Dashi (soup broth) is an important element in Japanese cuisine, and learning how to make dashi is the first step for Japanese chefs. Concentrated dashi granules or dashi liquid are common and convenient for home use, but genuinely handmade dashi is incomparable. Today we are going to show you how to make dashi, which can be the core of Japanese cuisine.
Basics of Japanese Dashi
There are several types of dashi, and bonito extract dashi is the most basic.
Making dried bonito needs a lot of time and effort – first boil and smoke a bonito, shape it, then add mold on the surface, and dry. These processes should be repeated several times. Bonitos that are only boiled and smoked is called “Arabushi”, which are sold at supermarkets as “Hanakatsuo”.
Bonitos that are boiled, smoked then added mold is called “Honkarebushi”, which are prime quality products and used at authentic Japanese style restaurants. Honkarebushi has the best flavor and produces genuine and rich dashi.
How to Make Bonito Extract Dashi
Dried bonito should be shaved very thin and soaked in hot water. To shave dried bonito into thin flakes, a bonito shaver box is usually used. Bonito shaver box is also referred to as bonito plane, and it is a traditional tool that has been used since ancient times.
Let’s see how to shave dried bonito and make dashi.
1. Adjust the blade of bonito shaver box
The thickness of dried bonito varied depending on how you adjust the blade of bonito shaver box. It can be shaved thick, but this time we will show you how to shave it thin.
To shave it thin, use a wooden hammer and gently hit the edge of blade toward the direction it faces. Then the blade will move to the appropriate position.
If the blade sticks out too much, you can hit the opposite side of plane so that the blade recedes.
2. Wipe dried bonito
Wipe a part of bonito that you are going to shave with dry kitchen towel. This is to remove mold on the surface.
3. Shave dried boito
Once the bonito shaver box is prepared, shave the bonito. It should be shaved from the head side. The right side in the picture above is the head. Hold the bonito as shown in the picture below and move it back and forth.
4. Make dashi
It’s simple. Boil the water to around 80℃, put bonito flakes in, and turn off the heat. Then wait for about 3 minutes and filter it. That’s it! This dashi can be used for various Japanese cuisine including Miso soup, Osuimono (clear soup), Nimono (vegetables and meat simmered in soy sauce), Ohitashi (boiled seasoned vegetables), etc.
Rich Flavorful Japanese Dashi
There are various kinds of dashi in Japan and variations are infinite if you replace ingredients. Why don’t you learn the basics of Japanese dashi and find your best one?