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Home Brew Forums > Food and Beverage > Cooking & Pairing > Dashi?
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:33 PM   #1
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Default Dashi?

From what I've read, Dashi is essential for Japanese cooking (read up on umami and/or "the fifth flavor", also interesting how they make dashi). It looks like it would be a very useful cooking ingredient. But I've been to two asian markets and asked for it and they acted like they'd never heard of it (these markets are prob more Chinese/Vietnamese based).

Am I asking for the wrong thing? I didn't think to ask for umami.

I was also looking for Mirin but they acted like they didn't know what that was either. I hope to make my own soon (when I start making Sake) but I wanted to buy some for now.

I'm just looking for some help trying to get this stuff. Making my own Tempura dipping sauce is turning out to be much harder than I thought. It's just:
1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Mirin
1 cup Dashi
some recipes add 1 TBS sugar.

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:44 PM   #2
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Try using the more generic names of "fish stock" and "sweet cooking rice wine". I'm suprised they didn't know what you were talking about, but the dashi stock they have at my local market is just a powdered concentrate that you use like soup base.

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:45 PM   #3
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One thing with Asian markets, is that they are not one stop shopping places. You need to have at least 2 in your area, if not more if you are looking for special ingredients. One might be good for fresh fish, another might carry your favorite Jasmine rice etc.

Not too sure about Dashi or where to find it. You wouldn't ask for umami since that is just a description of a flavor. It would be like asking for sour or sweet. One option to add umami is monosodium glutamate (msg). You can find it at Asian markets, or even Italian markets. The glutamate in MSG will contribute umami to food. Despite all of the health concerns in the US, its probably not any worse than the copious amounts of salt we use. I'm assuming this Dashi is some sort of seaweed extract. Seaweed extracts were used in Asian cooking for a long time until MSG was isolated in the early 1900's.

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
One option to add umami is monosodium glutamate (msg). You can find it at Asian markets, or even Italian markets.
You can get it at about any megamart in the world, the brand Accent is sold by all the salt and spices. Never make a spice rub without it!
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:58 PM   #5
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Nowadays Mirin can be found in the asian section of most big box grocery chains. I've bought it both an Krogers and Myers. Kikomin even sells a version now. I'm sure it's the BMC of mirin, but it'll do until you can figure out which bottle is which in the asian market.

And in a pinch, I've found that fish or oyster sauce (which iirc contains Dashi) provides that nice umami experience. In fact I have been tossing a few drops into no asian cooking as well. I did a thick chicken soup/stew on saturday and added about a 1/4 tbs of it to the base stock. Again i got that in the international foods aisle at either Kroger or Myer's.

It came out nice.

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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Thanks. Yes dashi is made from edible kelp but it's the other ingredient (Katsuobushi) that's sort of...different. Basically take a Bonito fish (the whole fish), dry it, then ferment it (how I dunno), then smoke it. This gives you big log of dried, fermented, smoked fish. Then take thin shavings of this log and soak in water. Yum.

I know I could use MSG and I'm familiar with Accent but I want the natural glutamate. I thought there was a difference but maybe not.

EDIT: I did mention 'clear broth' but she just shook her head.

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Old 11-24-2009, 02:01 PM   #7
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I've seen Bonito Flakes also available on the bottom shelf of my myers as well.

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Old 11-24-2009, 02:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
Thanks. Yes dashi is made from edible kelp but it's the other ingredient (Katsuobushi) that's sort of...different. Basically take a Bonito fish (the whole fish), dry it, then ferment it (how I dunno), then smoke it. This gives you big log of dried, fermented, smoked fish. Then take thin shavings of this log and soak in water. Yum.

I know I could use MSG and I'm familiar with Accent but I want the natural glutamate. I thought there was a difference but maybe not.

EDIT: I did mention 'clear broth' but she just shook her head.
Let me guess. You just watched good eats the other day didn't you?
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:31 PM   #9
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Asia is a big place. While a lot of the Asian stores make some effort to be pan-Asian, the vast majority of them really only have a quality selection and expertise in a single cuisine.

I would look for a Japanese owned store.

As far as I am concerned, free glutamate is free glutamate though.

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Old 11-24-2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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Let me guess. You just watched good eats the other day didn't you?
No, I do DVR it but only get around to watching some of them. I was eating tempura fried vegetables and loved the dipping sauce and did a bit of googling...

Now I'm gonna check the DVR tonight to see which recent episode mentioned it.
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