Dashi (Japanese Stock)

“Dashi is Japanese stock, and Ichiban Dashi, this recipe, is used as a basis for soups, including miso soup, and in many other dishes. It doesn't taste fishy, but it does, to me, give everything a slight taste of the ocean (a bit like eating near a light ocean breeze). I have been practicing with the recipes in several English-language Japanese cookbooks and have consulted several Recipezaar members (thanks Mianbao and Akikobay!) and after some taste-testing, this method is what works best for me. You can vary the amounts depending on how strong you want to taste, and how strong the flavors of your particular ingredients seem to be.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 piece giant dried kelp, about 10 x 3 inches (kombu)
  • 34 cup dried bonito flakes (katsuo bushi)


  1. Put the water into the pot.
  2. Dampen a cloth or paper towel, wring it out, and use it to gently pat the surface of the piece of kelp- do not wipe it hard, just remove surface dust; some of the white powder clinging to it is clean pleasant flavor from the ocean.
  3. Put the kelp into the pot.
  4. Heat the water, and when you can tell it is about to boil, but before it does, remove the kelp.
  5. Add the bonito flakes and let the water come to a full boil.
  6. As soon as the water starts to boil, turn off the heat.
  7. Let the bonito flakes start to settle to the bottom of the saucepan.
  8. You can strain the soup as soon as the flakes start to settle- 30 seconds to 1 minute, or, for a stronger flavor (which you may or may not want depending on what you are making) you can leave them in a few minutes longer- some of the recipes I have seem to imply that the flakes will all settle within a few minutes, but perhaps that depends on the kind you have; mine never all settle, and I find that a soak longer than a few minutes does not improve the flavor much anyway.
  9. To strain: line a strainer with a piece of cheesecloth (optional, but neater), and filter the dashi through it.
  10. You now have ichiban dashi.
  11. This dashi will keep for a few days in a glass container in the refrigerator.
  12. You can also make secondary dashi (niban dashi) by re-using the kelp and bonito flakes once; I haven't practiced that yet.

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