Bonito and Kombu Dashi
This combination of bonito flakes and kombu makes the most popular and flavorful all-purpose dashi. The idea is to extract the flavors by steeping the ingredients for the first round of dashi, which is called ichiban dashi, or “number 1 dashi.” The amount of bonito flakes I use for this recipe depends on how I will use the dashi. For everyday dashi, I make a medium-strength dashi using 3 cups bonito flakes. When I make noodle soups, I want a stronger dashi, so I use 4 cups bonito flakes. This dashi is enjoyed for its fragrance and is so flavorful on its own that you can drink it straight, like soup.
Makes about 4 cups
- 5 cups filtered water
- 1 piece kombu, about 3 by 3 inches
- 3–4 cups bonito flakes
Combine the water and kombu in a medium saucepan. Heat over low heat until bubbles begin to form around the kombu, 5–10 minutes. Remove the piece of kombu before the water comes to a boil. Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat. Add the bonito flakes. Let stand for 2 minutes, without stirring, to steep the bonito flakes.
To strain the dashi, pour the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel. Don’t press the bonito flakes while straining, as it will cloud the dashi. Use immediately, or cool completely and refrigerate for up to 4 or 5 days or freeze up to 1 month.
Note: You can reuse the bonito flakes and kombu to make a second pot of dashi.
From “Japanese Home Cooking“ by Sonoko Sakai, copyright 2019 Sonoko Sakai. Photographs copyright 2019 by Rick Poon. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, Col.