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Japanese Food
Dashi
Dashi (出汁, だし) - A class of soup and cooking stocks considered fundamental to Japanese cooking. Shizuo Tsuji (1980) wrote that "many substitutes for dashi are possible, but without dashi, dishes are merely a la japonaise and lack the authentic flavor." Dashi forms the base for miso soups, clear broth soups, Japanese noodle broths, and many Japanese simmering liquids.

The most common form of dashi is a simple broth or stock made by boiling kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo, shavings of katsuobushi, and then straining the resultant liquid. Fresh dashi made from dried kelp and katsuobushi is rare today, even in Japan. Most people use granulated or liquid instant substitutes.

Other kinds of dashi stock are made by soaking kelp, shiitake, or niboshi in water for many hours or heating them in water nearly to boiling and straining the resultant broth. Kelp stock or kombu dashi is made by soaking kelp, or sea tangle, in water. Shiitake dashi stock is made by soaking dried shiitake mushrooms in water. Niboshi dashi stock is made by soaking small dried sardines (after pinching off their heads and entrails to prevent bitterness) in water.

In 1908, the unusual and strong flavor of kelp dashi was identified by Kikunae Ikeda as umami, the "fifth flavor", attributed to unique taste receptors responding to glutamic acid.

Information source: “Dashi.” wikipedia.org. Article date: 10 Dec. 2007. Retrieved: Wikipedia. 8 Feb. 2008 <Dashi>.

Video - The following is a how to make age dashi tofu, which is a recipe using dashi. The singing in the background is not in Japanese.
 
 

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