Dashi (Homemade Japanese Stock)

Posted by on April 22, 2010 in Blog, Fish & Seafood, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Soup | 4 comments

Wakame and Katsuo-bushi are the basic ingredients for homemade katsuo dashi.

I’m so lucky my BFF lives practically across the street from us.  As little girls, we often said how wonderful it would be if our houses were right next door to one another when we grew up.  Well, across the street is pretty excellent in my book.  :)

Since I started my blog, I’ve called on BFF to take extra food off my hands, such as sakura mochi.  Recently, I invited BFF over to take some Jello Cheesecake (post forthcoming… I’m a little behind with writing) and I asked if she had eaten dinner yet… AND she hadn’t!  (Hurray for me.)

I happened to have an extra chawan mushi and offered this to her.  While she was eating this, she asked, “Did you make homemade dashi for the chawan mushi?”  I replied, “Are you kidding me!  That’s too much work.  That would be one additional step, in addition to ALL of the other steps required for making chawan mushi.”

As much as I enjoy cooking, I’m like my mom in that I like to take little short-cuts where I can.  My mom uses the pelletized, dry dashi out-of-the-box, so I told BFF that the same stuff my mom uses is good enough for me.

But I did mention to her that I had a homemade dashi recipe in my copy of “What’s Cooking in Japan” cookbook, and that it seemed pretty straightforward.

SO, the other night I decided to give homemade dashi a try, and when I tasted it, I realized this was the base for my mom’s yudofu, another favorite Japanese dish that I remembered from my childhood.

When I called my mom to tell her that I made homemade dashi, she said in Japanese, “WOW!”  Then, I told her that it tasted exactly like her yudofu, and she laughed.  Perhaps making homemade dashi isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

Homemade Dashi

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 piece of dashi konbu (dried kelp), approximately 2 1/2 ” x 2 1/2 “
  • 1 cup katsuo bushi (dried shaved bonito flakes)

Note: I usually buy the least expensive dashi konbu that I can find at the Japanese supermarket, or I go to my high-end source, my Mom, who always has a lot of dashi konbu that our relatives send to us from Japan. Whether you are on a budget or not, and regardless of the dashi konbu you use, this recipe should result in delicious homemade dashi. If your tastebuds are exceptionally discriminating, I recommend using high-end dashi konbu for the best flavor dashi.

1) Cut dashi konbu to desired size.

2) Using a knife, score the dashi konbu.  This helps to get the flavor “out of it’s shell”.  You’ll find that there’s quite a bit of white residue on the konbu but this adds flavor and rich umami to the dashi.

3) Put water in a large bowl (or your pot) and let dashi konbu soak overnight in the refrigerator.  If you are pressed for time, soak the dashi konbu in water for 10 minutes to 2 hours. My Mom claims that dashi can be made without pre-soaking and still result in good flavor, if you choose to go this route.

4) Pour all of the water, including the dashi konbu, into a medium pot.  Bring to a boil, and then turn-off heat.

5) Add katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes) to the pot of dashi konbu. Allow the katsuo bushi to soak and sink to the bottom of the pot. This step will take about 5 to 10 minutes.

I tend to buy the small individual packets of katsu bushi because I don’t use it often, and it’s easier to serve at dinner time in the small packets (photo below).  The Japanese supermarket sells HUGE bags of katsuo bushi, however, which is perfect for making dashi stock.


In the photo below, the katuso bushi has sunk to the bottom of the pot.

6) Remove konbu (seaweed) and set aside. Strain the stock with katsuo bushi once through a mesh sieve. Remove katsuo bushi from the sieve and set aside with the konbu. Save the konbu and katsuo bushi in a storage container and place in the refrigerator for further use.

4 cups of water yields approximately 2 3/4 cups of dashi.  The katsuo bushi absorbs the water and as the dashi simmers, the liquid reduces.  Use this dashi for any Japanese dish that calls for dashi.  It has great flavor and will add “umami” and depth of flavor to your food.


Dashi (Homemade Japanese Stock)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2¾ cups
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 piece of dashi konbu (dried kelp), approximately 2½ " x 2½ "
  • 1 cup katsuo bushi (dried shaved bonito flakes)
  1. Cut dashi konbu to desired size. Using a knife, score the dashi konbu. This helps to get the flavor "out of it's shell". You'll find that there's quite a bit of white residue on the konbu but this adds flavor to the dashi. Do not wipe this off.
  2. Put water in a large pot and let dashi konbu soak overnight in the fridge, or 10 minutes to 2 hours, time permitting.
  3. Bring pot of water and konbu dashi to a boil, then turn off heat.
  4. Add the katsuo bushi to the pot until all of the katsuo bushi sinks to the bottom of the pot. This will take 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Remove konbu and set aside. Using a mesh sieve, strain the stock. Set aside the katsuo bushi with the konbu and place in the fridge in a storage container for later use.
  6. cups of water yields approximately 2¾ cups of homemade dashi. This can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or it can be stored in the freezer. Use ice cube trays for storing individual serving portions of dashi.


  1. avatar

    This is great I always wanted to make my own dashi! I didn’t realize it was that easy. I was told dashi is the root to many Japanese recipes.

    • avatar

      So happy I could help! I just made some without soaking the konbu and it turned out great. Let me know how it turns out. :)

  2. avatar

    dang sweet story man.

    • avatar

      Thank you! Thanks for visiting!


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