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Katsuobushi shavings before being soaked in water
TypeSoup or stock
Place of originJapan
Some common brands of packaged instant dashi

Dashi (, だし) is a class of soup and cooking stock used in Japanese cuisine. Dashi forms the base for miso soup, clear broth, noodle broth, and many kinds of simmering liquid to accentuate the savory flavor as umami.[1] Dashi is also mixed into flour base of some grilled foods like okonomiyaki and takoyaki.


The most common form of dashi is a simple broth or fish stock made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi – preserved, fermented skipjack tuna or cheaper bonito) to near-boiling, then straining the resultant liquid. If bonito is not available, dried anchovies or sardines may be substituted.[2] The element of umami, one of the five basic tastes, is introduced into dashi from the use of katsuobushi and kombu. Katsuobushi is especially high in sodium inosinate and kombu is especially high in glutamic acids; both combined create a synergy of umami.[3]

Granulated or liquid instant dashi replaced the homemade product in the second half of the 20th century. Homemade dashi, made from dried kombu and katsuobushi, is less popular today, even in Japan.[4] Compared to the taste of homemade dashi, instant dashi tends to have a stronger, less subtle flavor, due to the use of chemical flavor enhancers—glutamates and ribonucleotides.[5]


Other kinds of dashi stock are made by soaking kelp, niboshi, or shiitake in water for many hours or by heating them in near-boiling water and straining the resulting broth.

  • Kombu dashi stock is made by soaking kelp in water.
  • Niboshi dashi stock is made by pinching off the heads and entrails of small dried sardines, to prevent bitterness, and soaking the rest in water.
  • Shiitake dashi stock is made by soaking dried shiitake mushrooms in water.


In 1908, the unusual and strong flavor of kelp dashi was identified by Kikunae Ikeda as umami, the "fifth flavor", attributed to human taste receptors responding to glutamic acid.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Umami – The Delicious 5th Taste You Need to Master!". Molecular Recipes. 24 March 2013.
  2. ^ Kaneko, Amy. Let's Cook Japanese Food!: Everyday Recipes for Home Cooking. p. 15.
  3. ^ Hosking, Richard (2000). At the Japanese Table. Images of Asia. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-195-90980-7. LCCN 00058458. OCLC 44579064.
  4. ^ Ingredients used for making dashi at home cooking (Japanese).
  5. ^ Ozeki, Erino (2008). "Fermented soybean products and Japanese standard taste". In Christine M., Du Bois (ed.). The world of soy. Food series. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-252-03341-4. LCCN 2007046950. OCLC 177019229.
  6. ^ Lindemann, B. (2002). "The Discovery of Umami". Chemical Senses. 27 (9): 843–844. doi:10.1093/chemse/27.9.843. ISSN 1464-3553. PMID 12438211.

Further reading[edit]