“Dashi” is Japanese for broth, and there are several variations;
- Awase Dashi – Made with bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and kelp (konbu). If a recipe asks for dashi without saying the type, use awase dashi.
- Konbu Dashi – Made with dried kelp (konbu).
- Niboshi Dashi – Made with dried baby sardines or dried anchovies (niboshi) and dried kelp (kombu).
- Shiitake Dashi – Made with dried shiitake mushrooms (hoshi shiitake).
Making Dashi with Hondashi or Dashi Pack
The easiest way to make it is to use hondashi (instant dashi powder). Mix 1/2 tsp hondashi with 1 cup of water to make it. However, many people are against using it because it is not traditional and it does not taste as good as traditional dashi. Note: it contains MSG!
An easy way to make MSG-free dashi that taste great is using a dashi pack. However, these can be hard to find. To make dashi using a dashi pack, add water to a pot. The instructions will specify the amount of water, usually in ml or cc. Bring the water to a boil before adding the dashi pack. Turn down the heat and simmer for the amount of minutes recommended on the package (a number, then the character ?) – usually 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the dashi pack. Measure the amount you need for the recipe.