Sleepless in Honesdale, I realized that it had been a while since I had made some homemade dashi broth. Taking mental stock of my pantry, fridge and freezer, I realized I could make dashi etc. first thing in the morning without going to the store 🙂 I hopped out of bed at 6:00 a.m., not rested, but in a pretty positive mood.
While there are other varieties of dashi, I usually make awase-dashi, with konbu (dried kelp) and dried bonito flakes. I knew I wanted shiitake mushrooms as part of the soup’s ingredients, and while soaking the dehydrated mushrooms I also decided to add some of the soaking liquid to the the awase broth. I knew this would be fine because I have successfully made Japanese style broths using only the liquid from soaked Japanese mushrooms.
Making dashi from scratch is easy and so much better tasting then using dashi granules. The konbu is first soaked then brought to just below a boil, then the kelp is discarded, the bonito flakes added and brought to a full boil before straining the finished broth through a paper towel lined strainer. However, this time, after discarding the kelp, I added 2 cups of mushroom soaking liquid before continuing.
I sliced and added the dehydrated mushrooms to the broth along with a handful of sliced scallions and simmered for about 15 minutes. I then added a handful of halved snow peas to the broth, simmered for 5 minutes, turned off the flame and placed the cover on my donabe cooker.
Once the broth is completed, you can add anything you want including chicken, shrimp, pork or beef shreds, carrots, daikon, whatever. The soup was good with just the snowpeas, scallions, mushrooms and 1/2 boiled egg. Still, I had other things on the menu, like udon noodles and roasted wild cod pieces.
Mushroom Dashi Broth
1 package dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
3 cups water
1 large piece of kombu
6 cups water
2 cups bonito flakes
4 tbsp Usukuchi soy sauce
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp mirin
1/4 tsp salt
Place the mushrooms in the 3 cups of water and set aside. Place the kombu in the 6 cups of water and set aside.
After at least 30 minutes, pour the kombu and water into a pot and bring almost to a boil (small bubbles appear on the edges of the water). Remove the kombu and discard. Strain the mushrooms into a bowl, reserving and setting aside the mushrooms and add 2 cups of the mushroom liquid to the kombu liquid. Add the bonito flakes, bring to a boil and boil for 30 seconds. Place a paper towel lined strainer over a bowl and pour the bonito flakes and water into the strainer. When cool enough, gather the flakes in the paper towel and squeeze the liquid out into the bowl before discarding the flakes. To season the broth, add the soy sauces, sake, sugar, mirin and salt. Add your favorite ingredients and enjoy.