All About Japanese Dashi (Soup Stock)

Soba noodles in a dashi broth
Anthony-Masterson/Taxi/Getty Images

Dashi is Japanese stock, which becomes the base of many Japanese dishes, such as soup, dipping sauce, and nimono (simmered dishes).

Dashi Not a One-Trick Pony

Since dashi is often used in Japanese cooking, it's useful to know how to make it. There are different kinds of dashi.

It can be made from kombu (dried kelp), katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes), niboshi (dried small sardines), hoshi-shiitake (dried shiitake mushrooms), and more.

Kombu dashi and dried shiitake mushroom dashi are known as good vegetarian stocks.

It might take extra effort to make dashi, but good dashi makes your Japanese dishes taste much better.

How Dashi Is Used

The proportion of ingredients used to make dashi and how the resulting dashi is used can vary depending on one's preference.

  • Kombu Dashi: Used for clear soups, nabe (hot pot dishes) and more
  • Katsuo Dashi: Perfect for nimono (simmered dishes), clear soup, noodle soups and more
  • Kombu and Katsuobushi Dashi: Used to make clear soups, nimono, noodle soups and more
  • Niboshi Dashi: Ideal for miso soups, nimono and more
  • Hoshi-shiitake Dashi: Most frequently used to make nimono and others

Fresh Is Best

Japanese dashi is best used on the day it's made. If you have some leftover dashi, however, keep it in a covered container refrigerated for up to two days.

Dashi Powder

Instant dashi powder also is available at major grocery in the Asian aisle or from online specialty stores.

It's quick to use dashi powder to make dashi stock.

Usually, about 1 teaspoon of dashi powder is used for 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water. Follow the package instructions for exact proportions as it can vary by brand.