DASHI is the base of Japanese cuisine.
In Japan, "DASHI" is carefully crafted by selecting and processing high-quality ingredients such as bonito and kombu, boiling them over time to extract the rich umami flavor.
This seasoning is designed to skillfully enhance the overall taste of dishes by extracting the hidden flavors in other ingredients through its umami components. A dish with well-extracted "DASHI" results in a flavorful cuisine, even with modest seasoning, revealing depth in taste.
■Type of Popular DASHI Soup Broth
Katsuobushi has a unique and robust flavor with rich umami, imparting depth and richness to dishes while adding a distinctive aroma.
Compared to bonito, tuna have a subtly sweet and refined flavor. The light broth from tuna does not compromise the original taste of the ingredients added to it.
It has a distinctive umami and is widely used in simmered dishes and as a base for broth. Its aromatic qualities contribute depth and flavor to many Japanese dishes.
It has a distinctive oxidized aroma from the oil of sardines, with a slight bitterness and astringency. However, it results in a robust and flavorful broth with a rich umami taste.
Flying Fish (Ago)
"Ago" refers to the broth extracted from flying fish. It is characterized by its refined and refreshing sweetness with a deep flavor.
Kombu has a excellent aroma and a gentle umami. Its distinctive fragrance and mild flavor provide a pleasant depth to dishes.
DASHI serves as creating foundation of taste or UMAMI in Japanese cuisine. Without DASHI, the dish will not have depth or richness in taste. Especially, Bonito and Kelp are known as quality broth stock as well as their compatibility with variety of foods.
Let's think in a case of famous Japanese food, "Miso Soup".
A popular ingredients of Miso soup are following.
・Miso (soy bean paste)
・Tofu (soy bean curd)
Each above ingredients has characteristic taste and flavor. If we cook Miso soup with just water we can feel taste of each ingredients separately in mouth. DASHI will unify taste of each ingredients and create new taste and flavor. A simple dish like Miso soup will be upgraded by just changing water to DASHI soup.
Kezuribushi/Dried Fish Flakes
In order to use fish as soup stock, the fish will be dried and shaved in flake form with various thickness depending on usage.
Thin flakes are known as Hanakezuri or flowery flake because the flake look like flower petals. Thin flakes give us very clear and flavory DASHI soup that is necessary in Japanese cuisine. Very first DASHI soup made from thin flake are called "ICHIBAN DASHI" and used for kind of dishes emphasis rich flavor or aroma.
Thick flake give us very strong DASHI that has impact in taste. A famous dish is a dipping sauce of Soba (buckwheat) noodles. Buckwheat have characteristic flavor and it requires very strong sauce to go with it. DASHI soup to mix with the sauce have to be strong as well to keep the flavor without erased by sauce.
As we mentioned above, Bonito and Kelp are important DASHI ingredients in Japanese cuisines. Each ingredients give us quality DASHI soup, but when we mix them together it is said the taste and flavor will be multiply many times because of synergistic effect. This mixed dashi is a basic Japanese cuisine and used in many dishes.
Alternative Form of DASHI Stock Powder, Packet and Liquid
Because of its handiness powder DASHI have been widely used among many Japanese cuisine funs. Reasonable price is attractive point as well. However, it is an artificial flavor. We want to chose products carefully by checking amount of additive substance of MSG in the products.
DASHI Broth Packets
DASHI broth packets is very smart product. There are difference in manufacturer, but most of the pack contains fractured actual dried bonitoes or other fish and vegetables. It keeps flavor very close to real DASHI stock and reduce the trouble of filtering.
Liquid Seasoning / Tsuyu
"Tsuyu" is Japanese name of liquid seasoning that contains DASHI, soy sauce, and other ingredients. DASHI will serves as creating flavor and body of taste, soy sauce and other ingredients to seasoning food. By using TSUYU, we can create quality Japanese flavor easily.