Getting to Know Japanese Dashi Stock

As a military Man I have been to Japan and this sauce is one of the ones I make at home for my family. I just wish they would give you the proportions rather then just what is in it. The flavor changes with each ingredient so you have to decide what is right for you.


“Dashi is like the key actor in a movie,” says 83-year-old Chobei Yagi, whose 275-year-old store, Tokyo’s Yagicho Honten, specializes in katsuobushi and other dried foods. “But dashi always plays the supporting role, never the star.”

Most katsuobushi today comes pre-sliced in plastic bags, which is convenient and allows one to make dashi from scratch in less than 15 minutes, but there is another level of truly great katsuobushi — artisanal arabushi-style katsuobushi and the maturer karebushi- and hongarebushi-style katsuobushi. These are sold in thick blocks, with brown surfaces coated in sun-dried mold. They look more like works of art than food, and maybe they are.

Sonoko Sakai writing in the Los Angeles Times about the complex, umami-packed base known as dashi, which provides the foundation for so much Japanese cuisine. Sakai’s piece ran in January, 2012.

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Retired Lt. Comdr Navy

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