Ichiban Dashi is a Dashi broth using a combination of Kombu (Dried Kelp) and Katsuo (Dried Bonito Flakes). You can use either one of these ingredients to make Dashi; however, Ichiban Dashi uses both and that gives a much richer and more complex flavor to the broth.
Dashi is a very important component in Japanese cooking, like chicken or vegetable broth in American food. It has a savory taste (“Umami”), and that gives a lot of dishes and soups the base of the flavor. Ichiban Dashi uses fresh, new Kombu and Katsuo (Ichiban means first), so it has a stronger taste than regular Dashi. It is perfect for clear soups in which you’ll enjoy the Umami taste and aroma of Dashi more directly than other dishes that have a lot of seasonings. Because of the Umami, you will be able to use less salt and other seasonings.
You can reuse the Kombu and Katsuo again for another batch of broth to use up all the left over Umami, and that is called Niban Dashi (Niban means second). Niban Dashi is a less strong Dashi, so use it in Miso Soup or Nimono (boiled vegetables and meat).
We also have a simple Dashi recipe if you prefer to use it.
- Put Kombu in water in a pot, and heat at medium heat until just before boiling. Remove Kombu.
- Add Katsuobushi and let the water boil, then immediately turn off the heat. Leave it for 5 minutes and strain.