Food, Home & Lifestyle

Ichiban Dashi: Kombu and Bonito Stock

Niki Nakayama

Lesson time 13:52 min

Learn how to make dashi, the deceptively simple broth that is a staple of Japanese cooking and the base for many dishes in this class.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Making Dashi


[ELECTRONIC MUSIC] - We'd like to show you how to make dashi. This is one of the most important ingredients in Japanese cooking. It is what Japanese cooking and what Japanese flavors is all about. So dashi is the Japanese bonito stock. We use it to braise vegetables. We use it as the underlying flavors to a lot of the cooking that we do. You'll see, in later demonstrations, why dashi is so important. And the way we use it. [ELECTRONIC MUSIC] We're going to start with this kombu. And Carol's going to cut it for us. Because the reason why we don't tear it or use our hands to break it apart, when you look at the kombu, there are white parts to it. So when you tear it, there's a higher chance that this white powder will get released and thereby, clouding your dashi. That's one of the goals we try to achieve when we are making dashi, to make it as clear as possible. So the cutting actually really helps in eliminating the extra powder, or the extra material that comes through the natural material. Sometimes when you find kombu at the market, you might recognize that that kombu has an unusual amount of white powder. And that is from the natural dehydrating process with the sun. And of course, there are varying kinds of kombu quality out there. So the ones that tend to yield the best dashi are the kombus with the least amount of excess powder. But if you do happen to find that that is the only one that you have, you can always take a damp cloth and sort of just wipe it down before you begin the dashi-making process. So here today, Carol is going to put the-- well, start with the water that's cold. This is a cold, filtered water. Because the cleaner the water, the better your dashi will come out. So we start it cold. And we're going to put the kombu in and let it simmer at a low temperature at about 140, for an hour. You want to make sure that you never boil the kombu because boiling the kombu will cause the dashi broth to cloud. And that isn't the product that you want. The goal being that you want as clear and clean as possible with the maximum amount of flavor. And what we're left over here to complete the dashi is the shaved Bonito flakes. You'll find that there are different types of Bonito flakes on the market. And the one that we're using in particular, for dashi, is called Hanakatsuo. It's the biggest shaved Bonito flake that you'll find. They'll have varying sizes. And then the larger ones are generally the best ones for dashi making. So as you can see, this dashi broth is really simple. But it's the simplicity that makes it so complicated and so complex. Dashi has an amazing way of bringing forth natural flavors of the ingredients you're using. For example, when you're using dashi broth to cook a vegetable, you'll-- you'll see that although there are underlying flavors of dashi in that vegetable, you'll also notice that the dashi has now taken on the flavors of that vegetab...

About the Instructor

The chef and owner of two-Michelin-starred restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles, Niki Nakayama is celebrated for her modern interpretation of kaiseki, a traditional Japanese cuisine. With her partner and sous chef, Carole, Niki will teach you techniques for preparing sashimi, tempura, perfect rice, and more. Learn how to make dishes that honor fresh ingredients as Niki shows you how to cook with care and gratitude.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Niki Nakayama

Niki Nakayama of two-Michelin-starred n/naka teaches you how to honor fresh ingredients with her innovative take on Japanese home cooking techniques.

Explore the Class
Sign Up