Dashi is a mild Japanese stock made with Kombu. Some variations include the use of bonito flakes. Dashi can be used in many dishes and for many culinary purposes, the most obvious and common of these being Japanese miso soup.
To prepare First Dashi (ichiban-dashi) – used for miso soup
One Pacific Harvest Kombu Strip
5 cups cold water
5g bonito flakes
Place the Kombu strip in a pot with 4 cups of cold water. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a slight simmer then turn the heat off. Leave the strip for 10min or more depending on the strength required, then remove it.
Turn the heat back on to medium-high and wait until the seaweed stock comes to a gentle boil. Add the rest of the water, and then the bonito flakes. Be sure not to stir. Once the water hits a boil again, turn off the heat. When the bonito flakes fall to the bottom of the pot, strain through a sieve or cheese cloth. Dashi is ready.
Note: it is believed that to make the best stock, the Kombu strip should not be boiled.
The strip can be used again to make a less delicate dashi, called second dashi (niban dashi), the Kombu is simmered in half the water (2 ½ cups) for 10 minutes and allowed to soak longer (20minutes or more) after the heat is off. Then strain through a sieve lined with a paper towel. This second dashi is used as stock for simmering dishes and casseroles.
The used strip can then be cut into fine matchsticks and added to the soup/stews or made into a lovely tasting marinade.