Dashi is elegantly simple yet incredibly important to Japanese cuisine. Literally translating to ‘broth’, dashi is full of umami goodness, which makes it both delicious alone and as an indispensable tool for layering and developing flavors in countless Japanese recipes. In fact, the distinct reaction of taste receptors with glutamate was first identified after slurping a bowl of dashi broth. Its ingredients happen to be full of naturally occurring, umami-rich glutamates, the flavors of which intensify as cooking progresses.
Traditionally, dashi can be made into two broths: ichiban dashi (“first broth”) and niban dashi (“second broth”). The former is a delicate, aromatic extraction that is served immediately, and the latter is a stronger extraction used for cooking. Ichiban dashi is made by soaking and then gently boiling kombu in water to extract the seaweed flavor. The addition of katsuobushi (aged, dried, and shaved bonito flakes) infuses the steeping broth with intense fish flavors. The broth is then strained and consumed. Niban dashi is made by recombining and cooking the leftover ingredients over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Our dashi recipe is equally as simple. We used The Porthole Infuser to create two delicious broths that also happen to be pleasing to the eyes. The flavors of these ingredients slowly infuse into the water, resulting in a richly flavored broth that can be heated and served as is or used in any recipe that calls for dashi.