Homemade Vegetarian Dashi!

Dashi is a basic, fundamental, ubiquitous stock used in Japanese cooking. Traditionally, it’s made with bonito (fermented fish) and kombu, a sea kelp. But as a vegetarian, I use sea kelp and dried mushroom which packs both nutritional power and umami flavor. You can also just use dried mushroom or just kelp. A small piece of kelp goes a long way, so don’t use too much.

This broth is absolutely delicious with a deep, rich, and clean flavor and it can be used not only in Japanese cooking, but in any cuisine. Sometimes, I even add a small onion, which gives the dashi a natural sweetness.

You really don’t need a recipe for dashi. In addition to a small kelp, you can add as much or little of the dried mushroom. It doesn’t have to be exact. Sometimes, if I’m out of dried mushroom, I’ll just use kelp and/or some onions, or just use mushrooms. Also, any vegetarian broth can be used in place of dashi.

You can easily double or triple this recipe and keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator for weeks or freeze it for future use. It’s very convenient. When you have stock, you can prep an easy, quick, and yummy meal in a flash.

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients
8 cups water
¾ to 1 cup dried mushrooms, preferably shiitake and organic
1 small dried kelp

Directions
In a medium or large pot, place water, kelp, and/or dried mushroom and bring it to boil on high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
Let it cool off the heat. Drain the stock using a colander into an air tight container and place it in the refrigerator, or keep the kelp and mushroom in the stock so it can release more flavor with time.

Note:
You can also make a second batch and save money and time.
I place the kelp and mushroom back into the pot, add more water and bring to boil and simmer as before. The second bath is not as deep in flavor, but just as good as broth and better than plain water in cooking.
And it doesn’t end there. I also use the leftover mushroom and/or kelp (sliced) and either mix it with seasoning to make a side dish, or add it to my rice or soup, or even stir fry. So, there’s absolutely no waste. I stretch my dollar, save money, time, and increase my food stock. Woohoo!

 

Try the homemade dashi in my Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce!