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.