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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vegan Dashi

I began making dashi because we missed having soups when out at Japanese restaurants. This is a real problem since fish, usually as bonito, shows up in so many stock bases. We'd even found out, after assuring other friends it was alright, that a once-favorite local restaurant had been serving us soup with bonito extract in it! I'd been using a recipe from the mighty VegWeb, but since I've made several variations, I thought I'd post what I'm really doing.

The Stuff:
  • Kombu, at least 6 inches worth
  • 4 large, dried, whole shitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 t of wakame (just use a teaspoon to scoop out a big pinch worth, OK if it is a very rounded teaspoon!)
  • 2 T of sake (use something decent that you can enjoy with dinner later. We like Sayuri a lot)
  • 3 T of mirin
  • 2 T shoyu or tamari

The Making:

Cut the kombu lengthwise, about 2/3 the way up. In a small stock pot add the cut kombu and dried shitakes. Let these steep at room temperature for at least 1 hour, more is OK.

Remove kombu and shitakes, making sure to squeeze mushrooms to get out liquid. Add the remaining ingredients and put pot onto medium high heat. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim off the wakame and either use dashi immediately or store in fridge for up to a week. This also freezes really well.

Note: The steeped kombu and shitakes can be used again!
  • We actually don't care for mushrooms much at all, except in stocks, so we compost the shitakes after steeping. Feel free to slice them up to add to soups.
  • The kombu can be used in a kind of Japanese, fresh pickle. It is often sliced into small, thin pieces and marinated in some shoyu, rice vinegar and sesame seeds. This can be a nice kind of condiment to noodles or soup.
Yes, this IS the dashi I use for the miso udon stew already posted to this site!

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