Dashi is a general term for Japanese stock that forms the base for many kinds of simmering liquid of Japanese cuisine. There are many types of dashi and the flavours vary according to the ingredients used.
The most common dashi is made of either kombu (edible kelp), kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi/dried bonito flakes – preserved, fermented skipjack tuna), or both – kombu and katsuobushi. The other flavours are from niboshi (dried small sardines), hoshi-shiitake (dried shiitake mushrooms), and many more.
Dashi is best to use on the same day it is made though it can be kept refrigerated for a couple of days. More often the word ‘umami’ is associated with ‘dashi’.
What is ‘Umami’ and why?
A loanword from the Japanese, ‘umami‘ can be translated as “pleasant savory taste”. In 1908, the unusual and strong flavor of kelp dashi was identified by Kikunae Ikeda as ‘umami’, the “fifth flavor”, attributed to human taste receptors responding to glutamic acid.
Here are the recipes:
There are more to come in the next chapter! 🙂