Condiments and Sauces/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Soup

Quick Dashi Recipe – Japanese Soup Stock

04/11/2021

Ichiban Dashi (number one dashi) is the backbone of Japanese cuisine. Dashi brings the umami richness through lightly simmered kombu and bonito flakes. Ready in 30 minutes, this quick soup stock is a Japanese household staple to take your hot pots and soups to the next level!

Dashi stock in a Japanese style saucepan.

Why We Love This

Dashi is the key ingredient to Japanese cuisine! It brings that classic umami flavour without tasting fishy. 

It’s so simple to make fresh dashi stock at home and much healthier and commercial dashi stock powder too. Made with natural ingredients – no fake flavour enhancers here! – it’s easy to adapt to your preference too. Soak the kelp for a shorter time to get cooking faster, or soak it longer to bring out a deeper, richer flavour. 

You can even use the leftover kelp and bonito flakes to make your own rice seasoning (furikake), so everything is used and there’s no food waste.

Kombu, bonito flakes and freshly made dashi stock.

What is Dashi? 

Dashi is a popular variety of Japanese soup stocks, with the most commonly used being Ichiban Dashi / Awase Dashi – a three ingredient dashi made from water, katsuobushi and kombu.

You’ll find dashi in Japan’s most famous dishes, including takoyaki, okonomiyaki, shabu shabu and nikujaga.

What is Dashi Powder?

In many places it can be hard to track down the ingredients to make fresh dashi from scratch, which is where dashi powder is becoming very popular to use instead. Dashi powder is great when you’re short on time, travelling or camping, or can’t get the ingredients. It’s now widely found in most big supermarkets or Asian grocers.

We use a ratio of 1 tsp of dashi powder for every cup of water (250ml / 8.45fl oz), but some people prefer a milder flavour and in that case use only 1/2 tsp of dashi per cup.

For those that haven’t used it before, it’s very similar to reaching for the chicken or vegetable stock powder in Western cuisines.

Dashi Variations

  • Ichiban Dashi / Awase Dashi – Full strength dashi made from katsuobushi and kombu. This is the recipe we’re sharing today, and one of the most popular used in Japan!
  • Niban Dashi – A half strength dashi made from the leftovers of ichiban dashi, sometimes made by adding a little more fresh katsuobushi for extra flavour. Mostly used for miso soup, but you could also use it in zosui rice soup.
  • Kombu Dashi – This is the vegan and vegetarian friendly version that uses only kelp / kombu and omits the katsuobushi.
  • Shiitake Dashi – Made with shiitake mushrooms, this is also vegan and vegetarian friendly.
  • Katusobushi Dashi – Made with katsuobushi only – no kombu!
  • Iriko / Niboshi Dashi – Made with sardines or anchovies, this is more commonly found in Korean based dishes and called dasima in Korean.

Where We Learned This

We were lucky enough to learn about dashi from quite a few friends and acquaintances we met along our many trips through Japan. Two that stand out to us are from one of our “Osaka Mums”, Yoshiko, who teaches homestyle Japanese cooking, and the other is from a chef in Okayama who was taught by her grandmother. Both styles taught us so many tips for the perfect dashi broth that we can’t wait to share with you!

What You’ll Need

  • Dried Kelp / Kombu – A core ingredient for dashi, dried kelp is usually available at Asian grocers, or you may be able to source it locally depending on where you live.
  • Bonito Flakes / Katsuobushi – Bonito Flakes (Katsuobushi in Japanese) are skipjack tuna flakes that have been simmered, smoked and fermented to help give dashi the umami kick.
  • Water – Filtered or spring water will give you the cleanest and best tasting dashi. However, it’s fine to use tap water if you need.

How to Make Ichiban Dashi at Home:

  1. Using scissors, cut 1-2cm / ½ inch slits along the sides of the kombu to open up the flavour.
  2. Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the kombu. Allow to soak for 15 minutes for a quick dashi, or overnight for a rich dashi stock.
  3. Place the saucepan over a low-medium heat, and once you see small bubbles start to form on the bottom of the pan (around 5-10 minutes), remove the kombu.
  1. Pour the bonito flakes into the water, but don’t stir, just lightly press with chopsticks or a spoon to make sure they’re all submerged. Simmer gently for a minute before switching off the heat. Stand for a few minutes and allow the flavours to bloom.
  2. Place a colander and paper towel or cloth over a medium bowl and slowly strain the dashi through, catching the bonito flakes in the colander. Alternatively, allow the bonito flakes to sink to the bottom, and carefully ladle out the liquid dashi stock.
  3. Use immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 1-2 months.

Ichiban Dashi vs Niban Dashi

Ichiban Dashi means “first stock”, it is the strongest dashi stock and what is used in most Japanese recipes that call for dashi stock. 

Niban Dashi means “second stock”, it is a weaker dashi stock made from the leftover kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). This second stock is mainly used for making miso soup.

