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Dashi (Japanese Soup Base)

There are three basic types of dashi; Ichiban, Niban and Konbu, which are the key to many Japanese dishes. All three types of stock are created using bonito and/or kelp. Ichiban-dashi has a fragrant aroma and a delicate flavor, and is used in clear soups. Niban-dashi is used as a simmering liquid. Konbu-dashi, made from kelp, is used with meat and fish dishes that call for gentler, mild taste, such as Sushi Rice.

Today you can find convenient ready to use dashi (JFC Dashi no-moto) at your local Asian grocer and supermarket.

  ICHIBAN DASHI (3 cups) 

1 sheet of kelp
3-3/4 cups water
1 cup dried shaved bonito flakes

1. Wipe the kelp. Score several times.
2 Heat the kelp and water in a pot over medium heat. Remove the kelp just before the water begins to boil.
3. Add a tablespoon of water to restrain the boiling, then add the flakes and reduce the heat. Simmer for a minute, then remove from the heat. Let the flakes sink to the bottom of the pot for a few minutes.
4. Strain the flakes from the dashi. Keep the kelp and flakes if you are making niban-dashi.

NIBAN DASHI (2 cups)

2 cups water
Reserved kelp and bonito flakes from making Ichiban-Dashi

1. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, then strain.

KONBU DASHI (3 cups)

1 sheet of kelp
3-1/2 cups water

1. Wipe the kelp. Score several times. Place kelp and water in a pot and let sit for 6 to 8 hours.
2 Simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, then remove the kelp.