What goes in your best dashi?
February 10, 2014 2:13 PM   Subscribe

The standard dashi recipe (as far as I can tell) includes dried kombu and bonito flakes, and optional extras like dried shiitakes or dried sardines. What are your favorite ingredients/brands and sources for them?
posted by o2b to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Ajinmoto Hondashi is my fave. Amazon carries it.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:54 PM on February 10, 2014

It looks like you're in NYC. If you want to get really serious about dashi, you should go to the Mitsuwa store in New Jersey (there's a free shuttle from Port Authority). I don't have a particular brand to recommend, but the best bonito flakes will be large and not have visible dark purple bloodlines running through them. I don't think the kombu matters as much -- every kind I've tried has been the same, as far as I could tell.

If you want something a little different -- and potentially a little simpler -- it's worth looking into Korean sardine stock. Most Korean groceries will have these tea bag sort of things, filled with sardines, kombu, and sometimes bonito and dried shrimp. They're just as easy as the instant Ajinomoto stuff, but produce something much livelier-tasting. It's definitely not the same thing as from Japanese dashi -- less subtle, fishier and not as smokey -- but it makes an interesting substitute.
posted by neroli at 4:10 PM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really like using iron bound island kombu It's really tasty.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:58 PM on February 10, 2014

I love mushrooms so if you're not super into them you might ignore my advice, but to me it never tastes like homemade dashi unless there's dried shitake. It's a must, not an optional. But for the most part, dashi is supposed to be deliciously simple; getting fancy is for the next steps in cooking whatever you're cooking. For bonito it doesn't seem to make much difference to me in terms of brand, but the flakes that are larger and fresher are definitely better. I get only a small bag when I need them so I don't have them languishing in the pantry.
posted by Mizu at 7:23 PM on February 10, 2014

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