Ichiban Dashi Stock (The First Brew) – Super simple and quick flavorful Japanese stock made with kelp (kombu) and katsuobushi that can be used as basic flavorful stock in many Asian dishes.
I have always obsessed with Japanese food, however, I have never really cooked much of Japanese cuisine here at home (other than sushi and few other dishes). I finally found this Everyday Harumi cookbook by Harumi Kurihara. I absolutely love this cookbook (I’m not paid to say this. I wish I am lol). I always found Japanese cooking a little intimidating. Probably because when I go to Japanese restaurant we always ordered sashimi lol. Sashimi is one of the thing I would not prepare on my own at home. Too much risk and I can’t guarantee we won’t get food-borne illness from that (not that it’s 100% safe out there too, but you know what I mean). This Everyday Harumi cookbook really showed me how easy and simple it is the everyday Japanese meal at home. Seriously, very simple.
The first thing that I feel that it’s the most fundamental and important ingredient in most of Japanese cooking is the dashi stock. Of course you can always get a store-bought instant dashi stock, however, making your own dashi stock is seriously simple. Easier than any stock I’ve ever prepared in my life so far.
WHAT IS DASHI?
Dashi stock in general, is basically built on these two main ingredients: kombu seaweed (dried kelp) and katsuobushi (dried fish flakes). The kombu seaweed helps to flavor the dashi stock. It looks like seaweed and it usually comes in big pieces and you can cut it to any size call for in the recipe. The seaweed itself is quite salty and so, it is often wiped with a damp cloth or lightly washed under cold running water. Katsuobushi are the shavings from a dried bonito fish. This also helps to flavor the dashi stock and other dishes.
WHAT IS ICHIBAN DASHI?
Harumi shared in her cookbook that many people who make their own dashi stock will make what is known as ichiban dashi (the first brew) and niban dashi (the second brew). The first is usually used when you need a pure dashi flavor and the second when it is mixed with other ingredients. This habit comes from days when the katsuobushi was rare and expensive, so could not be wasted.
Now that you know how to make your own dashi, you can make ahead and store them in the fridge and they come in handy when you need them.
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For baking/ kueh making: I highly encourage to weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.GRAMS TO CUPS CONVERSION (UNSIFTED)
- 4 cups water
- 2 x 4 inch pieces kombu seaweed - dried kelp
- 2 oz katsuobushi - dried fish flakes
- Put 4 cups water in a large saucepan. To remove any excess saltiness from the kombu, either quickly wash it under cold running water and then pat dry or wipe with a damp cloth. Add to the cooking water, leaving it to soak for 30 minutes
- Put the saucepan over high heat and remove the kombu just before the water comes to a boil. Add the katsuobushi, bring back to a boil, and then immediately turn off the heat
- Let it stand until all the flakes have sunk to the bottom of the saucepan
- Pour the mixture through a strainer lined with paper towel or cheese cloth, leave to cool, and keep the dashi stock in the refrigerator until ready to use. Do not discard the used katsuobushi if you want to make a niban dashi stock. The stock can keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator or freeze up to 1 month