Dashijiru is the base of many a Japanese dish. I am listing several varieties of dashi as a reference for those of you that wish to make authentic Japanese dishes completely from scratch. There is commercial dashi out there or you can just use water, but the addition of dashi gives you a depth of flavor much like chicken and beef stock does in American dishes.
1-4" piece of dried kombu (I like Eden Organics)
4 cups/1 liter water
Soak kombu overnight in water. You can soak it for as little as an hour if you start with hot water, but the stock will not be as flavorful.
Bring water and kombu to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove kombu*.
*This can be used thinly sliced and sauted in oil with a splash of tamari for a tasty side dish.
1 cup bonito flakes by volume (these are vary fluffy-a handful will do)
4 cups of basic kombudashi
Add the bonito flakes to the kombudashi once the kombu is removed and cook it for an additional 3 minutes. Run the stock through a strainer to remove the bonito (if you have a cat or dog, this makes a great treat for them). This variation makes excellent soup stock for your udon or ramen noodles.
4 dehidrated shiitake mushrooms
1 cup of boiling hot water
Place shiitake into the hot water and let it soak for up to 30 minutes. Remove the shiitake and use it in your recipes. The resulting stock can be saved for later use or used in any recipe that also calls for shiitake mushrooms such as my Sauted Chicken and Dandelion Leaves.