top of page

Perfect Japanese Dashi stock

Prep Time:

30 Minutes +

Cook Time:

20 Minutes


2 Servings



About the Recipe

Making a Japanese stock is a little bit like pressing the grapes for wine. The first press is for the best wine and the second for an intermediate product. It's the same with Japanesse dashi stock. Most Japanese cooks use dried bonito flakes known as "katsuobushi" and dried kelp in their 'first" stock. This is called "ichiban dashi" in Japanese. Once the ichiban dashi has been made, the cook will then re-use the ingredients to create a second, lower quality stock (the "niban dashi") Ichiban dashi goes into dishes where the stock is the key to flavour, such as miso soup. The second stock is used in dishes where, because there are more flavour components, the richness of the dashi isn't so important and its role is more as a hint of flavour. But the proof of the pudding, as the Brits say, is in the eating. So, make your dashi stock using this recipe and try it in a Japanese "o-sumashi" clear soup or a Japanese "chawanmushi" savoury egg custard- I think you will see what I mean! (PS: When you've made your first and second stocks, don't throw away the katsuobushi and kelp - just chop up the kelp and the two make a great filling with a dash of soy sauce in Japanese "o-musubi" rice balls!) Remember that unlike instant dashi stock granules or dashi bags, when you make your own dashi stock, it won't contain any salt, so when you use the stock in your cooking, you may wish to add seasoning to suit your taste.


makes about 800 - 900ml / 1.7-1.9 fl oz of "first stock"

10g / 0.4 oz dried "konbu"  kelp

1000ml / 2 pt water

15g / 0.5 oz dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

a muslincloth (or a square of kitchen paper) and a sieve


To make your "first" dashi stock, wipe the konbu with a piece damp kitchen paper to clean (don't make it wet, just a quick wipe will do.)

Place the konbu and the water into a saucepan and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

Bring the water to the boil over a low/ medium heat. This will take about 10 minutes, by which time the konbu will be soft a releasing its flavour into the water.

Just before the water comes to the boil, remove the konbu and set it  aside for your "second" stock.

Next, add the dried bonito flakes to the water and gently simmer for about 2 minutes. The flakes are very thin and surrender their flavour very quickly.  Turn off the heat. Rest the stock for a few minutes while the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the saucepan.

When the flakes are lying at the bottom of the saucepan, strain the stock through athe sieve with the sheet of kitchen paper or muslin cloth in place. When the stock has drained through the sieve, remove the paper/muslin cloth and gently squeeze out all the remaining stock. If you are using kitchen paper, be careful not to split the paper.

Set the bonito flakes aside.

You will now have a clear amber coloured top quality dashi stock. You can use this dashi stocks for making clear soups, miso soup, chawanmushi etc.

Now you can make your  “second" dashi stock”using the leftover konbu and bonito flakes.

To do this, place the used kobu and bonito flakes into a saucepan with 1000ml / 2pt of water.

Bring the water to the boil and simmer for 6 - 8 minutes over a medium heat. Strain the bonito flakes and konbu through the sieve with a sheet of kitchen paper or a muslin cloth as you did when you made your "first" dashi.

Now you have second dashi stock for miso soup, simmered dishes or Japanese mixed takikomi rice etc.

(As I said above, you can use the these bonito flakes with a dash of soy sauce as a filling for onigiri.)

bottom of page