Food Porn Format: Dashi and Kaeshi (Japanese Broth and Soup Base)


I love cold noodles in the summer. Basically you just take cooked noodles (ramen, udon, soba, somen or hiyamuhi, whatever your preference is) and run them in an ice bath for a few seconds, dry and serve. It’s absolutely refreshing and a great way to serve a meal in the heat of the summer.

Cold noodles are eaten differently though, while most people are used to the supermarket Top Ramen in in soup, cold noodles are dipped in sauces before they are eaten. I am in the process of making a soba noodle soup base but it takes time. So here is the recipe for two of its main ingredients before I give you the rest tomorrow.

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Kombu: Sea kelp

Dashi – Vegan/Vegetarian

Dashi is a stock that is essentially the base of much of Japanese cooking. It uses Kombu (sea kelp) and Bonito (dried fish flakes) to make the broth. I made a vegan variation here but will give you the recipe for both. The dashi I made uses the cold infusion method. I chose this method because I don’t want to do any more dishes today and won’t mind waiting 24 hours if it means I have less housework to do.

Ingredients

  • 13in/33cm Kombu (dried sea kelp) if you live in Detroit, Rocky Peanut Co. has it for sale.
  • Water, 8 cups

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Directions

  1. Take about 13 inches (33cm) of kombu and place it in a sealable jar or container.
  2. Fill the container with 8 cups of filtered/purified water
  3. Wait 24 hours

Traditional Dashi

Ingredients

  • 1-4 in kombu
  • Handful of Bonito
  • 8 cups of purified water

Directions

  1. Take about 1-4 inche’s (3-10cm) of kombu alone with the bonito flakes and place them in a sealable jar or container.
  2. Fill the container with 8 cups of filtered/purified water
  3. Wait 24 hours

Kaeshi

Kaeshi is a concentrated soup base that is used for cold-dipping on its own. When mixed with Dashi it creates a soba noodle sauce that I like to use for the same purpose. It is strictly sweet/salty because it’s only comprised of miren (japanese rice wine), sugar and a dark soy sauce. It keeps for a long time in the fridge since none of the ingredients here are perishable. When combined with the savory/umami flavors of dash broth, the sauce it amazing. This recipe makes about 6-7 cups of Kaeshi, you’ll always have some ready to go.

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Ingredients

  • ¾ cup Miren, Japanese rice wine
  • ¾ to 1 Cup Superfine Sugar
  • 4 ¼ Cups Soy Sauce

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Directions

  1. Heat the miren until it starts boiling
  2. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved
  3. Add the soy sauce and stir, do not allow it to boil and remove from heat as soon as it starts bubbling
  4. Allow to cool and store in the fridge
  5. To use: dip noodles into a small bowl of it, cold, and enjoy.

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Easy Read Version

Dashi

Ingredients

  • Kombu (dried sea kelp) if you live in Detroit, Rocky Peanut Co. has it for sale.
  • Water, 8 cups

Directions

  1. Take about 13 inches (33cm) of kombu and place it in a sealable jar or container.
  2. Fill the container with 8 cups of filtered/purified water
  3. Wait 24 hours

Traditional Dashi

Ingredients

  • 1-4 in kombu
  • Handful of Bonito
  • 8 cups of purified water

Directions

  1. Take about 1-4 inche’s (3-10cm) of kombu alone with the bonito flakes and place them in a sealable jar or container.
  2. Fill the container with 8 cups of filtered/purified water
  3. Wait 24 hours

Kaeshi

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup Miren, Japanese rice wine
  • ¾ to 1 Cup Superfine Sugar
  • 4 ¼ Cups Soy Sauce

Directions

  1. Heat the miren until it starts boiling
  2. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved
  3. Add the soy sauce and stir, do not allow it to boil and remove from heat as soon as it starts bubbling
  4. Allow to cool and store in the fridge
  5. To use: dip noodles into a small bowl of it, cold, and enjoy.
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3 thoughts on “Food Porn Format: Dashi and Kaeshi (Japanese Broth and Soup Base)

  1. Allison says:

    I’ve been wanting to try making homemade Ponzu, but this post just convinced me to try making my own Dashi first! Does the vegan version taste as good as with bonito?

    • jonkung says:

      Ooooooo Homemade Ponzu… if I can get the hookup for some yuzu, I’d totally give it a shot.

      About which one tastes better: Honestly, you can’t perfectly replicate bonito with more kombu. There is more kombu in the vegan version simply because more is needed to extract the umami flavor. Bonito, however, can’t be absolutely copied in this way. The vegan Dashi is very good but the traditional dash is bloody delicious.

      Even though I do consider myself an omnivore I will make a dish vegan almost 100% of the time if I’m cooking for myself. I also order vegan when I eat out when there is a good option available. But if I’m cooking for other meat-eaters and I know a dish tastes best with meat or dairy, I’ll use it. I like this system that I have, I feel I get the benefits of veganism without really thinking I’m losing out. And really, I don’t crave meat or dairy, ever. I just don’t allow situations to get difficult or awkward when I’m around other people. Life is too short to be stressing out over food.

      Bonito flakes can be purchased off of amazon.com, but since kombu is rather brittle, I’d suggest finding a local source. Japanese markets will have them (as well as bonito) for sure.

      • Allison says:

        Oh wow, I was just going to settle for using lemon for the ponzu– hadn’t really thought about it, but I would love to get my hands on some fresh yuzu in the states (for many different recipes)!

        I have a similar system to yours in that I’m perfectly content to cook vegetarian (or vegan) a lot of the time at home, whereas I often order chicken or seafood at restaurants.

        I know I can get bonito at my local Japanese market, and I’m pretty sure they should have kombu too… I’ll have to check it out!

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