Fish Stock Preparation
Dashi is a lean, aromatic, nutritious, and flavorful stock that is made from water, kombu (kelp), and katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes). It is simple, quick, and easy to make. Freshly made dashi is like freshly brewed coffee. As time passes, the quality deteriorates dramatically. So prepare it as you need it. If you have some dashi left over, refrigerate it in a sealed container for two to three days. It is also very handy to have frozen dashi available packed in a small container or in an ice cube tray, since many recipes in this book call for a small quantity of it (2 tablespoons or ¼ cup).
Makes4 quarts (the recipe can be scaled down for smaller quantities)
Total Timea day or more
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Type of Dishstock
- 1½ ounces kombu (kelp) (about one 10- by 4½-inch rectangle
- 2 ounces katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes) (about 2¼ cups, firmly packed)
Soak the kelp in a large bowl overnight (about 10 hours) with 3 quarts of water. Remove the kelp, reserving it for making a second round of dashi. This soaking liquid is the kombu dashi (kelp stock) and is used when a recipe calls for kelp stock.
Pour the kelp stock into a cooking pot and set it over medium-high heat. When it comes to a boil, add the fish flakes all at once. Count 10 seconds, then quickly turn off the heat. Remove any foam that rises. Let the stock rest with the fish flakes for 2 minutes, then strain it through a fukin, tightly woven cooton cloth, or a strainer lined with a strong paper towel. Discard the bonito flakes or reserve them along with the reserved kelp for making a second round of dashi.
If you forgot to soak the kelp overnight, put the kelp and measured cold water in a pot, set it over mediumlow heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the kelp and turn the heat to medium. When the kelp stock comes to a boil, add the bonito fish flakes and follow the preceding instructions.
To prepare a second round of dashi, combine 3 quarts of cold water and the reserved kelp and bonito fish flakes in a pot, set it over medium-low heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Strain the dashi through a fukin or a strainer lined with a strong paper towel, discarding the bonito flakes and kelp. Use the second round of stock to prepare a miso soup whenever you like. Refrigerate or freeze the unused second round of dashi in sealable containers in small batches.
2006 Hiroko Shimbo