Prep 5 mins
Cook 15 mins
If you eat at a Japanese restaurant, you will probably be served miso soup to start your meal. At its base is dashi, a simple soup stock flavored with kelp and dried bonita flakes (a type of tuna). Ichiban dashi is fundamental to Japanese cooking. Ichiban means "first" in Japanese and Ichiban dashi is the stock that results from the first brewing of the ingredients. It's used in clear soups. The first dashi can then be used again, adding more kelp for a second brewed stock that is considered a less refined version of Ichiban dashi. Miso, a salty, fermented paste made of soybeans, is also added. One of the few different varietied of miso available, we've chosen sweet white miso for this recipe. It's less salty than other types. From the Take-Out Menu Cookbook.
- 4 (6 inch) squares kombu (dried kelp)
- 1 cup bonito flakes (kasuobushi)
- 2 tablespoons instant wakame seaweed (sea vegetables)
- 5 tablespoons sweet white miso
- 1⁄2 lb firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1⁄4 cup chopped green onion
- To make the dashi: Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a saucepan.
- Wipe the surface of the kombu with a slightly damp kitchen towel, removing dirt and sand. Combine the kombu and 6 cups water in a pot over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Do not boil, as the kombu can become slimy and unpleasant.
- Remove the kombu once it has risen to the surface. Immediately add the katsuobushi. After 10 seconds, remove the pot from the heat and skim off any foam. When the katsuobushi sinks to the bottom of the pot, pour the mixture through the cheesecloth into the saucepan.
- To make miso soup: Soak the wakame in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Bring 4 cups of the dashi to a boil over medium-high heat. Reserve the rest of the dashi for later use. Lower the heat, add the miso paste, and stir to dissolve. Add the tofu and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the green onion and wakame. Serve hot.
- Make ahead: Dashi can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.