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Ichiban Dashi

A full-strength stock made of kombu seaweed and katsuobushi (dried, shaved bonito flakes). Use it as a soup or sauce base for a strong umami flavor.

Yield: 1 quart


3” long piece of kombu (~2” wide)

15 grams bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

4 cups water

Add the kombu to a saucepan filled with 4 cups of cold water. Let the kombu steep for 15 minutes. Leave the kombu in the water and bring almost to a boil. Remove kombu. Add 15 grams of bonito. Return to a boil for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Use a skimmer spoon or strainer to remove the bonito flakes. Set aside.

Use dashi immediately in soup or sauce. Or store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or freeze for later use.

Niban, or Secondary Dashi

There is still plenty of flavor in the kombu and bonito from the ichiban dashi. You can also add dried shiitake mushrooms for an added layer of complexity.

Add the used kombu and bonito to 4 new cups of water. Bring to a simmer and hold for 5 minutes. Add a pinch of additional bonito to boost the flavor. Turn off the heat. Let stand until the bonito settles to the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Strain. Use the liquid as a stock base to add subtle umami flavor.


  • Chop the used kombu into strips and add to soups or stews.

  • Heat the used bonito in a dry pan, add a dash of soy sauce, mirin, and sake to create a savory rice topping.

Recipes adapted from Japanese Home Cooking by Sonoko Sakai, Everyday Harumi by Harrumi Kurihara, and Donabe by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton. Photo by Devon Lee.


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