Winter 2003

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Dried kelp and bonito flakes, briefly simmered, create a delicate amber broth called "first" or "primary" dashi, the basis for most clear soups in Japan. For "second" dashi, the kelp and bonito are added to a new pot of water (like a used tea bag), making a weaker stock to be used in boldly seasoned dishes like miso soup. Although instant dashi granules and bottles of concentrated dashi are timesaving substitutes, the taste is less subtle and refined than dashi made from scratch.

"Hi this is great. But when I went to my Asian supplier they suggested using flakes. I have 3g in 5 packs. But I have a recipe that calls for a 1/4 cup of dashi granules in 375 mils of water (after soaking dried shitake). Can you tell me...

Makes: About 5 cups

Active Time:

Total Time:


  1. Place 6 cups water in a large saucepan over high heat. Add kelp and bring to a boil. Immediately remove kelp with tongs (if it boils it can turn the broth bitter), reserving it for Second Dashi.
  2. Add the remaining 1/2 cup cold water (to cool the broth), then add bonito flakes. Return to a boil, then immediately turn off heat (if boiled, bonito can also turn the broth bitter). Let the broth rest for 2 minutes, then pour through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, making sure to avoid pressing down on the solids (which will turn dashi cloudy). Save the used fish flakes for Second Dashi. For Second Dashi: Place reserved kelp and bonito flakes with 8 cups cold water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, pressing down on solids before discarding them. Makes about 6 cups.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Per cup: 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 140 mg sodium; 0 mg potassium.

Nutrition Note: There is no nutrient analysis for this broth because, although rich in flavor, it has negligible calories and nutrients except sodium (140 mg per cup).

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Recipe Categories

Type of Dish
Ease of Preparation
Total Time
15 minutes or less
Main Ingredient
Health & Diet Considerations
High calcium
High potassium
Gluten free

Winter 2003
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