Skip to main content

Japanese Basics -Dashi (だし, 出汁) or Dashijiru (出し汁) & Furikake (ふりかけ)

Dashi is the foundation of Japanese food and without a good dashi broth, many of your dishes will be flat and lacking the unique umami flavor that is expected in Japanese food.  Unlike stock which requires a multitude of ingredients and can take hours to make, a good Dashi is made from a small number of ingredients and can be ready in as little as 20 minutes.

It is believed that Dashi was first produced as early as the 7th century, and many texts refer to it.  It was in common use in the Edo period. The recipe that was used at Crown Tournament can be traced directly to the Ryōri Monogatari.

4. DASHI だし (BASIC STOCK)

Chip katsuo into good size pieces, and when you have 1 shō worth, add 1 shō 5 gō of water and simmer. Sip to test and should remove the katsuo when it matches your taste. Too sweet is no good. The dashi may be boiled a second time and used.

Japanese recipes are usually measured by volume not weight.  The system uses “gō ” and “shō”. 

1 gō is 180 ml, and 10 gō is 1 shō. The traditional big bottle of sake is 1 shō (1800 ml) and the half size is 5 gō (900 ml). I must confess that MOST of my cooking for feast was measured in an empty sake bottle for feast. However, if you are looking for easier measurements see the table below. 

Metric Equivalents

1 Gô (合) = 180ml = 6 ounces

1 Shô or Masu (升) = 1.804 liters = 60.8 ounces

1 To (斗) = 18.04 liters = 608 ounces = 4.75 gallons

1 Koku (石) = 180.4 liters = 47 gallons

Unit Conversions

1 Shô or Masu (升) = 10 gô (合)

1 To (斗) = 10 shô or masu (升)

1 Hyô (俵) = 1 "bale" or "bag" of rice = 4 to (斗)

1 Koku (石) = 10 to (斗) = 2.5 hyô (俵)

More Conversions!

1 shô = 1.804 Liter = 1.906 quarts = 60.8 ounces = 7 3/4 cups

1 gô = 180ml = 6.08652 ounces = 3/4 cup
4. DASHI だし (BASIC STOCK)

Chip katsuo (bonito) into good size pieces, and when you have 1 shō worth, add 1 shō 5 gō of water and simmer. Sip to test and should remove the katsuo when it matches your taste. Too sweet is no good. The dashi may be boiled a second time and used. 
Interpreted Recipe
~ 4 pounds bonito
90.8 ounces of water

Add your bonito to your water and simmer until the broth matches your taste.  

In deference to modern taste, you may also want to add kombu (dried kelp) to your dashi.  

Dashi II

Yield: 6 cups =  12 servings at  ½ cup per serving

6 cups cold water
1 ounce dried kombu (kelp)
~1 cup dried katsuboshi (dried bonito)

Bring water and kombu just to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Remove from heat and remove kombu. Sprinkle bonito over liquid; let stand 3 minutes and, if necessary, stir to make bonito sink. Pour through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl.

Dashi III (Overnight Dashi)

4 cups water
10 x 10 cm square dried kombu (kelp)
1 cup of katsuobushi (bonito flake)

Pour the water into a container. Place the kelp and bonito flake into the container. Leave it over night (about 8 hours or more). Strain the kelp and bonito flake.

Storing Dashi Stock

Use straight away or leave in fridge for 1 day or in the freezer for about 3 weeks.

Bonus Recipe

What do you do with the left over bonito and kelp? Create furikake seasoning to go over your rice. 

Furikake (ふりかけ) is a dried Japanese seasoning which is sprinkled on top of cooked rice. Ingredients include a combination of dried fish flakes, dried egg, dried cod eggs, bonito flakes, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed and other flavorings.

Servings: 1 cup

½ oz reserved kombu
1 oz reserved katsuobushi slightly wet
1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seed
2 tsp toasted black sesame seed
Nori Seaweed
1 tsp sugar (add more to your taste)
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt) (add more to your taste)

Gather all the ingredients. Make sure the kombu and katsuobushi are well drained. Cut kombu into small pieces. Put kombu and katsuobushi in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until katsuobushi becomes dry and separated from each other. Cook on medium-low heat until the liquid is completely evaporated. Cook on medium-low heat until the liquid is completely evaporated.

Transfer the furikake to a tray or plate and let cool. Once it’s cooled, you can add toasted/roasted sesame seeds and nori seaweed. You can break katsuobushi into smaller pieces if you prefer.Put in a mason jar or airtight container and enjoy sprinkling over steamed rice or a seasoning for fish, chicken, soup, popcorn or whatever you fancy.  

This seasoning can be frozen up to a month, or refrigerated up to two weeks.