Dashi, the basic stock of Japan, is also one of the building blocks of Japanese cuisine. There are several different types, the most classic being dashi made with katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes) and kombu (dried kelp), which I’ve written about before. But if you don’t eat fish, there are still several stock options available for you, which are actually even easier to make. The most simple is kombu dashi, stock made by soaking kombu in water. Today I’m going to share another option with you—kombu shiitake dashi, stock made by soaking kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms in water. I use filtered water, because hard water affects the flavor of dashi, and why go to the trouble of making it, just to ruin it with water that is too hard?
Soaking. It’s really that simple. You decide how much dashi you need—I’ve written out the recipe to be for 2 cups, but you can easily multiply that to make more. Then you gather your ingredients and put them all into a glass jar, cover the jar, and set it out on the counter, or in the refrigerator to soak. If you do it on the counter, at room temperature, it is quicker. The advantage of doing it in the refrigerator, however, is that you can stick your jar in at night before you go to bed and your stock will be ready and waiting for you to use it in the morning!
When you are done soaking, you remove the shiitake mushrooms and kombu, then strain the dashi through a fine-mesh strainer, or strainer lined with three layers of cheese cloth, into a clean container for storage, and refrigerate your dashi until you are ready to use it!
Kombu Shiitake Dashi (Kelp & Shiitake Mushroom Stock)
A Japanese stock made with kombu (dried kelp) and dried shiitake mushrooms. This stock can be made quickly, but is best when the ingredients are given more soaking time.
- 2 cups filtered water
- 3 small, dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 piece kombu (dried kelp), about 2-inches long
Place the water, mushrooms, and kombu in a glass jar, cover the jar, and soak at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, preferably for 1 to 4 hours. You can also soak everything in the refrigerator---soak for a minimum of 4 hours up to 12 hours.
After soaking, remove the mushrooms and kombu and set them aside for use in another recipe, or discard them.
Pour the dashi (stock) through a fine-mesh strainer, or a strainer lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth, into a clean container, to remove any debris that may have settled at the bottom of the jar.
Pour the dashi back into the jar and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. This dashi can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.