Bowl of Dashi Ichiban

Dashi - Ichiban, Niban & Hon Dashi
Japan

Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
4 cup  
**
15 min  
No
Dashi is one of the most important Japanese cooking basics. Given here is the authentic recipe for Ichiban Dashi, superior in delicacy and aroma, especially if you shave your own dried fermented Bonito (it's harder than a board, and takes special tools). This recipe has fallen out of use in Japanese households since the mid 20th century. Dashi-no-moto (instant dashi) is good enough for most uses, particularly the Hon Dashi (true dashi) varieties, and takes only seconds. Niban Dashi is for uses less critical than clear soups, an economy measure. Do read the Comments below.




4
1
1
1/2


6

1/2


4
1

c
oz
oz
c


c

oz


c
T
Ichiban  
Cold Water
Kelp (1)
Bonito Flake (2)
Cold Water

Niban
Cold Water
Bonito-Kelp
Bonito Flake

Hon Dashi
Cold Water
Hon Dashi
Ichiban (1st) Dashi   -   (15 min)
  1. Place KELP and Cold Water in a saucepan, and heat over very moderate flame so the Kelp has some soak time. Pull the kelp just as the water comes to a boil. Reserve for Niban Dashi.
  2. Allow Water to come to a full boil, then add 1/2 cup Cold Water and immediately stir in Bonito Flake. Let the water return to a boil but only for 2 to 3 seconds. Take off the heat.
  3. Strain through muslin or similar, wringing liquid through and reserving Bonito Flakes with the reserved Kelp.
  4. The Dashi should be used right away, before it loses aroma and subtle notes of flavor
Niban (2nd) Dashi   -   (30 min)
  1. Place reserved Bonito and Kelp in a saucepan with 6 cups of cold water. Bring just to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, and simmer uncovered about 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in 1/2 oz fresh Bonito Flakes. Take off the heat and let stand about 1 minute.
  3. Strain through muslin or similar, wringing liquid through.
Hon Dashi   -   (5 min)
  1. Bring Cold Water to a boil. Take off the heat. Stir in Hon Dashi granules - Done.
NOTES:
  1. Kelp:   [Konbu, Kombu (Japan); Miyeok, Dashima (Korea); Haidai (China); Laminaria japonica]   This wide, flat dried seaweed can be found in any market serving a Japanese or Korean community, and in most markets serving other East and Southeast Asian communities. For details see our Algae page.
  2. Bonito Flake:   This is bonito fillets that have been smoked, carefully fermented and then dried. These fillets are hard as a board, a hardwood board, and need special tools to flake. In North America it is available pre-flaked in markets serving a Japanese or Korean community. Flavor fades with time, so don't store it too long. For details see our Seafood Products page.
  3. Hon Dashi:   [True Dashi]   This is a higher grade of Dashi-no-moto (granulated instant dashi stock) indicating it is actually made using real Kelp and Bonito, rather than cleverly faked. It may still be laced with MSG and salt.
  4. Comments:   OK, lets be brutally honest here. If you are serving a clear soup to a Samurai, who happens also to be an epicure, and he's carrying a lot of razor sharp cutlery, and you can get his soup on the table the moment the dashi is done (and you'd better be able to), then you want to make the Ichiban Dashi. Other than that, you may want to go with the Hon Dashi version (yes it is noticeably less delicate, but for Western tastes, you may even prefer it). You'll also save money - Kelp and Bonito Flake are expensive in retail packaging. The Niban Dashi is really pretty rank, tasting mostly of overcooked kelp.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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