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 can be used for various Japanese dishes, so it would be a good thing to remember. Try cooking Japanese food with this soup stock today.
The five basic tastes consist of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. Like sweet and sour, umami refers to an independent taste that can be distinguished by the tongue. The components of "umami" are present in various foods. Among them, it is most abundant in kelp, dried bonito flakes, and dried shiitake mushrooms. It is said that the reason why Japanese people have used kelp and dried bonito dashi as a staple element of Japanese food for a long time is that they knew how delicious umami is based on experience.
The main components of umami are inosinic acid, glutamic acid, and guanylic acid. Sources say that the combination of these components makes a dramatic difference in how delicious the food turns out, rather than using just one component on its own. Awase dashi is a combination of dried bonito (inosinic acid) and kelp (glutamic acid), which makes it a good example. Combining these components result in a strong umami flavor. In other words, Japanese cuisine is characterized by the effective use of these two umami components. Hope you’ll try making your dashi sometime!
- 2.75 cup Water
- 8 inch Dried dashi kelp
- 0.53 oz Dried bonito flakes
Gently wipe each piece of kombu seaweed with a dry cloth, removing the grime and dirt on its surface.
Since the white powder is an “umami (added flavor)” component, do not wipe it off. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, make a few cuts in the dashi kombu to help extract its added “umami” flavor.
Pour water into a deep pot. Soak the dashi kombu for 20 to 30 minutes so that the kombu will soften and its “umami” flavor will be extracted.
Heat the pot over low heat and when scum begins to rise to the surface or near the edge of the pot, remove the kombu. Be careful not to bring it to a boil to avoid slime or discoloration.
Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat and quickly add the bonito flakes. When it reaches the boiling point again, turn the heat off.
Place a strainer over a bowl. Lay a sheet of wet felt type paper towel over the strainer and sift the bonito flakes by pouring the dashi over the strainer. Since the remaining flakes can contain a bitter flavor, make sure not to wring them out so that the juice won’t be mixed with the sifted liquid. This liquid remaining in the bowl is the first-brewed dashi stock.
- The key to making the best dried bonito soup stock is not squeezing the dried bonito when you strain it. You may feel the urge to squeeze out as much flavor as you can, but doing so will release a bitter taste.
- If you do not have a felt type paper towel, please use a fine mesh strainer/sieve.