If you want to make niban dashi after making ichiban dashi, the steps are simple!

Making Niban Dashi

Place the used kombu and katsuobushi back into the medium saucepan and add 4 cups of spring water / filtered water. 

Heat over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, bringing it to a gentle simmer with small bubbles on the bottom of the pan (just under boiling). Add 15g of new katsuobushi and continue to simmer for a minute before switching the heat off. 

Allow to cool and steep for a few minutes, then strain and use straight away or store in an airtight container.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Cooked Kombu – Once the kombu / kelp is cooked, you’ll notice it’s quite slimy and slippery when you go to remove it, this is completely normal.

FAQs

What can I use instead of dashi?

If you can’t source kombu or katsuobushi, you can make any of the other variations of dashi – including from shiitake mushrooms or even dried anchovies/sardines!

What do you do with leftover kombu and katsuobushi from making dashi?

There are so many uses for used kombu and katsuobushi, so don’t throw them away! If you’ve made ichiban dashi, you can always make niban dashi (a half strength, second cook through of the ingredients), kombu and bonito tsukudani, chop up and top on okonomiyaki or feed it to your chooks!

Our Favourite Recipes Using Ichiban Dashi / Awase Dashi

Pork, udon and vegetables all cut up and ready to eat in a shabu shabu hot pot.
Quick Shabu Shabu Recipe
You're just a few tasty ingredients away from this simmering Japanese hot pot. Think thinly sliced pork, udon, tofu, vegetables and delicious homemade dipping sauces. Ready to get cooking? Let's learn how to make this 10 minute Shabu Shabu recipe at home.
Click for Quick Shabu Shabu Recipe
Bowl of Japanese miso soup with pumpkin and tofu.
Quick Japanese Miso Soup Recipe
Move aside udon, this homemade Japanese Miso Soup recipe is ready to warm you up. Filled with dashi, tofu, onion and pumpkin, it's bursting with goodness and ready in 10 minutes.
Click for Quick Japanese Miso Soup Recipe
Okonomiyaki topped with sauce, kewpie mayonnaise, bonito flakes and seaweed flakes.
Easy Okonomiyaki Recipe – Japanese Savoury Pancakes
Okonomiyaki are Japanese savoury pancakes packed with flavour and SO easy to make! Ready in less than 30 minutes, these 'as you like it' pancakes are sure to be the new family favourite.
Click for Easy Okonomiyaki Recipe – Japanese Savoury Pancakes
Nikujaga in a Japanese bowl with shirataki noodles.
One Pot Nikujaga – Japanese Beef and Potato Stew
The comforting weeknight dinner – One Pot Nikujaga! This easy Japanese Beef and Potato Stew takes only 20 minutes to cook, perfect with a side serve of piping hot sushi rice.
Click for One Pot Nikujaga – Japanese Beef and Potato Stew
Dashi stock in a large glass jar on dark background.

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Saucepan filled with Japanese dashi stock.

Quick Dashi Recipe – Japanese Soup Stock

Ichiban Dashi (number one dashi) is the backbone of Japanese cuisine. Dashi brings the umami richness through lightly simmered kombu and bonito flakes. Ready in 30 minutes, this quick soup stock is a Japanese household staple to take your hot pots and soups to the next level!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Soaking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Basics
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 53kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water filtered or spring water
  • 8 g dried kelp / kombu around 1-2 pieces, 4 in / 10cm long
  • 15 g bonito flakes / katsuobushi

Instructions

  • Using scissors, cut 1-2cm / ½ inch slits along the sides of the kombu to open up the flavour.
    8 g dried kelp / kombu
  • Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the kombu. Allow to soak for 15 minutes for a quick dashi, or overnight for a rich dashi stock.
    4 cups water, 8 g dried kelp / kombu
  • Place the saucepan over a low-medium heat, and once you see small bubbles start to form on the bottom of the pan (around 5-10 minutes), remove the kombu.
  • Pour the bonito flakes into the water, but don't stir, just lightly press with chopsticks or a spoon to make sure they're all submerged. Simmer gently for a minute before switching off the heat. Stand for a few minutes and allow the flavours to bloom.
    15 g bonito flakes / katsuobushi
  • Place a colander and paper towel or cloth over a medium bowl and slowly strain the dashi through, catching the bonito flakes in the colander. Alternatively, allow the bonito flakes to sink to the bottom, and carefully ladle out the liquid dashi stock.
  • Use immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 1-2 months.

Video

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Quick Dashi Recipe – Japanese Soup Stock
Serving Size
 
1 Litre
Amount per Serving
Calories
53
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
10
mg
3
%
Sodium
 
106
mg
5
%
Potassium
 
137
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
 
1
g
0
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
10
g
20
%
Vitamin A
 
9
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
42
mg
4
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Quick Dashi Recipe - Japanese Soup Stock

Miso E-cookbook

Image of laptop and ipad with text overlay.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.