Hello there, funky friends!  It’s been a little while. Between opening a new concept- local friends, check out Halo Halo Snack Shack for Miami’s only authentic Asian shaved ice desserts; and waiting for my dear husband (who happens to be not just the executive chef at our restaurants but also our Funky Asian Kitchen photographer) to recover from knee replacement surgery….2023 has been quite a year already. But I’m happy to be back and I have so many exciting recipes to share with you- like the Dashi recipes we’re making today! Foundational to Japanese cuisine, dashi is used in dishes as diverse as hot pots, noodle dishes, stews, and of course as the stock for miso soup. There are several variations that are common in Japan, and I’m going to share three versions that I regularly enjoy.


dashi ingredients

Katsuobushi and Kombu Dashi

Kombu is essential to making dashi. In fact, all 3 of the dashi variations I am sharing today start by soaking the kombu in water to gently extract its deep umami flavor. I like to soak it for at least an hour, but overnight in the fridge is great too. One of the golden rules in Japanese cuisine, is to never let kombu boil. Why? Because it tends to get slimy and that will transfer to your broth. However, if you’re a rule breaker, you will find that after it’s been boiling for a little while, the slime kind of goes away.

Another lesser rule is to gently wipe down the kombu with a damp cloth before using. This one, I always ignore. The whitish cast on the kombu is not mold; it’s called mannitol and is perfectly natural. It’s a combination of sugar and salts that rises to the surface of the kelp as it dries and adds more umami to your dishes- so really why bother? So rule follower, rule breaker, I’ll let you decide. In the recipes below, I’m following the established principles to give you some guidelines.

Katsuobushi, a dried smoked tuna that is then shaved, is 100% worth seeking out. It’s used in a ton of dishes as a topping/flavoring, stores easily in the pantry, and lasts virtually forever (although really old katsuobushi may lose some of its flavor over time). Japanese cuisine is subtle, relying on seasonality and fresh products above all else. Katsuobushi is one of those ingredients that really lends itself to highlighting those qualities, working in the background, quietly adding some depth, flavor, and light smokiness. You will be amazed at how just these two ingredients create such a complex broth that tastes like it’s been simmered for hours.

Once your water comes to a simmer, make sure to turn off the heat before adding the katsuobushi. Otherwise, the stock will be cloudy and almost slightly bitter. As the bonito flakes steep, they will sink slowly to the bottom of your pot. There’s no need to stir/mix it. Just let it be ;) Strain your dashi through a sieve to use immediately or store in the fridge. You can also freeze it for convenience.

dashi sieve

Anchovy and Kombu Dashi

This next dashi has a bolder fish flavor, though not overpowering. Typically in Japan, it is made with small dried anchovies known as iriko. Personally, I prefer to follow the Korean lead and use some of the bigger ones. Anchovy stock is used regularly in Korean cusine and it pairs well with the assertive, robust flavors of their food. If you’re using the small anchovies, you can use them as is, but if the jumbos are what you have, you’ll want to remove the head and guts. Although it may seem a little tedious, you’ll get a less fishy product that’s also less bitter and more versatile to use. The photo below shows both sizes which you can easily find in most Asian stores.

Removing the heads and gutting the fish is easy to do and requires just a couple minutes. Once you pinch off the heads, put your fingers at the throat area. Pull the hard black guts out (they will come out as 1 hard piece) and continue cleaning the rest of the anchovies.


strain out fish

This stock will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. Like all stocks, this freezes well if you would like to store some in the freezer.

Shiitake Mushroom Dashi

There aren’t a lot of hardcore vegetarians in Japan. Most people, even those that eat a largely plant based diet, do occasionally eat seafood. But it’s nice to have a vegetarian dashi to add savory oomph if you are avoiding meat. I use dried shiitake mushrooms for the deepest flavor. Once again I start by soaking the kombu, but I add the dried mushrooms too. Place a little dish on top to make sure they are fully submerged. Let that soak for at least an hour, or up to overnight in the fridge.

