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Japanese dashi stock recipe

Japanese dashi stock recipe

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  • Soup
  • Stock

Dashi stock is the base for many Japanese dishes, such as miso soup. This stock is freezer friendly, so make a big batch.

Kyle Hildebrant

11 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 8

  • 30g dashi kombu (dried kelp)
  • 1 litre water
  • 8 tablespoons bonito flakes

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:5min ›Extra time:30min soaking › Ready in:40min

  1. Wipe away any dirt from the kombu with a kitchen towel, being careful not to rub off the white powdery deposits. Place the kombu and water in a saucepan and allow it to soak for 30 minutes to become soft.
  2. Remove the kombu from the water and cut several lengthways slits into the leaf. Return the kombu to the water and bring it to the boil. As soon as the water begins to boil, remove the kombu to prevent the stock from becoming bitter.
  3. Stir the bonito flakes into the kombu-flavoured water, bring back to the boil and take the pan off the heat. Allow the water to cool. When the bonito flakes have settled to the bottom, strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.


Dashi kombu and dried bonito flakes can be purchased in Oriental speciality stores or online.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(12)

Reviews in English (9)

by Margaret

This is the base for miso soup (among other recipes) and is what makes the soup so good! Thank you for the easy recipe!-01 Feb 2010

What Is Dashi?

Many cuisines have their own go-to stock types. Chicken stock has a regular place on American recipe ingredient lists, for example. Japanese cuisine has dashi, its own stock that serves as the foundation of many dishes such as miso soup, dipping sauce, and nimono (simmered dishes). There are different kinds of dashi stock, each with its own specific culinary use, but they are united in their ability to contribute umami (the fifth taste) to a dish.

Fast Facts

Most Common Use: soups, ramen, udon dishes

Varieties: kombu, awase, iriki, niboshi, hoshi-shiitake

Dashi and Japanese Chicken Stock Recipe | Cook the Book

Cook the Book keeps me on my toes, culinarily speaking. Each week, the featured cookbook dictates not only what I am going to cook but where I will do my food shopping. This week's Japanese Hot Pots by chef Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat had me headed to the Japanese supermarket. Though I love pretty much all grocery shopping, Japanese markets are some of my favorite places to shop—all of those fascinating ingredients, the cute packaging, and the insanely appealing prepared.

After gathering all of my supplies, I made two stocks that will serve as foundations for all the hot pots this week. The first was a classic Dashi, or preserved kelp and bonito flakes steeped in water, then strained. And the second, Japanese Chicken Stock, which is just chicken wings and bones boiled in water (nothing else). The stocks used for Japanese hot pots are clean, simple bases, not meant to be used on their own. Instead, they should be flavored in the second round of cooking by other ingredients that get tossed into the hot pot.

We are kicking off Japanese Hot Pot week by sharing recipes for two of the most basic stocks, which will act as foundations for all of your hot pot recipes this week. These stocks are miles away from their Western counterparts—the flavors are much lighter and and less concentrated than the stocks you might be familiar with, but they are just right for a hot pot.

Win 'Japanese Hot Pots'

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Japanese Hot Pots to give away this week.

Basic Japanese Stock - Kombu and Bonito Dashi

Awase Dashi

Dashi is the mother of Japanese dishes. This is the basic awase dashi (dashi made of two ingredients - kombu and katsuobushi), and besides knowing how to make it right, using the high quality ingredients is extremely important to make good dashi. Here's my basic dashi making process. It's very simple and straightforward, and the result is always superb. If you let the kombu sun-bathe (just leave it in a basket under the direct sunlight) for about 30 minutes before soaking in water, it would help increasing the vitamin D and umami levels of the dashi.


Classic-style donabe (2.5-qt/ 2.5-liter capacity or larger)



  • 2 quarts (2 liters) cold water (soft water is preferred)
  • 2/3 oz (20 g) kombu (dry kelp)
  • 2/3 oz to 1 oz (20 g to 30 g)shaved katsuobushi (also called hana-katsuo smoked and dried bonito flakes)


  1. Combine the kombu and the water in the donabe and let the kombu soak for at least 20 minutes (if you have time, 2 - 3 hours or up to overnight of soaking is even better - in this case, use a separate bowl for soaking and transfer the contents to donabe when they are ready). *Suggestion -cut some slits in the kombu with scissors once it's soft, so the kombu will release more flavors.
  2. Set the donabe over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a low simmer (about 25 - 30 minutes). Remove the kombu.
  3. Turn up the heat and bring to a high simmer, and immediately turn off the heat. Add the katsuobushi all at once.
  4. Wait until the katsuobushi settles in the bottom of donabe (about 2 minutes).
  5. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.

