When used responsibly, dashi adds wonderful depth of flavor (thank you, natural glutamates!) without the overwhelming ocean flavor you’d expect. I particularly like Just One Cookbook‘s inclusion of dried shiitake mushrooms for extra umami.
For this simple dashi recipe, all you will need is kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms.
Soak your kombu and mushrooms in water for 30 minutes, then transfer everything to a pan. Allow the ingredients to steep more intensely by slowly bringing the mixture to a simmer. I try to drag this process out for at least 15 minutes. Before things get rolling, take off the heat and drain.
The first time I made this vegetarian dashi, I only strained it through a metal strainer as pictured. This left some scum at the top, kind of like ocean scum.
It didn’t bother me and didn’t seem to affect the flavor of the ramen I used it in, but I strained it through a finer material (paper towel) the next time. Actually, I strained it twice. Once to remove the scum, and a second time to remove the particles (as seen in the second pic below). Juuuust in case.
This was a solid recipe and a great intro to vegetarian dashi. Beware, though–it’s potent! Be sure to salt your dish after adding the dashi.
- 2 2" x 4" (folded) pieces kombu
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 3 cups water