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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dashi Kombu (Japanese Kelp Broth)

Dashi Kombu (Japanese Kelp) 1

One of the ingredients I've been experimenting with in cooking Japanese food is dashi kombu (Japanese kelp).

I've been eating and enjoying seaweed forever. And like it wrapped in sushi, simply roasted, or as Canh Tao/Rong Bien (Vietnamese Seaweed Soup). Though my first two attempts with Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen and Shichimenchou (Japanese Turkey Bone) Ramen were OK, I knew my broth needed an extra oomph.

The best way I could describe using kelp in soup stock is that it provides a natural savoriness without overpowering the broth.

Combine the kelp with shaved bonito flakes and you have the quintessential Japanese stock for ramen, miso soup, udon, or any other soups. Sometimes I add tiny dried anchovies too, but the kelp and bonito flakes are musts.

A little goes a long way. About a 3-inch square piece of kelp is enough to flavor a 5-quart stock pot.

Dashi Kombu (Japanese Kelp) 2

Sometimes though, I don't have time to simmer and create a proper stock. In which case, I cheat with Ajinomoto Hon-Dashi, bonito fish soup stock. Tony of Sinosoul introduced me to this instant stock which dissolves almost instantly and gives a flavorful, smoky taste to any broth. Think of it as bouillon for Japanese soups. I use about 1 tsp Hon-Dashi granules per 1 quart of water.

Dashi Kombu (Japanese Kelp) 3

Hon-Dashi is sold in individual packets or one large 5-oz package for about $5 at the Asian grocery store or a little more via Amazon.

Other pantry ingredients can be found in Peek in My Kitchen.

1 year ago today, Jones Coffee Roasters - Pasadena.
2 years ago today, Thit Bo Kho Mang (Vietnamese Braised Beef with Bamboo Shoots).
3 years ago today, Grapevine Mediterranean Cuisine - La Verne (Closed).
4 years ago today, dangling strings and finishing up some quilt projects.


  1. Boy, it seems like I've been overdoing it with the dashi kombu! I didn't realise how little was needed and have been using WAY more. Trouble is, I'm one of those 'weak tasters' - those who need strong tasting foods since mild flavours taste almost non-existent to me. I've always used lots of spices and herbs in my cooking and really prefer foods with flavours that friends find overpowering. I wonder if others have used larger amounts of the kelp or if only me?


  2. Jude,
    Dashi Kombu is really subtle, so more is fine. I use a whole sheet when I make ramen stock that I simmer for hours. It just depends on what I'm making and what flavors I'm trying to achieve. Everyone's tastebuds are different so that's the fun of experimenting.


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