Katsuo Dashi Powder

What is it?

Dashi is a stock made from either katsuo (a type of tuna) or kombu (kelp). Because it is the base of almost all Japanese dishes, from soups to sauces to simmering stocks, this is an item you should always have on hand.

How do I use it?

You can make it from scratch, but the easiest and most commonly used dashi comes in powdered form. Simply add the powder to hot water. Brands vary, but as a general rule of thumb, use a ½ tsp of dashi powder for every 1 cup of water.

What should I buy?

Both katsuo (fish) and kombu (kelp) dashi are available in powdered form, but double-check the ingredients list if you are looking for a vegetarian broth, as most boxes labelled kombu dashi include a blend of katsuo and kombu. Also read the ingredients lists carefully if you are looking for MSG-free varieties.

To make katsuo dashi from scratch, soak roughly a cup of katsuobushi (shaved bonito flakes) in 4 cups of freshly boiled water for at least 10 minutes (you can even do it overnight) and then strain. Or make a vegan dashi by gently wiping a 5cm piece of dried dashi kombu with moistened towel to remove excess salt, putting it in water, and slowly bringing it to a boil. Remove the kombu when the water starts boiling to prevent it from becoming slimy.

Powdered dashi also comes in a glass jar

Dashi Kombu - dried kelp

Katsuobushi - Dried bonito flakes

Storage: Keep powders and other dashi stock ingredients tightly sealed or capped in a cool, dark place.