Dashi powder to water ratio: How much hondashi per cup of water?

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Dashi is a family of stocks used in Japanese cuisine and forms the backbone of many Japanese dishes.

However, if you have trouble finding all the dashi ingredients, or would like a more simple solution to making dashi at home, know that you can also make dashi from instant powder or granules.

Dashi powder to water ratio

When using dashi powder to make dashi stock, it’s important to use the right water-to-powder ratio. In general, you’ll add 1-2 teaspoons of dashi powder to 1-2 cups of hot water to make dashi stock. However, depending on the dish you’re making, you might want to play with the ratios.

How long should you steep dashi?

If your dashi comes in a bag you can hang it in a cup with hot water. The water infuses with flavor in 3 to 5 minutes. Dashi from a packet will completely dissolve in hot water after stirring for 30 seconds.

Let’s look into the use of dashi powder for dashi stock in more detail so you’ll know exactly how much to use for your dish.

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What is dashi?

Dashi stock is used as the base ingredient for some of our favorite Japanese soups and broths, including miso soup, clear broth soup, noodle broth soup, and many other cooking liquids.

It’s a very versatile and flavorful stock and can be used in virtually any dish that requires additional liquid.

Unlike soup stocks from other cuisines, which are typically made by boiling an assortment of meat, vegetables, herbs, and spices for several hours, Japanese (or wafu) dashi is usually made of only a few carefully selected ingredients, like kombu, bonito flakes, shiitake mushrooms, and anchovies, and it’s quick to prepare.

For a vegetarian dashi stock, kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms are normally used.

A non-vegetarian stock can be made from bonito flakes (fish flakes) and anchovies. They’re both delicious and have a powerful umami flavor.

What is dashi powder?

Dashi powder or granules are dehydrated dashi stock. This allows it to be kept for longer and transported easily. Called hondashi or dashi no moto, these products simply need to be mixed with water to make an instant dashi stock.

It’s a simple, shortcut to making dashi at home, and really easy to prepare:

And the best part is that the resulting flavor is typically stronger than if you make the dashi from the raw ingredients yourself.

Making it from scratch also takes longer. Preparing dashi from bonito flakes or shiitake mushrooms can take anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour.

So instant dashi powder or granules can save you lots of time and effort. These days, you can also purchase MSG-free and additive-free dashi powder at Japanese grocery stores.

A popular dashi powder is Ajinomoto HonDashi powder that you can buy online.

Ajinomoto hondashi instant dashi powder

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What is liquid dashi?

Liquid dashi is dashi in its liquid form. Dashi stock normally is liquid because it is made of water and other ingredients like katsuobushi and kombu, but dashi can also be made into a powder or granules for later use.

Also read: what is the dashi to miso paste ratio to use in soups?

Dashi powder to water ratio

This seemingly simple question doesn’t have a simple answer since it all depends both on your personal taste as well as the type of dish you’re using it for.

The standard response from most manufacturers of instant dashi granules is that the ratio should be 1-2 teaspoons of dashi powder to 1-2 cups of hot water.

However, if the dashi is going to be the main flavor ingredient in a dish, then stronger dashi may be needed, and you can increase the amount of powder by half a teaspoon or more.

By the same token, if the dashi is going to be part of a dish that’ll get a lot of salt from other ingredients, then it makes sense to reduce the ratio of granules to water.

For example:

  • 1/2 tsp dashi granules to 1 cup water for okonomiyaki (which is dashi and flour held together with an egg)
  • 1/4 tsp dashi granules to 1 cup water for shoyu (soy-sauce-based) soup broth or miso soup broth.

Find 3 easy and delicious recipes using dashi stock here

When it comes to the ratio of dashi to water, flavor is key

If you like a stronger flavor, feel free to add a little more powder. If the dashi is too salty for you, then add more water.

You’re more likely to add more dashi granules to a shoyu-based soup broth than to a miso soup broth. This is because miso is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, so it’s already quite salty.

Mix up the right dashi powder to water ratio

There’s no “exact” solution to the ratio of dashi to water. But in general, you’d use 1-2 teaspoons of instant dashi in 1-2 cups of hot water.

However, the amount of powder you use depends very much on your personal taste and on the strength of the flavors of other ingredients that might be part of the dish.

My suggestion would be to start with a minimal amount of dashi and add more to taste. It’s easy to add more dashi powder, but impossible to take it out again!

Don’t have dashi stock? Use these 6 secret substitutes instead!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.