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I am ignorant of Japanese cuisine but recently have started to explore Japanese cooking, and I am interested in learning to prepare dashi, having very much enjoyed soup made from freeze dried packets.

 

I have read Shizuo Tsuji's Japanese Cooking a Simple Art, and am reading The Complete Book of Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko and The Joy of Japanese Cooking by Kuwako Takahashi.

 

The primary impediment is that I have no local source of katsuo-bushi, nor even bags of shaved bonito.  Is it practical to shave katsuo-bushi at home?  Or would I be getting in over my head?  Are there any particular brands or products that I should look for?

 

Since I have an Anova as well as a chamber vacuum sealer, the blog entry mentioned by mkayahara in post #93 sounds quite interesting but unfortunately the link seems to be private.

 

Thanks for any help.

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I think old-school traditional cooks shaved their own fish for soup. A Japanese friend of mine reminisced about pinching shavings as her mum shaved fish for her daily stock. I don't think it would be any worse than grating anything else for a stock, although I guess you'd need a good source for your fish. I can imagine that once you have some, it would keep for a while. And good dashi is certainly worth it, although if you are going to go to the trouble, I would suggest trying to source a nice miso as well. I had some truly beautiful miso soups in Japan that are unmatched by anything I have had outside of Japan, no doubt due to the quality of the miso and the dashi. 

 

I can't remember exactly, but I feel there is a special shaver/grater for the bonito.

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Since I have an Anova as well as a chamber vacuum sealer, the blog entry mentioned by mkayahara in post #93 sounds quite interesting but unfortunately the link seems to be private.

The domain name has changed since I posted that link. The updated location is here: http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/01/19/umami-nation-kombu-dashi-smackdown/

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Thanks!  I didn't realize the link was to Dave Arnold...it figures.

 

Meanwhile, I have ordered a block of bonito and a grater.

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I received my bonito and grater from Japan this afternoon.  The grater is beautiful. I trust the results will be so also.  I just love to touch and smell it (except for the sharp edge, of course).  So much to learn.

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Nihon Ichiban.  Not inexpensive, but good service and nice quality.  The maker of the katsuobushi is Tenpaku.

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I am in the middle of dinner preparations.  I prepared the seaweed according to Dave Arnold:  vacuum sealed and anovaed in distilled water, 1 hour at 65 deg C.  500 ml distilled half frozen water to more or less 7.5 gm seaweed.  Am about to open the bag and add the fresh shaved fish.  Not trusting myself to something that looked like an ancient samurai weapon, I wore extra large foodservice gloves over Kevlar.

 

The smell of fresh shaved katsuobushi is indescribable!

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My dashi turned out wonderfully!  Even if the liquid did not quite capture the full essence of the fresh shaved katsuobushi.  The broth was so good.

 

 

Edit:  after bringing to the boil, before adding the katsuobushi, I added two ounces of cold Gerolsteiner for flavor.


Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)

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I have a question regarding Dashi and wondering if anyone could help me please? I made Miso soup yesterday and i think it came out ok but i had a few issues with my Dashi.  I wanted the Dashi to be vegetarian, so deliberately left out the Bonito flakes but my main problem was obtaining kelp or kanbu locally.  For my Dashi, i replaced the kelp with Nori.  I think this was ok but this was the first time i have tried Miso soup so have nothing to reference the taste against.  Strangely enough, my local supermarket sells fresh Samphire (another type of seaweed), would i have been better to substitute that for the Kelp.  Here is the video i made of my (vegan) Miso Soup:

 

http://youtu.be/KnF0DNXa3Jk


Edited by Chelseabun (log)

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Nori and konbu are entirely different - the taste is not remotely close, I'm afraid. You might try ordering some from Japan Centre

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Nori and konbu are entirely different - the taste is not remotely close, I'm afraid. You might try ordering some from Japan Centre

Have you tried making dashi from other seaweeds?  From my experiement, the dashi seemed to be subtle compared to the miso paste that was then added.  The Wikipedia entry on Dash mentions 'Shitake Dashi'.  Do you know what this is used for and could it have been a better substitute for my Miso soup?


Edited by Chelseabun (log)

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Chelseabun, have a look at these articles:

 

http://www.justhungry.com/vegetarian-dashi-japanese-stock

http://www.justhungry.com/2003/11/japanese_basics.html

http://www.justhungry.com/2007/01/seaweed_hijiki_wakame_kombu_no.html

 

From the second linked article above you can also easily cross over to this:

http://www.justhungry.com/handbook/cooking-courses/japanese-cooking-101-lesson-1-its-all-about-dashi

and from that one to this:

http://www.justhungry.com/handbook/cooking-courses/japanese-cooking-101-lesson-1a-making-miso-soup-clear-soup

 

For myself, miso soup is not miso soup without wakame.

 

Is there a decent Japanese restaurant near you where you could sample some miso soup?

 

BTW, from the same site here's a primer on miso:

http://www.justhungry.com/handbook/just-hungry-reference-handbooks/japanese-miso-primer

The quality and variety of the miso affects the characteristics of the miso soup you make. 

