Ichiban dashi (Japanese broth)
Makes 4 cups
Recipe from "The Japanese Kitchen" by Kimiko Barber.
1 piece dried kombu (kelp), postcard-size
4 cups water
3/4 ounce bonito flakes (about a handful)
Put the kombu with water in a saucepan. Heat gently and take out the kombu when it begins to float. When the water comes to a boil, take off the heat. Add the bonito flakes and let them settle at the bottom. Strain the broth through a fine strainer lined with paper towels.
Note: Dashi is a foundation of Japanese cooking, infusing sauces and broths with a savory and smoky umami flavor through a simple mix of kombu (kelp), katsuobushi (bonito shavings) and water.
"Ichiban dashi" or "first dashi" can be used for ponzu sauce, dipping sauce for soba, udon noodle broths and more. "Niban dashi" or "second dashi" uses the leftover kombu and katsuobushi with fresh water to make a less- pronounced dashi that's typically used for miso soups.
For "niban dashi," add the used kombu and katsuobushi from your "first dashi" to 4 cups of fresh water. When the water comes to a boil, take off the heat. Remove kombu. Add 2 tablespoons cold water to "shock" the water. Add one handful of fresh katsuobushi and steep for 3 to 4 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer lined with paper towels or cheesecloth.
Use this mellower "second dashi" to mix with miso paste for making soup.