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    Thread: Dashi.

    1. #1
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      janedoe's Avatar
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      Dashi.

      My mother in law was from Japan. She loved miso soup and soba but she didn't know how to make dashi because she didn't know what the sea vegetable was called so she would eat at a friend's restaurant. There was something about her generation where women were extremely reluctant to pass along cooking information so as far as I can tell she never asked her friend how to make dashi which is the base for miso soup and soba noodle sauce. It would have been an admission of ignorance. My mother in law passed six years ago.

      So now we can just get online and find out what the ingredients are and order them from wherever. My mother in law's friend's restaurant shut down years ago and we recently discovered that our favorite Japanese restaurant was recycling the wasabi and ginger off of the sushi plates so we haven't gone back. Meanwhile, my husband really wants his miso soup and soba noodles. We bought soba sauce but it was really salty and nothing like what he was used to.

      I've taken it on to figure this stuff out.

      Dashi is made from kombu and bonito flakes. Kombu is a dried sea vegetable that looks thick seaweed. I bought a bunch online. The recipe I'm using says that it can get slimy if you actively boil it so the trick is to put water on a medium heat with a small piece of kombu and wait until it's just about to come to a boil, remove the kombu, bring the result to a boil, put in 1/2 cup of loosely packed bonito flakes (dried fish flakes) and boil that for a minute then remove it from the heat and let it steep for five minutes then strain.

      I have done this twice now with radically different results. The first gave me a really weak dashi that barely tasted like anything. After mixing in the soy sauce and mirin for the soba sauce, it gradually increased in flavor over the course of a week. The second batch has a lot of flavor, almost too much. Very bonito-y. I'm thinking that this has to do with the fact that the packages were open for about a week. I put them in Ziploc bags but the exposure to the air seems to have done the trick.

      Does anyone have any experience with making dashi? Suggestions?

    2. #2
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      kaialeena's Avatar
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      Sorry, I am of no help. Just wanted to say that I am impressed that you are making your own! I never made my own for Japanese noodles as I've always used the bases that they sell at the stores. Is there a way to try to contact the former owner of the restaurant?

    3. The Following User Says Thank You to kaialeena For This Useful Post:

      janedoe (03-22-2017)

    4. #3
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      The last we knew, she was having serious health issues and had passed the building along to her children who shut down the restaurant. Nobody lives there anymore. It's hard to explain that relationship. It was a competitive one that could get nasty but they were friends. Like a Housewives episode.

    5. #4
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      My husband wound up perfecting it but we discovered in the meantime that there's a dashi "tea bag" that is made in Japan and available on amazon. Completely authentic according to the reviews. Just got them in the mail. Easy peasy.

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