Where a European stock recipe may involve bones or vegetables being simmered for hours to extract flavour, ichiban dashi relies on the umami-rich compounds in kombu seaweed and bonito flakes (katsuobushi), and is ready in minutes.
Ichiban dashi translates literally to “first stock” and it is one of the most fundamental components of Japanese cuisine. It is incredibly versatile and often used for soups, stews and simmering liquids.
- 10 cm square piece dried kombu
- 1.5 litres (6 cups) cold water
- 15 g bonito flakes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Wipe the kombu with a dry cloth to remove any dirt, but take care not to wipe away the white crystals sticking to the surface. Place the kombu and cold water in a saucepan over medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes, slowly bringing to a simmer. Remove the kombu when softened, and just before the water starts to simmer (if the kombu is boiled, the stock will become slightly bitter).
Increase the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Add the bonito flakes and boil for 2 seconds, then remove from the heat. Allow the bonito flakes to stand for about 2 minutes, until they sink to the base of the pan. Skim off any frothy scum that comes to the surface of the liquid, but do not stir, as this will make the stock cloudy.
Strain the stock through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or strong paper towel. Serve.
Makes 1.5 litres.