesses to food Youtubers with 70,000+ subscribers. With a passion for food and travel, she seeks to help businesses bring traffic to their page by writing blog posts that are engaging, informative, and fun to read.