Add the kombu in the donabe.

But cutting slits in the kombu, it will release more flavors into dashi.

Katsuobushi is added all at once as soon as the heat is turned off.

Strain into a bowl.

Very aromatic golden dashi is ready.

Kabu Miso Soup (recipe in Naoko's DONABE Cookbook) made with the fresh dashi tastes so special.

How to Make Chef Morimoto’s Dashi Stock


  • 1/2 ounce kombu (dried kelp)
  • 8 cups water, preferably filtered or spring water
  • 1 1/2 ounces bonito flakes (katsuobushi), about 3 cups lightly packed


Briefly and gently wipe the kombu with a damp towel to remove any dirt or grit, but do not scrub off the white stuff.

Combine the water and kombu in a medium pot, set over medium heat, and heat uncovered just until you see small bubbles break the surface of the water, 10 to 12 minutes. Take the pot off the heat.

Use tongs to remove and discard the kombu. Add the bonito flakes to the pot and stir gently to distribute the flakes throughout the liquid. Let the flakes steep for about 1 minute and use a spoon to skim of any white froth from the surface of the liquid. Let the flakes steep for 2 minutes more.

Line a sieve or strainer with cheesecloth or sturdy paper towel, set the sieve over a large container, and pour in the dashi. Very gently press the flakes and discard them.

If you’re not using the dashi right away, let it cool to room temperature and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Homemade Dashi Stock

Give all of your Japanese cooking that quintessential Japanese flavour with this homemade dashi stock. Dashi can be thought of as the Japanese equivalent of chicken stock, in that it provides a savoury, or 'umami' flavour base that intensifies the flavour of the rest of the dish. This classic dashi recipe draws umami flavour from katsuobushi bonito fish flakes and kombu kelp seaweed.


How To Prepare

Start by opening up your pack of konbu kelp and wiping it down with a damp cloth to remove any impurities from the surface.

Add a piece of konbu kelp approximately the size of a postcard with the water into a large pot and let it soak for about 20- 30 minutes in the cold water.

Turn on the heat and allow the water to boil slowly.

Just before the water boils, remove the heat and add your katsuobushi to the pan.

Without letting the water fully boil over, allow the katsuobushi to simmer in the water for 1 minute.

Remove the konbu and katsuobushi from the pan and strain through a fine sieve into a clean jug or pot.

Tips and Information

- To make vegetarian version of this classic Japanese dashi stock, simply substitute the katsuobushi bonito flakes for dried shiitake mushrooms and allow the flavour of the konbu kelp and shiitake mushrooms to infuse with the water. Allow the ingredients to soak in cold water for a few hours before heating and straining like the katsuobushi recipe. You can then use the shiitake for any number of Japanese dishes afterwards too.

Dashi Base

The most common ingredients used in dashi are:

  • Kombu (dried kelp)
  • Katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes)
  • Dried Shiitake Mushroom
  • Niboshi (usually dried sardines or anchovies)

In today's recipe we are going to use kombu and katsuobushi, so let's learn a little bit more about these ingredients.


Kombu (昆布) is a dried edible kelp. When cut up small and seasoned, it's a very popular onigiri filling in Japan!

When we use it to make dashi, we soak it in cold water first. It needs to be rehydrated in order to extract the flavour.

This usually takes about 30 minutes but some people leave kombu to soak overnight for maxium flavour.


Katsuobushi (鰹節) is the Japanese name for "bonito flakes".

Bonito flakes are made from skipjack tuna that has been dried, fermented and smoked. It is then shaved into very thin flakes.

The flavour is kinda strong and smokey and it makes a very delicious dashi. The longer you cook it, the stronger the fish flavour in your dashi.

Katsuobushi is often used as a topping on dishes such as Okonomiyaki or Takoyaki. It's a useful and tasty ingredient to have in your cupboard if you're interested in Japanese cooking.

Tip for making a clear broth

Because the flakes are so delicate, there are often tiny bits of katsuobushi left in the stock. To remove shavings and tiny bits, line a colander with kitchen paper and pour the dashi through. The kitchen paper will filter out the bits and leave you with a clear broth.

How to Make All-Purpose, Basic Dashi

The First Dashi

The base of Awase Dashi is a vegan Kombu Dashi made from dried kelp. You can cold brew or hot brew kombu to make the dashi. Then you would add dried bonito flakes to the kombu dashi. This makes the stock more enriched. When you make dashi from unused kombu and katsuobushi, it’s called Ichiban Dashi(一番だし). It’s basically the first pure dashi.