I myself never make it with akamiso.  I almost always use shiromiso.  Just personal preferences.  However, akamiso is nice in some heartier dishes like some forms of nabe or braises or stews and whatnot (sometimes mixed w/ shiromiso in varying proportions depending on what is being made).

 

P.s. Konbu from Japan Centre, London.  This answer set includes the konbu sheets as well as packs of already-made konbu-only dashi stock.

 

P.p.s. I myself would not use glasswort (samphire) to make miso soup, not for my tastes anyway.  I'm sure it would make a nice stock but I'd call the soups made with it by other names.


Edited by huiray (log)

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Have you tried making dashi from other seaweeds?  From my experiement, the dashi seemed to be subtle compared to the miso paste that was then added.  The Wikipedia entry on Dash mentions 'Shitake Dashi'.  Do you know what this is used for and could it have been a better substitute for my Miso soup?

 

Shiitake dashi is konbu plus shiitake. Really, there is no substitute for konbu, sorry to say.

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Chelseabun, have a look at these articles:

 

http://www.justhungry.com/vegetarian-dashi-japanese-stock

http://www.justhungry.com/2003/11/japanese_basics.html

http://www.justhungry.com/2007/01/seaweed_hijiki_wakame_kombu_no.html

 

From the second linked article above you can also easily cross over to this:

http://www.justhungry.com/handbook/cooking-courses/japanese-cooking-101-lesson-1-its-all-about-dashi

and from that one to this:

http://www.justhungry.com/handbook/cooking-courses/japanese-cooking-101-lesson-1a-making-miso-soup-clear-soup

 

For myself, miso soup is not miso soup without wakame.

 

Is there a decent Japanese restaurant near you where you could sample some miso soup?

 

BTW, from the same site here's a primer on miso:

http://www.justhungry.com/handbook/just-hungry-reference-handbooks/japanese-miso-primer

The quality and variety of the miso affects the characteristics of the miso soup you make. 

I myself never make it with akamiso.  I almost always use shiromiso.  Just personal preferences.  However, akamiso is nice in some heartier dishes like some forms of nabe or braises or stews and whatnot (sometimes mixed w/ shiromiso in varying proportions depending on what is being made).

 

P.s. Konbu from Japan Centre, London.  This answer set includes the konbu sheets as well as packs of already-made konbu-only dashi stock.

 

P.p.s. I myself would not use glasswort (samphire) to make miso soup, not for my tastes anyway.  I'm sure it would make a nice stock but I'd call the soups made with it by other names.

 

Many thanks.  These are great links. I now understand.  My konbu is on order (since last week) and is the wel-pac konbu (also sold by the Japan Centre) but it my take some time to arrive.  I tried an Asian supermarket earlier today.  I was able to buy some Wakame (ready for when my Konbu finally arrives). They also sold the dried Bonito flakes but i am wanting vegetarian dashi only.  For the same reason, i might not have any luck with Miso soup in Japanese restaurants (containing fish). 

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On ‎1‎/‎20‎/‎2010 at 11:31 AM, mkayahara said:

In particular, I just read this blog post comparing different methods of making kombu dashi. The verdict: the best-flavoured dashi was made from 10 g/l of ma kombu, sealed in a vacuum bag and heated at 65C in an immersion circulator for 1 hour. I don't know what you're supposed to do if you don't have a chamber vacuum sealer or an immersion circulator. :hmmm:

Also, I recently read that the glutamic acid in kombu is best extracted in water that has less than 60 ppm of calcium. (I believe Hiroyuki mentioned this before, too, either here or on his blog.) We have very hard water where I live, and I've recently made dashi with both tap water and bottled, de-mineralized water. The dashi made with bottled water was markedly superior. I feel bad buying bottled water, but you can't argue with the results!

 

 

I admit I have not made dashi in quite some while.  I sort of stopped when I ran out of distilled water.  The local water where I live is hard.  But today thanks to a recommendation from @rotutsI took delivery of some Hach water testing strips from amazon.  It turns out my Mavea filtered water measures somewhere around 25-50 ppm.  This should be OK for dashi I would think?

 

My katsuobushi was purchased four years and a day ago.  I trust katsuobushi doesn't really go bad in geologic time?

 

 

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14 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

My katsuobushi was purchased four years and a day ago.  I trust katsuobushi doesn't really go bad in geologic time?

 

I doesn't really. But it looses its flavor significantly. I would toss it and get a fresh batch; making dashi is too much effort to start with lousy raw materials and end up with an mediocre result (IMHO) ...

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6 minutes ago, Duvel said:

 

I doesn't really. But it looses its flavor significantly. I would toss it and get a fresh batch; making dashi is too much effort to start with lousy raw materials and end up with an mediocre result (IMHO) ...

 

Thanks.  I am too frugal to pitch it though.  I can't believe Katsuobushi loses all that much flavor until it is shaved.  I do note that the price on amazon is about half what I paid four years ago.

 

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39 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Thanks.  I am too frugal to pitch it though.  I can't believe Katsuobushi loses all that much flavor until it is shaved.  I do note that the price on amazon is about half what I paid four years ago.

 

Ok, if its just the solid chunk you might be better off ...

 

I usually but freshly shaved, so I was referring to that product. Good luck :biggrin:

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