I prefer not to simmer the mushrooms. Instead, as soon as the water almost comes to a simmer, I turn off the heat and let the mushrooms steep in the very hot liquid. This technique gives me a light flavorful liquid but not one that’s going to overpower a dish with mushroom flavor. If you love mushroom flavor and can’t get enough, go ahead and gently simmer it instead of just steeping.

Like the other 2 dashi, this one will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and also freezes well.

If you’re wondering what to do with the stuff you’ve strained out of the stock, you can definitely save the Kombu and the shiitake mushrooms for another purpose. For the anchovies and katsuobushi, I keep them as a treat for our dog Mina. If you have a 4-legged family member, they would love a couple tablespoons mixed into their meals. You can also try your hand at furikake for a 2-legged family treat.

Now that you have mastered 3 different dashi, the possibilities for them are endless. Try one in my Egg Soufflé for an elegant but easy supper. Replace this homemade dashi for the dashi powder/water combo in the Cold Soba. Use the shiitake version to make Chikuzen, Japan’s famed braised chicken. Or try the anchovy dashi in Tteokbokki or  Oden Stew. And of course they will make an excellent egg drop or miso soup. Having these flavorful stocks on hand will up your kitchen game exponentially. Try one, or all 3, and let me know what you think! Tag us on insta @funkyasiankitchen or leave us a comment here; we love hearing from you.


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recipe dashi

Dashi (3 ways)

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: Japanese



Katsuobushi and Kombu Dashi

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups lightly packed katsuobushi (about 20 grams)
  • 2 pieces kombu the size of your hand (about 4”x6”)

Anchovy and Kombu Dashi

  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup dried large anchovies (about 25 grams or 15 pieces)
  • 1 piece kombu the size of your hand (about 4”x6”)

Vegetarian Shiitake Mushroom and Kombu Dashi

  • 1 piece kombu the size of your hand (about 4”x6”)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms


To Make Katsuobushi/Kombu Dashi:

  1. Break the kombu into a couple of pieces and then soak the kombu in the water for at least 1 hour (or even overnight) in the fridge.*
  2. Pour the kelp water into a pot (save the kombu for a different purpose) and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. As soon as the liquid starts to simmer, add the katsuobushi and turn off the heat. Let the liquid steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain the dashi through a sieve and then use the stock immediately or transfer to the fridge or freeze. The stock keeps for 5 days in the fridge. 

To Make Anchovy and Kombu Dashi:

  1. Break the kombu into a couple of smaller pieces. Add it to the water and soak the kombu for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge. 
  2. Head and gut the sardines by breaking off the heads and then pinching out the guts which are hard and black. Discard the head and guts.
  3. Pull the kombu out and reserve for another use. Then put the anchovies in a pot with the soaking water. 
  4. Bring the pot to a simmer over high heat. Partially cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat to medium and continue to simmer for 15 mins and then strain out the sardines. Either discard or use the sardines in another dish (if you have pets, they love the cooked sardines). 
  5. Use the stock immediately or transfer to the fridge or freeze. The stock keeps for 5 days in the fridge. You can substitute 2 cups of katsuobushi (about 2 cups or 20 grams for the iriko)

To Make Vegetarian Shiitake Mushroom and Kombu Dashi:

  1. Break the kombu into a couple of smaller pieces. Put the kombu in a container with the water. Wipe off the mushrooms and then soak the mushrooms with the kombu. You can put a bowl on top of the mushrooms to keep them submerged. Soak for at least an hour or even overnight. 
  2. Strain out the kombu and then put the mushrooms and soaking water in a pot. Bring the pot to a bare simmer and then turn off the heat. Let the mushrooms sit in the cooling pot for 10 minutes. 
  3. Squeeze the mushrooms to extract as much liquid as you can and reserve the mushrooms for another purpose. Use immediately or transfer to the fridge or freeze. The stock keeps for 5 days in the fridge.


*kombu becomes a little slimy when heated but if you are in a rush and do not have time for a long soak, put the kombu in a pot with the water and gently heat it on very low heat for 10 minutes before continuing.

Keywords: dashi, stock, japanese, miso, dried fish, dried anchovy, iriko, shiitake, kombu, vegetarian, awase

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