UMAMI MAGAZINE

5 Recipes that make use of Japanese Dashi

By Umami Recipe
5 Recipes that make use of Japanese Dashi

Dashi is a type of soup stock that is made by boiling bonito flakes, kelp and other ingredients, and is an essential method to naturally enhance the flavor of a dish. Cooks and chefs around Japan take special pride in how they prepare and incorporate dashi into their creations.

In Japan, there are many dishes that make use of the flavor of dashi. We explore such dishes in the sections that follow.

Chicken Dumpling Soup (Sumashi-jiru)

If you want to experience and understand the flavor of dashi, try this recipe first! Sumashi-jiru (soup stock with chicken dumplings) is a soup made by adding soy sauce and salt to dashi broth. It is characterized by its transparent and beautiful appearance. You may wonder if it really has any flavor because of its translucent color. However, the aroma of the dashi and the flavor of the chicken dumplings are profoundly present in this dish.
The recipe calls for light soy sauce, which is lighter in color than dark soy sauce to impart its clear appearance. An added plus, this recipe can be prepared with a microwave instead of on a stove top.

The juicy chicken dumplings absorb the flavor of the dashi, resulting in a satisfying mouthful. The scent of yuzu adds a touch of light zest, giving the dish a refreshing and overall elegant impression.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

In this article, we will look at a healthy chicken dumpling and spring onion (sumashi) soup. The soup has a transparent broth lightly seasoned with dashi, salt and soy sauce. Different from the more w...

Braised Chicken and Vegetables (Chikuzen-ni)

Chikuzen-ni is one of Japan's most popular simmered dishes. It is a dish in which chicken and vegetables are stir-fried in oil and then stewed. It is a local dish from the Chikuzen region of Fukuoka Prefecture and is traditionally prepared during the Japanese New Year, often making an appearance in New Year Osechi meals.

Chikuzen-ni calls for simmering ingredients in a soup stock base with soy sauce and mirin. When the ingredients are stir-fried, the surface of the ingredients become coated with oil, locking in the flavor and helping the dashi broth to accent the dish. The use of sesame oil further enhances the flavor.

This recipe uses gobo (burdock root), taro, and carrot, but you can also add lotus root, bamboo shoots and konnyaku. Konnyaku is made from a type of potato called konnyaku-imo. Gunma Prefecture is particularly famous for its konnyaku production. It is a food rich in insoluble dietary fiber, which helps in digestion. Some people may find the texture of konnyaku to be peculiar at first, but it is a standard ingredient in simmered dishes in Japan.

Braised Chicken and Vegetables

This delicious dish comes from Japan's southern region, Kyushu. Simmered in soy sauce, the chicken comes out soft and the root vegetables chewy. It pairs well with a bowl of steamy white rice. Enj...

Steamed Egg Custard (Chawanmushi)

Chawan-Mushi is a classic Japanese dish made by steaming beaten eggs with dashi broth. It has a smooth and velvety texture and can be found in Japanese inns and ryotei restaurants. It is also sold at conveyor-belt sushi restaurants and supermarkets. The ingredients for chawanmushi are generally shrimp, chicken, shiitake mushrooms, ginkgo nuts and mitsuba.

The broth is simply seasoned with salt and light soy sauce. This allows the flavor of the dashi to be present without sacrificing the flavor of the egg or the other ingredients added to the custard.

When steaming, if the temperature is too high or the cooking time is too long, the texture of the custard will become unpleasant due to the holes called "su". Since the smooth texture of this dish is very appealing, it is recommended to take extra precaution with the temperature and time when steaming. Another point to help ensure a smooth texture is to filter the egg mixture through a strainer. You may think that the eggs have been mixed thoroughly, but straining the eggs is a way to be sure. If the beaten eggs are steamed without straining, the whites will harden and spoil the texture. This is a time-consuming step, but it is important to make delicious Chawan-Mushi.

Gingko is the fruit of the ginkgo tree, and when heated, they have a crunchy texture. They are sometimes baked and used as a snack for drinks. Gingko fruit are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, and minerals such as potassium and iron. However, eating too much of it can cause dizziness and cramps. It is a symbolic taste of autumn, but be careful not to eat too many.

Steamed Egg Custard

Steamed egg custard (chawanmushi) is a steamed dish with ingredients such as chicken, shiitake, and ginkgo nuts mixed with egg and soup stock. It's a quintessential Japanese dish characterized by ...

Eggplant in Dashi-seasoned Broth

Soaked eggplant in broth is another great dish to experience the flavor of dashi broth. When deep-fried, eggplant is a vegetable that produces a delicious texture, and by further pairing the fried eggplant with dashi broth produces a delectable dish. The broth is seasoned with light soy sauce and mirin. The addition of mirin adds sweetness and richness to the soup and the ginger adds a nice accent.

Eggplant contains dietary fiber and potassium, but what is noteworthy is the color. The dark purple of eggplant comes from nasunin, a polyphenol of the anthocyanin family, which has antioxidant properties and is believed to be effective in anti-aging and inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol.

Eggplant in Dashi-seasoned Broth

Deep-frying the eggplant gives it a gentle, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Since eggplant is a low-calorie vegetable, it is often a good choice for dieters. It is also high in potassium and dietary fiber...

Japanese Mixed Rice (Gomoku Gohan)

The last dish in this series is gomoku gohan, another meal that takes advantage of dashi and is very familiar amongst the Japanese.
Gomoku gohan is prepared with five ingredients and rice cooked in broth. The five ingredients called for in this recipe are; chicken thighs, dried shiitake mushrooms, carrots, konnyaku and burdock.
The rice absorbs the flavor from each of the ingredients enhancing the taste. After washing the rice, soaking it in broth, and cutting the ingredients, all that is required is to steam everything in a rice cooker. The delicious aroma from the steam of the rice cooker will heighten the anticipation of that first bite.

Dried shiitake mushrooms are a great way to preserve flavor, and are perfect for making soup stock. Before steaming in the rice cooker, soak the shiitake in lukewarm water to soften them. Using shiitake also increases the nutritional value of the dish in terms of dietary fiber, vitamin D and potassium. Shiitake mushrooms are a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, so be sure to try incorporating them in your cooking.

Japanese Mixed Rice

Gomoku gohan is a rice dish wherein 5 ingredients are cooked together with rice and dashi soup. These 5 ingredients usually include chicken, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and konjac. In the Kansai area...

The Pride of Japan! Dashi Culture

Dashi can be obtained from a variety of ingredients such as kombu, bonito flakes and shiitake mushrooms. Dashi is an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine, adding depth to the flavor and enhancing the taste of the ingredients.
We have introduced some recipes that allow for the full enjoyment of dashi. These are dishes that use plenty of meat and vegetables and make the most of their individual qualities.

Umami Recipe introduces how to make dashi. Take this opportunity to try your hand at the age old art of dashi making!

Broth from Kelp and Bonito Flakes

Awase dashi is a basic Japanese soup stock made from kelp and dried bonito flakes. The umami of bonito and kelp are blended to create an elegant soup stock with both aroma and flavor. This mixed broth...

Umami Recipe Team

Bringing what's new on Japanese food and culture, from traditional to current trends to your home.

)