DASHI AtoZ 01:
what is dashi?

Writer: Yumiko Ishimaru

A bowl of miso soup prepared with dashi!出汁 だし
Although the cost would not be so much, for Japanese people, nothing can melt their hearts like it does…I expect that I am not the only one who thinks so.

There are two types of “dashi” for Japanese cuisine. One is made from dried konbu (a kind of kelp), dried shiitake mushroom, roasted soybeans and kanpyo (dried strips of gourd shavings). The other is prepared with konbu and dried bonito flakes or dried tuna flakes. There are dashi using dried tuna flakes and dried mackerel flakes, as well. They are usually used in different dishes. Different type of dashi are used according to the locality, food culture and historical background.

What is “Dashi”, then?
“Dashi” is an “Umami” extracted from natural materials. Or, an expression of extracted soup might make it easier to imagine what it is. And, dashi is used not only for Japanese cuisine.
Western bouillon, fond, brodo and Chinese broth (tang), they all use dashi. They are friends of dashi.

Among them, the “dashi” used for Japanese cuisine is the most flavorful. It is not like 1 + 1 = 2 but rather 7 or 8. The secret of the unique taste comes from the profound umami flavor.

Now let me see,
What is “Umami”?
To be continued…. Don’t miss the next one!