The Second Dashi

Niban Dashi (二番だし), or the second dashi is made from previously used kombu and katsuobushi, which you reserved from making Ichiban Dashi. Niban Dashi is a lighter, less intense dashi, yet still provides a great umami flavor despite the ingredients have previously been used.

Do we really need to make dashi twice?

At a regular household, we make such a small amount of dashi that it’s not very efficient to make both Ichiban Dashi and Niban Dashi. My suggestion is to make very good Ichiban Dashi and utilize the used kombu and katsuobushi to make Homemade Furikake (rice seasoning) and Kombu Tsukudani (simmered kombu) after collecting enough used kombu and katsuobushi. This way, there will be no waste, and you get another side dish to accompany your meal.

So then who makes Niban Dashi? Japanese restaurants make a huge batch of dashi daily. They use Ichiban Dashi for dishes like Clear Soups (Osumashi おすまし) and Chawanmushi, which require the pure and maximum amount of umami from the dashi ingredients. They typically use Niban dashi for simmered food (Nimono) and miso soup, which doesn’t require much flavor from the soup stock.

To make Japanese awase dashi, we will need:

  1. Wipe the dried konbu kelp gently with a damp kitchen towel.
  2. Place konbu kelp and water in a pot over medium heat. Remove konbu just before the water boils.
  3. Add bonito flakes. When the water boils, remove the pot from the heat at once.
  4. Once bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the pot, strain through a fine-mesh sieve to obtain dashi.

You can use the awase dashi right away, or store in a clean glass jar for up to 5 days in a fridge, or up to 2 weeks in the freezer.

How To Make Awase Dashi

Ok, I will walk you through the making dashi steps.

  1. Put 1L of water and kombu in a pan, leave for 30 minutes or more, and heat over low heat >> By soaking in water for 30 minutes beforehand, it's easier to extract umami of kombu.
  2. Take kombu out just before boiling >> When the small bubbles come out, take out the kombu. If the kombu is brought to a boil, the slimming element of the kombu will melt out, so taking out the kombu before boiling is the key.
  3. Boil over high heat and then turn it off >> Once the kombu is out, bring it to a boil, turn off the heat.
  4. Add katsuobushi and leave for 3 minutes >> Katsuobushi fall to the bottom of the pot naturally and wait for 3 minutes.
  5. Slowly pour into a strainer with kitchen paper >> Place kitchen paper on a strainer and strain the dashi slowly.

Please taste the freshly made this soup stock. It is a delicious soup with plenty of umami, rich aroma, and luxurious taste that cannot be served with a dashi powder.

If the dashi cannot be used all at once, keep it in a refrigerator for 3 days and in a freezer for about a week. For freezing, it is convenient to put it in an ice tray then freeze it.

Watch How to Make Iriko Dashi

Learn how to make Iriko Dashi (Niboshi Dashi), a Japanese anchovy stock made by boiling dried anchovies. This stock is fundamental to enhance your miso soup for authentic flavor!

What Dishes to Make with Iriko Dashi

Iriko dashi is a very common stock choice to make miso soup because dried iriko are more affordable in price than katsuobushi or kombu. Since Japanese drink miso soup almost every day, it makes sense to use Iriko Dashi. Its briny and pronounced flavor also complements the bold miso, resulting in a more complex tasting soup.

You can also use Iriko Dashi in recipes such as:

  • Simmered dishes with soybeans, vegetables, seaweed, mushrooms
  • Udon noodle soup
  • Strongly-flavored dishes
  • Good to mix with kombu dashi

Anchovy stock is also a basic stock for Korean cuisine, and the process of making the stock is very similar to the one for Japanese cuisine. For those who cannot find kombu or katsuobushi, you can try finding these dried baby anchovies/sardines from Korean grocery stores to make this Iriko Dashi.

The Ultimate Dashi Guide on Just One Cookbook

Dashi plays an important role as a flavor enhancer in Japanese cooking, so you don’t need to season the food with too much salt, fat, and sugar. Rich in minerals and other vitamins, dashi is considered a healthy ingredient in our daily diet.

There are five different types of dashi you can use in Japanese cooking, including vegetarian and vegan dashi (*).

    → made from kombu (dried kelp)* → made from katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) → made from iriko or niboshi (dried anchovies/sardines) → made from dried shiitake mushrooms* → made from a combination of all above or two (e.g., kombu + katsuobushi)

If you are new to different types of dashi, check out my Ultimate Dashi Guide post.

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