Dashi means broth, soup stock. The most basic and common Dashi is Katsuo Dashi, Skipjack Tuna broth. This is the heart of Japanese cooking. If you can make good Dashi, your cooking cannot go wrong.

This is not a wood. This is the dried aged fish meat. It is called Katsuo Bushi. The fillet of Skipjack Tuna, boiled, dried, smoked, fermented by molds, turning into this rock hard stick.

It is used after shaved like this.

The other key ingredient for this broth is Konbu, dried kelp. Glutamic acid from Konbu and inosinic acid from Katsuo Bushi is the best combination of Umami components.

To make Dashi, get a pot of cold water, 3% Scraped Katsuo Bushi and 2% dried Konbu. If you have 1 liter of water, 30g of Katsuo Bushi and 20g of dried Konbu.

Put Kombu in cold water. Put it on medium heat. The ideal heat is to bring it to boiling in 10 minutes. The gradual heat extracts Umami from Kombu. Don’t keep boiling with Kombu in it as it will make it sticky. Take out Kombu.

Put in a little cold water to decrease the temperature before putting in Katsuo Bushi. Bring it to boil Katsuo Bushi for 1 minute to 5 minutes. Keep it just about boiling as you see some bubbles from the bottom of your pot. Never boil hard. You can add some Sake in it for flavor too. 1 or 2 minutes if you are making soup. 5 minutes if you are using Dashi for cooking meat or vegetables.

After boiling Katsuo Bushi for the time you like, put out the heat and drain it.

Beautiful golden Dashi.