Dashi ingredients
Soups and stocks
Quick miso and vegetable soup
BBQ aubergine soup
Tofu and miso soup
Chunky vegetable soup
Mushroom noodle soup
Introduction :: Soups and dashi :: Egg dishes :: Sushi :: Fast food :: Noodles and rice :: Side dishes :: Desserts
As mentioned in the intrduction to this chapter dashi is the basic stock for Japanese soup making. It usually contains bonito or dried tuna flakes which gives the stock it's depth of flavour. As a vegetarian substitute for tuna flakes it is usual to use dried shitake mushrooms instead. This will lead to a more subtle stock with a slight colouration from the brown mushrooms. These mushrooms can be found in all Asian stores already sliced and dried.

Konbu seaweed is the other main ingredient and is basically a type of Kelp. More details can be found in the glossary.

1 litre (4 cups) water
25g (1 oz) Konbu seaweed
15g (½ oz) dried shitake mushrooms
First wipe the kombu with a dry cloth but do not wash as essential flavour is on the surface. Place the konbu and shitake mushrooms in a bowl and cover with a litre (4 cups) of cold water. Leave them to soak for at least one hour.
Place the ingredients in a large pan and slowly bring the dashi to a simmer. Do not rapid boil this stock as it's subtlety could be lost. When it starts to simmer allow it to do so as slowly as possible for about 15 minutes. Take the dashi off the heat and allow it to cool with the ingredients still in the stock. Sieve and use in one of the soup or noodle recipes.

If you don't have time it would be OK to just leave the ingredients steeping overnight in the cold water and using the stock the next day without cooking it. But I think cooking the stock leads to more complex and rounded flavours.
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Konbu or Kombu (Laminaria japonica) is a seaweed from the kelp family. It is bought dried and is often quite expensive especially when sold in health food stores in small quantities. Keep an eye out for it in Asian food stores.
Shitake mushrooms are used alot in Asian cooking. You could use fresh shitake mushrooms but there is a school of thought that maintains that the drying process increases the depth of flavour of the mushroom therefore making it more suitable for the use in flavouring a stock such as dashi.