Dashi is an essential element in many Japanese dishes and considered fundamental to Japanese cooking. It provides a savory flavour and is much easier to make than meat stock. It forms the base for miso soup, clear broth, noodle soup and other simmering liquid.
Here, I make a basic dashi using dried bonito flakes which is available in Japanese supermarkets.
Just boil 4 cups of water to one cup of flakes (accuracy not critical). Bring water to boil, add flakes, and when water boils again, turn off heat and let sit till flakes sink to bottom. Strain. Discard used flakes.
Dashi can be kept in a freezer as ready stock whenever you feel like a bowl of ramen in the middle of the night.
Dashi sounds like "da xi" in Chinese which means abundance and prosperity - how appropriate that this comes on the third day of the Lunar New Year. Gongxi, Gongxi. Dashi, Dashi! Enter the Year of the Dragon!
Look out for the next post when I use Dashi to make Chawanmushi!