As you may know, dashi is at the core of Japanese cuisine. There are very few dishes that don’t rely on using dashi in some form or another.
Though it is just a soup stock, dashi has an impressive amount of use in the kitchen.
It is no surprise given how essential this ingredient is when it comes to cooking nearly any kind of Japanese recipe.
In this post we'll cover:
The first and most obvious use for dashi stock is to use it to make miso soup. There aren’t many ingredients in miso soup, but the dashi stock is one of the most important ones to include. Even if you left out the dashi but included the miso paste, your miso soup would not have the incredibly rich umami that dashi stock gives it.
If you like a good miso soup but don’t have the time, here’s a great miso breakfast recipe you can make in minutes
Yes, there are a lot of ramen recipes out there that make use of dashi. Like miso soup, ramen benefits from using dashi stock to make an incredibly delicious and savory soup. This does, however, exclude most conventional instant ramens that you would find in a grocery store since those are just dehydrated ramen noodles that require hot water and nothing else.
There are actually a lot of different ramen broth types you could try, you should read it if you have the time.
Though it may seem similar to ramen, udon is a very different kind of noodle-based dish. The noodles are generally thicker and different ingredients are used when making it. One of the few ways that the two dishes are similar is that they both use dashi as the stock. After all, since dashi works well in ramen and miso soup it makes sense that it would go great in a bowl of udon.
I’ve got this post on how to use Udon noodles and make A LOT of delicious noodle dishes.
Moving on from soup, another example of something you can make with dashi stock is nikujaga. Nikujaga is a type of beef stew that is the Japanese equivalent of a beef and potato type of stew. Other vegetables can be added in as well. Then all the ingredients are cooked in delicious dashi stock.
Dashi stock and sauce
Dashi stock is often used in a lot of sauces. For example, one of the main ingredients in making the sauce for okonomiyaki is dashi. Since dashi is known for being very savory, it makes sense to use it in any sauce that would pair well with a savory dish. It is practically a match made in heaven when used for a sauce!
Though it isn’t technically a recipe, a common technique in Japanese cooking is to simmer vegetables and fish when you are cooking them. Cooking food in dashi is a great way to infuse your dish with the savory and delicious umami that dashi is known for. This also includes cooking a block of tofu in dashi.
Speaking of tofu, there is another use for dashi when it comes to cooking a filet of tofu. With this recipe, you can make a delicious dashi gravy that you pour after a fried block of tofu. With the warm dashi poured over the tofu, each bite will melt in your mouth into a puddle of savory and delicious flavors.
Bowl meals are a popular dish in Japan, and this is another kind of meal that can be made by using dashi stock. For oyakodon, you take a bunch of ingredients like chicken, scallion, and other vegetables and simmer them in dashi stock. The dashi coated ingredients are then poured over a bowl of rice and then served.
Like the agedashi tofu, this is an incredibly unique way to use the dashi stock in a way other than making a soup.
Another popular type of meal that uses dashi stock, especially during the colder months in Japan, is chicken mizutaki and other similar hot pot recipes. Hot pot recipes are unique because they are usually cooked in a large standing pot right on the dining table itself. You take a bunch of ingredients and cook them in dashi stock.
In the case of chicken mizutaki, you cook chicken, tofu, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and leek in several cups of dashi stock. Though these dashi stock-based hot pot recipes can be enjoyed on your own, it is often the kind of thing you would eat with friends and family.
At the heart of Japanese cuisine
As you can see, there are many uses for dashi stock beyond the standard examples of miso soup and ramen. Dashi has been used for a very long time in Japan, so it is no surprise that so many dishes developed around the use of it. It is a clear demonstration of how incredibly versatile this ingredient is since it can be used in so many different ways and be a critical part of a lot of recipes.
If you are ever looking for a recipe that makes the most out of dashi stock and its rich umami content, then give one of the above items a try.