Shiitake mushrooms and konbu are arguably some of the most important ingredients in plant based Japanese cuisine. Why? because they can be used in so many different ways. Not only konbu (dried kelp) by itself and not only shiitake (by itself), but also together when they are used to make dashi. In this post and video, i’ll show you two simple ways that you can make it. Chances are you may not know of the second one. Read and watch to learn more.
Shiitake Konbu dashi しいたけ昆布だし
interested in plant based japanese cuisine?
if so, this could be one of the most ingredients used in your japanese cooking
dashi is a multipurpose stock that can be made from a variety of ingredients.
the katsuobushi, while flavorful and complex, doesn’t need to be used for all types of japanese cooking.
like i mentioned dashi has many different uses and is something you could use almost every day of the week if you wanted to.
that’d be pretty hardcore!
the synergy of konbu and shiitake
especially when it comes to umami and improving the flavor of your foods.
so when you combine the two, the umami compounds of each ingredient work together and can significantly increase the umami power.
much more so than they do individually.
but now that you know that, the good news is if you’re trying to eat more plant based foods, you dont need katsuobushi to make dashi
and that using these together can drastically increase the power of umami, what will you make next?
i included a few ideas below to get you started.
what can you make with shiitake konbu dashi?
almost any dish that calls for ‘dashi’ can also use shiitake konbu dashi.
- nimono (japanese simmered foods)
- shirumono (japanese soups) like miso soup
- nabemono (japanese hot pot)
- mentsuyu (noodle soup base)
- dressings (japanese style)
- takikomigohan (seasoned rice)
- ankakedonburi (thickened dashi soy rice bowl)
- ohitashi (soaked vegetables)
- agedashi tofu (fried tofu)
- and many many many more dishes!
note- if you’re used to katsuobushi, it may be noticeable in the dish, so certain dishes lend themselves better to the substitution than others.
a simple bit of advice is, if you’re going to be using soy sauce or other strong flavors like miso, you’ll be less likely to notice. but if you’re making something lightly seasoned like takikomigohan or osuimono (dashi soup) it will be more obvious. so i’d encourage you to experiment and see what flavors you like best, that’s the best way for you to learn!
can you use fresh shiitake mushrooms to make dashi?
no unfortunately you can’t.
the reason is the umami is trapped inside the living cells when fresh.
dehydrating them (completely drying them) and rehydrated in water.
this causes the cells to lose their structure and releases all their umami goodness out into the universe.
how to store your shiitake konbu dashi
because there are no preservatives it’s best to use the dashi either the same day or within 1-2 days or it may spoil.
the good thing is that if you make a lot or have leftovers, it freezes well.
i usually store it in glass jars and use within a week or two.
how do you use the leftover shiitake and konbu after making dashi?
in japanese there’s a phrase もったいない ‘mottainai’ or to be wasteful in english.
if you’re going to make dashi, you have the added benefit of being able to reuse the raw ingredients for other foods.
in this case the konbu and shiitake.
once you’ve made dashi with the shiitake and the konbu, they can be called ‘dashigara’ だしがら literally ‘dashiempty ‘.
if you can’t use it right away just freeze them in a freezer ziplock.
other ways you can recycle these ingredients are in any soups, stews, or simmered foods.
while they may not pack as much flavor as they initially did, prior to making dashi, they’ll still have a good amount of nutrition available.
and chances are if you’re getting decent quality shiitake mushrooms and konbu, you may know that these ingredients aren’t necessarily ‘cheap’
so get your moneys worth and consider saving the dashigara konbu and shiitake for another dish!
want to learn more about plant based japanese cooking?
get on the waitlist for the new plant based japanese cooking mini course.
see you on the inside!