About the Recipe
Making a Japanese stock is a little bit like making a wine. Most Japanese cooks use fresh ingredients their #1 premium stock. This is called "ichiban dashi" in Japanese. Once the ichiban dashi has been made, the cook will then re-use the ingredients (principally a piece of kelp and some bonito fish flakes) to create a second, lower quality stock (the "niban dsahi") Ihciban 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. But the proof of the pudding, as the Brits say, is in the eating. So, make this premium dashi recipe and try it with a good quality miso in a miso soup - I think you will see what I mean!
10cm strip of konbu (dried kelp)
15g "katsuobushi" bonito flakes
a muslin cloth (or coffee filter paper) and a sieve
wipe the konbu strip clean with a damp cloth or dampened sheet of kitchen paper (don't wash it under running water)
plcae the konbu in a saucepan and pour over the water. soak for at least 30 minutes (ideally, you should do this in advance and leave the kelp in the water for 3 hours)
bring the water to the boil over a medium heat. once the water boils, remove the kelp
add the bonito flakes and reduce the heat to low for 2 minutes
now, turn off the heat and let the bonito flakes settle in the pan for 2 - 3 minutes
strain your stock through a muslin or paper filter into a bowl or saucepan. your premium dashi stock is now ready to use.