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Dashi is a Japanese stock or simple soup or broth which is one of the key fundamental building blocks of Japanese cuisine.

Fresh dashi is made by boiling kelp (kombu) and shavings of katsuobushi (dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna) in water. The water is then strained to produce the dashi broth (stock).

Alternative dashi stocks are made using shiitake mushrooms or dried baby sardines (niboshi).

Most Japanese people do not make fresh dashi but instead use dashi powders, granulated dashi or pre-packaged dashi liquids.

In 1908 Kikunae Ikeda identified kelp dashi’s flavour as having umami, the ‘fifth flavor’.