Dashi is a stock made from kombu (kelp) and katsuo-bushi (the dried fish known as "bonito"). Along with shoyu (soy sauce), dashi is used most frequently in Japanese cooking in everything from soups to simmered vegetable dishes. Dashi is the foundation for countless dishes. But it's not vegetarian. Here are two recipes: one for real dashi and one for daishi (vegetarian dashi).

Place two quarts of cold water in a large deep pot. Take about 20 inches of kombu/kelp (about 1 1/2 oz.), and carefully and thoroughly wipe the kombu with a clean moistened cloth (do not wash kombu as it removes the flavor). (Or just pop it in the pot. The white powder is msg.) Place the kombu into the pot and slowly bring the water to just before the boiling point, regulate the heat so that the water never actually boils. By simmering the kombu in this way you are releasing its flavour. Once the kelp is tender (about fifteen minutes), remove the seaweed.

Add 3 cups of loose bonito flakes and turn off the heat. Once the flakes have sunk to the bottom of the pot (about a minute or two), strain the stock into another pot or receptacle using a colander filled with cheesecloth or a large coffee filter. The finished dashi should be a light golden color and free of any bonito flake particles. You can store dashi in the refrigerator for up to three days but it's best to use as soon as it's made.

For a vegetarian version, do the same thing with the kombu but then flavour the stock with a splash of mirin and less than splash (perhaps half a teaspoon) of rice vinegar.

You can also purchase powdered dashi and bing into some water. Many of the Japanese restaurants I've been to do this. I don't go back. But since I'm not eating at your house, hey, go ahead.

Dashi, Japaness soup stock, is one of the indispensable ingredients used in Japanese food.

The powdered dashi called Dashi no moto is available in Oriental food shops; to use it mix four teaspoons in 2-3 cups of cold water, it dissolves easily.

Konbu and Katsuobushi dashi

This is a dashi made from konbu (dried kelp), and katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes).

This traditional method of making dashi does give a fresher taste. You can use the ingredients twice. The first extraction makes ichiban dashi, the second makes niban dashi, which is used in one pot cooking, or casseroles.

6 cups water
1 ½ oz konbu (kelp)
1 ½ oz katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

Wipe the kelp with a damp cloth. Then slash the kelp on one side to help release the flavor. Place the kelp in a saucepan with 5 cups of water and bring just to a boil. Remove the kelp and reserve it to make niban dashi. Add the other cup of water and the bonito flakes and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and strain reserving the bonito. The remaining broth is ichiban dashi. This dashi is often used for clear soup.

Makes 6 cups.

Add the reserved kelp and bonito to 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Add 1 oz of bonito flakes and remove from the heat. Let stand for no more than one minute and strain. Used for simmering vegetables.

Makes 6 cups.

Niboshi dashi

Niboshi dashi is made with small dried sardines.

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of Niboshi

Remove the head and guts of the Niboshi. Add water to your pan and soak the Niboshi for 30 minutes. Then put the pan on low heat and bring to a boil. Let it boil for a couple minutes, remove from heat and strain the broth. *This dashi is often used for miso soup.

Some Japanese recipes that use dashi:

Miso-shiru: Miso-Flavored Soup with Bean Curd

Kani Chiri: Crab Hotpot

Not only is dashi soup stock and used in many Japanese dishes, it is also a Japanese sexual term for ejaculation. Kinda gives a new meaning to the soup men, the faceless and nameless heroes whose seishi star in bukkake movies.

naka dashi - naka = inside, dashi = cum ; Cum inside the vagina.

soto dashi - soto = outside, dashi = cum ; Cum outside the vagina - coitus interruptus

Yeh, these types of dashi, more than a mouth full.

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