Dashi is a Japanese soup stock and an essential ingredient in Japanese cooking. In particular, this Awase Dashi which is a combination of Katsuobushi(bonito flakes) and Kombu(kelp), is the most common dashi and is used in various dishes. It takes some work to make dashi from scratch, but it is worth it with the luxurious aroma and umami you can't get with a dashi powder. Let's learn how to make awase dashi at home.
What is Awase Dashi?
Awase means "combine" in Japanese. Awase dashi uses 2 ingredients which are Katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and Kombu(kelp), and this dashi is the most commonly used one. Speaking of dashi, people refer to this awase dashi in general.
Each katsuobushi and kombu includes an umami element, and dashi can be made from it separately, but when these are combined together, umami synergy happens, and the umami element will double. These are the great things about awase dashi.
The dashi made from scratch brings deep umami and rich aroma and makes everyday dishes more delicious. It is very simple and easy to make, so try it out from time to time and enhance your Japanese dishes.
Katsuobushi (Bonito Flakes)
Katsuobushi is a dried fermented fish product and is usually sold as flakes. If you love Japanese food, you already have it as it's used in so many dishes like soba or udon noodles, filling for onigiri(rice ball), toppings for salad, rice bowls, okonomiyaki, and so on. It's one of the important basic ingredients for Japanese cooking.
There are many choices for katsuobushi, from the raw material to how it's shaved. This is a great article about katsuobushi, which shows all the details.
There are 2 types of katsuobushi, "Arabushi" and "Karebushi". More than 80% of katsuobushi is made from "Arabushi," which production period is short and reasonable. On the other hand, "Karebushi" is more expensive, so used for high-end restaurants.
Katsuobushi is named differently depending on shaving type, such as thin shave, thick shave, string shave, etc. In general, the thin shave is used for making dashi, and it is also called "Hana katsuo"(花かつお: flower katsuobushi).
I use Hana katsuo for dashi and other dishes. It is the most common katsuobushi, so you can easily find it at your local store. If you don't know what to choose, pick Hana katsuo.
Same as katsuobushi, kombu is an important ingredient for making dashi. The main producing area is Hokkaido, which is the northernmost prefecture, and there are different types of kombu depending on the location, such as Ma Kombu, Rishiri Kombu, and Hidaka Kombu.
My favorite is ma kombu, which brings rich umami and elegant aroma. It's more expensive than other kombu, but once you taste it, I think you will like the depth of umami.
I have described kombu more in Shiitake Kombu Dashi so please check this article if you wanna go deeper.
How Do I Use Awase Dashi
This awase dashi can be used for a wide range of dishes. As I mentioned before, it is the most commonly used dashi in Japanese cooking, so you don't need to worry about what to do with awase dashi; use it for any dishes like noodle soup, nimono (simmered dishes), miso soup, rice dishes. I often use dashi for Takikomi Gohan (seasoned rice) and dashi maki tamago (rolled egg), my kids' favorite dishes.
How to Make Awase Dashi
Ok, I will walk you through the making dashi steps.
- 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 the umami of the kombu.
- Take the 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.
- Boil over high heat and then turn it off >> Once the kombu is out, bring it to a boil and turn off the heat.
- Add katsuobushi and leave for 3 minutes >> Katsuobushi naturally falls to the bottom of the pot, and wait for 3 minutes.
- Slowly pour into a strainer with kitchen paper >> Place kitchen paper on a strainer and strain the dashi slowly.
Please taste the freshly made soup stock. It is a delicious soup with plenty of umami, a rich aroma, and a 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 and freeze it.
Eat Katuobushi and Kombu After Making Dashi
I made an awase dashi from scratch, but what do I do with the leftover katsuobushi and kombu? Don't worry, you are not gonna waste them. This leftover is called dashigara, and there is an easy way to reuse it.
Dashigara's classic recipes are furikake and tsukudani. However, it is not something that you eat a lot at once, and in our case, we oftentimes couldn't finish eating them. So I recommend reusing for onigiri, takikomi Gohan(again!), tamagoyaki, and miso soup! Just mix dashigara in these dishes and cook instead of making other dishes like furikake or tsukudani. It's easy!
Ok, that's it for awase dashi. Hope this post helps you understand how to make Japanese soup stock, awase dashi. If you have any questions or requests, feel free to make a comment in the section below! Thank you!
Awase Dashi - Basic Japanese StockPrint Pin Save Saved!
- Put 1L of water and kombu in a pan, leave for 30 minutes or more, and heat over low heat
- Take kombu out just before boiling
- Boil over high heat and then turn it off
- Add katsuobushi and leave for 3 minutes
- Slowly pour into a strainer with kitchen paper and strain the dashi
- The serving size is 4 servings for miso soup and 2-3 servings for noodle soup