Dashi is a Japanese stock for soup and sauces and broths.It is usually made with kombu seaweed and bonito flakes (dried tuna flakes.) It can also be made from small, dried sardines (niboshi) instead of the tuna.
The dried fish flakes or pieces are only simmered for a short time so that the Dashi doesn’t take on a strong fishy taste.
The fish flakes and seaweed are then strained out.
Primary Dashi, aka ichiban-dashi, is the Dashi that you make as above. It has a very delicate taste and is very aromatic. It is used for clear soups.
Secondary Dashi, aka niban-dashi, is a Dashi that you make as above, but re-using the fish flakes and seaweed from above a second time. It is used for simmering vegetables in.
Vegetarian versions are made from dried shiitake mushrooms (hoshi-shiitake) or from just kombu seaweed.
Dashi made with fish are often used with vegetable dishes; Dashi made with just vegetables are used with meat or fish dishes. The point is to provide a balance of tastes.
Japanese housewives now also avail themselves of Dashi powder sold in small jars in stores to make instant Dashi.
Per 4 cups (32 oz / 1 litre) of water, use 1 ½ teaspoons of Dashi powder.
Broth made from a fish stock cube