Dashi is a very commonly used ingredient in Japanese cooking. But what is it and why is it so popular?

trinity

In every popular cuisine, there are three essential ingredients that make up the holy trinity, the cornerstone of flavours that give that classic, instantly recognisable taste. In Japanese food these three main ingredients are soy sauce, dashi & mirin.
By combining these three sauces together, you can season many Japanese dishes with that quintessential Japanese flavour. So whether you are making chicken teriyaki, hot-pots, Japanese style omelettes or even noodle soup, learning how to use these ingredients together is the first step to creating delicious Japanese food. Read on for Japan Centre‘s guide to the holy trinity of Japanese cooking.

dashi

Dashi this, dashi that… if you are interested in Japanese cooking, dashi is one of those keywords that pops up in nearly every recipe. In this Japan Centre feature post, I am going to explain exactly what dashi is, how it can be used to enhance your cooking and most importantly, how to make your own dashi!
What is Dashi?
Dashi is a flavouring stock used in Japanese cuisine, giving that quintessential Japanese flavour to your favourite foods. It all starts with something called “umami”, which when translated from Japanese to English, “savoury” is probably the closest word. Umami was discovered as one of the five senses to accompany sweet, sour, bitter and salty and is a more friendly name for the taste of glutamates. Our tongues are quite partial to umami flavours which is why strong, intensly flavoured foods, especially when paired together can give an even more intense flavour. Ever tried cheese and marmite, or parmesan on tomato sauce? Oh yes, those are certainly foods that taste even better when you combine them together!