36 In Soup/ Video

Dashi (fish broth) Recipe

Dashi or fish broth is a very important component in traditional Japanese cooking.  It is used in soups, stews, boiled vegetables and many other dishes.  It is not hard to make at all, but it is one step you have to take before you cook food.

Today a lot of Japanese people use powdered dashi as a shortcut (similar to bouillon cubes).  However, powdered dashi is not as flavorful as the real thing, and it usually contains MSG. So, here at Japanese Cooking 101, we cook Dashi in a more traditional way using dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi).  Dried bonito flakes can be easily found at Japanese supermarkets or online stores.

You can use the bonito flakes not only for Dashi but also for sprinkling on other dishes like okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake, yum!).  Your cat might also like to share them with you 🙂  So don’t worry, you won’t waste them after you make Miso Soup once.

Dashi (fish broth)

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 cups (960ml)

Dashi (fish broth)


  • 4 cups water (960ml)
  • 2 handful of dried bonito flakes (or 4 small packs of dried bonito flakes)


  1. Boil water and then add dried bonito flakes in a pot. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Strain it. Use it as instructed in recipes.


You Might Also Like

  • Tanya
    June 2, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Thanks for the recipe. I do have one stupid question, though. I like Japanese food and cook it very often at home. Since I do not know Japanese my sources of information are blogs, yutube and other webs. I always thought that dashi is a stock made from bonito flakes and kombu. I know about 2 ways to make it. The first, boil kombu and bonito for a very short time. The taste of a stock is very strong in this case. The second, use leftover bonito and kombu from the first try and boil it for a long time. It is time consuming, but the taste is very soft and nice.

    Am I missing something? What is dashi?

    • Yuko
      June 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Tanya,
      You are not missing anything, and both are good way to make dashi. Dashi is just a simple stock or broth that can be made from variety of ‘umami’ ingredients, such as dried bonito flakes, konbu (dried kelp), dried sardines, and dried shiitake mushroom. You can use it by itself or combination such as bonito and konbu. Here, we wanted to make it as simple as possible, yet very flavorful. Konbu & bonito combination may create the best dashi (called ichiban dashi), but quick dashi using bonito flakes alone can still be great and much better than using instant dashi powder which many people use these days.

      • Tanya
        June 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm

        Thanks for the explanation. It all make sense now:)

  • Lia
    August 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Hi, my name is Lia and i’m writting to you from Chile. Here we don’t have so many ingredients and i only know Hondashi or Ajinomoto. Can i make this recipe with this ingredient? How do i make it?

    • Noriko
      August 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Hondashi is an instant version of dashi, so go ahead and use it according to the package. Or I would use 1 teaspoon or so of Hondashi for 2 cups of boiling water.

  • Heather
    November 1, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks a lot for composing “Dashi (fish broth) Recipe”.

    I personallywill certainly be returning for a lot
    more reading and commenting soon. With thanks, Trista

    • Noriko
      November 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      thanks! Come back for more recipes!

  • ayomoto
    November 21, 2013 at 5:08 am

    hello and thank you for sharing the recipe for dash.

    how long can i store dash in the fridge?
    airtight of course.

    • Noriko
      December 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      maybe a couple of days.

  • jeff
    December 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    How much kunbu and bonito do I use if combining?

    • Noriko
      January 7, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      watch our Ichiban Dashi recipe!

  • Darya
    December 25, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Noriko and Yuko,
    Thank you for the great recipes and very helpful videos!
    I have a question. What to do with dried bonito flakes after they were used to prepare dashi? Should I just dispose of them or maybe they can be used in some other dish?
    Best wishes,

    • Noriko
      January 7, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      usually discard it, but you could season and cook it if you really want.

      • Mark Baty
        August 28, 2016 at 4:53 pm

        my dog will eat anything including used bonito flakes

  • Alex
    January 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Noriko and Yuko,

    Thank you for this recipe, but how much exactly is a handful? About 1 cup?

    • Noriko
      February 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      maybe 1/2 cup. Use your hand:)

  • Matthew Fouracre
    February 3, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Hey Noriko and Yuko,
    how much is 2 handful of dried bonito flakes?

    Would 40g be enough?

    thanks for your time,

    • Noriko
      February 10, 2014 at 9:10 am

      40g sounds like strong broth, but I like strong flavor. Adjust to your liking!

  • Tom
    March 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    It seemed a bit of a shame to just toss out the used bonito after making the dashi. Sophie the Cat to the rescue! She was interested the moment I opened the package of dried flakes, and ate one I put in her dish. It’s a bit expensive to be using as cat food, though, so that’s all she’ll get of the dried ones…but she seems to be just as into the ones strained out of the finished dashi. At the moment, I’m not seeing any reason she shouldn’t have them, but perhaps someone else knows better than I.

    • Noriko
      March 2, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      good idea!

  • Elaine
    March 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    How long can I store homemade dashi in the fridge?

    • Noriko
      March 17, 2014 at 7:52 am

      no more than 2-3 days.

  • Athena
    April 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Hi! I just want to know if I use konbu alone will be as tasteful as the bonito flakes? The thing I can’t find bonito flakes in the asian food stores we have here.
    Thank you!

    • Noriko
      April 14, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      it is different from bonito dashi. Kombu dashi has milder and less fishy flavor. But it’s ok to use kombu alone.

  • Leila
    May 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Hello! Thank you for creating this site and making these videos on youtube. It is exciting to be able to try all of these recipes!

    I saw that the broth can only be in the fridge for 2-3 days before it shouldn’t be used. Is it possible to freeze dashi or Ichiban dashi broth?

    Thank you!

    • Noriko
      May 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      you could freeze dashi, but it may be easier to just make it when you need it.

  • Kindra
    July 14, 2014 at 7:21 am

    What if I don’t have access to anything to make dashi? I really want to make some so I can have udon but I have no way to get the flakes or anything. Is there a way I could substitute it?

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      there is always online stores. Can’t get dried Kombu kelp either? In the worst case, you can use just water and take flavor from chicken (using Chicken Udon recipe).

  • Dawn
    July 16, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Hello Noriko and Yuko,
    Whenever I go to any Japanese restaurant, I realize that their soy sauce is much lighter and not as heavy as the soy sauce bottle we buy from the market.
    It tastes better and seems more kind of diluted.
    Can you please tell me how I can have the same soy sauce at home?


    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      that may be sodium reduced soy sauce, and you can buy that at many stores.

  • Cihayu
    August 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Hi, is there something else that I can use in place of dried bonito flakes?

    • Noriko
      September 8, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      you could use dried Konbu seaweed. Check out our Ichibandashi.

  • Marshall
    October 9, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    How much bonito is two handfuls? Mine came in a pack of 5 bags, 5g each. Would the two handfuls be one bag or more? I tried it with just one bag and I think it came out decent, but I’m not sure exactly what good miso soup is supposed to taste like, having only eaten it on a few occasions. Thanks so much 🙂 I love your site, these recipes are great!

    • Noriko
      October 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      you got tiny ones! That’s ok to use for toppings and stuff when you use small amount of Katsuobushi. Still, you could use that but need 3-4 bags.

  • Ashley
    August 22, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    I’m allergic to fish and was wondering if I could substitute Dashi with some variety of chicken or beef stock with the kombu? I’ve never used Kombu before but I’d like to try and make an Udon hotpot only no fish or mushrooms (fiancee’s allergic to those) so I wasn’t sure if if the flavors would work together?

  • Joanne Scoulos
    December 9, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    What a wonderful website that you have. You explain the recipes very well. I thank you so much