Updated: Mar 11, 2022
What is dashi?? How do you make dashi? Are there any health benefits in consuming dashi??
In this blog & video, I will answer all sorts of questions about DASHI!
Topics 1: Introducing 4 different kinds of DASHI 2: Health benefits of DASHI 3: How you can make DASHI easily, quickly and realistically 4: Delicious recipes that use DASHI as a major component
<INTRODUCING 4 DIFFERENT KINDS OF DASHI>
1. KOMBU DASHI(昆布出汁）
Kombu is the type of kelp. 90% of the kelp we have in Japan is actually produced in Hokkaido since kelp only grows at low temperatures in the ocean.
The flavor is quite delicate, so I usually pair it with lots of vegetables for boosting up the flavor.
2. KATSUO DASHI（かつお出汁）
Katsuo is a bonito fish in English. We eat it as sashimi when it’s fresh. Katsuo has a very strong fishy flavor and thus will make a soup very flavorful.
Katsuo has been smoked, dried, then shaved into thin slices, finally becoming katsuobushi. Katsuobushi is the ingredient we are using to make katsuo-dashi.
Without these time-consuming steps done by professionals, we won’t be able to enjoy this beautiful katsuo-dashi at home. That's the beauty of Japanese ingredients. There is always someone's effort behind them. I'm very appreciated of this.
3. AWASE DASHI (合わせ出汁）
Awase literally means combining in Japanese. Awase-dashi is the combination of kombu seaweed and bonito flakes. Kombu has glutamic acid and bonito flakes has inosinic acid. They are both categorized as UMAMI elements. UMAMI is the fifth taste sensation. When these two are combined together, the UMAMI taste will go up 7~8 times greater than used alone due to a synergistic effect.
4. NIBOSHI DASHI(煮干し出汁）
NIboshi are small dried sardines. Niboshi are slightly fishy but more budget- friendly than bonito flakes and kelp. I sometime use them in miso soup, but mostly for making Ramen or whenever I want to enrich the taste of the dish.
5. HOSHI-SHIITAKE DASHI (干し椎茸出汁）
Hoshi shiitake is dried shiitake mushrooms. I usually pair them with kombu- dashi to make plant based soup stock. My kids doesn't like shiitake mushrooms themselves but they love this soup somehow.
I’m showing how to make each dashi in my video, so please go to my YouTube channel!!
<HEALTH BENEFITS OF DASHI>
There are two benefits based on what I have studied and experienced.
1. You can reduce the amount of oil & sugar used by consuming more dashi.
There are 3 taste elements which people can be biologically addicted to:
SUGAR, OIL and UMAMI.
Dashi is packed with umami flavors from fish, seaweed and vegetables. If you start to enjoy more umami flavors, you will naturally crave less sugar and oil products. It's been said that if you introduce the UMAMI taste to your baby before turning 3 years old, the baby will pick up the umami taste more than those who haven’t been introduced. It means there is a better chance to reduce the amount of sugar and oil in their eating habits because umami is as addictive as sugar and oil to human beings.
2. It gives you better opportunities to stick to the ideal nutritionally balanced diets.
When I make Japanese food, the first thing that comes in my mind is what can go along with a bowl of rice and soup. When I make something to go along with the bowl of rice and soup, I usually use less oil. Instead of sautéing my food with butter, I just steam and boil. Moreover, I usually make a main dish + 2 side dishes using different proteins and vegetables. Each take no time to make but result in a well balanced meal.
<HOW YOU CAN IMPLEMENT DASHI MAKING INTO YOUR DAILY HABITS WITHOUT MUCH EFFORT?>
To be honest, I don't make dashi from scratch every single day. However, I don't use dashi powder since the flavor is quite different than the one made from scratch. Then, HOW do I cook dashi???
The answer is a dashi packet .
Inside of a dashi packet, there can be chunks of bonito fish, kombu, shiitake mushrooms and dried sardines. What is inside varies depending on the product you are using.
How do you make DASHI with a dashi packet?
All you have to do is put a dashi packet into water and bring it to a boil.
Once you bring it to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 4-6 minutes depending on how strong you want the taste to be. The longer you simmer, the more flavor will come out.
Once done, shake your dashi packet to release more flavor and discard it from the soup. That’s it! You already have a beautiful dashi stock.
The reasons why I like dashi packets!
1. There are options for lots of different flavors. Other than bonito flakes and kelp, you can find packets with shiitake mushroom and kelp which are perfect for plant based cuisine.
2. You can easily find packets without additives and salt. I want to enjoy my food as natural as possible.
<RECIPES THAT CONTAIN DASHI>
Taking about myself, I used to skip meals all the time and then would substitute by eating snacks. I was especially craving sugar like chocolate and cookies. They were all so addictive and I couldn’t stop. It was OK because I was still very young. However after passing my mid 20’s, I start to feel bloated, heavy and had an overall lack of energy. Then I started to focus my attention on eating more traditional Japanese foods.
Since then, I’ve been making dashi stock plus eating fermented products everyday. It has become part of my life now. I feel energetic everyday and I haven’t seen the doctor in more than 10 years all while taking care of two crazy boys. Haha!
Remember, this is just one way of how I've maintain myself and helped my family to be healthy. Each of you have your own way of what works best for you.
I hope everyone will stay healthy and happy!
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