Do you know that there is a shortcut of making dashi, without using MSG loaded granulated store bought dashi products? You can make homemade powdered dashi easily on your own, and reduce the time and efforts of making dashi for each meal.
This method is used in Japan since the introduction of grinders. The idea is easy. Grind kombu, niboshi, or katsuobushi using a blender, food processor, or coffee mill until it turns to fine powder. Use the powder when recipes call for dashi. Use about 1 tsp for 1 cup of cold water, and boil. No need for filtering or straining.
Drawback of this method is when you make dashi broth using this homemade powder, you will have very fine undissolved powder sunk at the bottom. However, the powder is, particularly in case of niboshi, calcium rich and nutritious.
You could filter or strain the broth, if you want to remove the powder, but making that effort beats the purpose of grinding the ingredients. The small amount of residue at the bottom of the soup bowl doesn’t really bother me, if I can save time and efforts each meal.
Dashi broth made from the powdered dashi tastes much better than store bought granulated dashi products. The powder should be kept in an air-tight container and stored in refrigerator.
Below is one of the dashi recipes. But you can experiment and make your own blend of powdered dashi. One caution is that if you use too much kombu powder, the broth may turn slimy.
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Karina, Submitted on 2014/12/10 at 2:51 pm
Very interesting post!
If I’m using katsuobushi instead of niboshi, do I have to fry them too?
Yuki, Submitted on 2014/12/10 at 3:05 pm | In reply to Karina.
Yes, fry katsuobushi as well. When you dry roast katsuobushi in a pan, you can remove moisture effectively, so that you can make finer powder easily. Just be careful not to burn.
Evie, Submitted on 2015/03/03 at 12:37 am
I have a pack of anchovies in the fridge and I think I opened it 6 months ago. Do you know what is the shelf life? I want to try your recipe but am not sure if I should buy another pack. They are quite expensive.
Evie, Submitted on 2015/03/03 at 12:38 am
Also, what would be the shelf life of this dashi powder once made? Do I keep it in the fridge or just room temperature? thanks again!
Yuki, Submitted on 2015/03/03 at 9:44 am | In reply to Evie.
Anchovies? If you mean dried bonito, you can use refrigerated dried bonito from 6 months ago. Even though the flavor deteriorates after opening the package, dried bonito is preserved food to begin with. If it looks fine, and smells like dried bonito, you can use it.
Yuki, Submitted on 2015/03/03 at 9:54 am | In reply to Evie.
I recommend to keep it in the refrigerator, even though it won’t spoil easily. The shelf life would be shorter than the shelf life of the ingredients, as the powder is exposed to the air more than solid dried ingredients. If you keep the powderd dashi in a air tight container and store in the fridge, it would last 1~2 months.
Evie, Submitted on 2015/03/14 at 11:37 pm | In reply to Yuki.
Hi Yuki, I double checked on my package and it does say niboshi in Japanese but the English translated as anchovies. I did some research and I think they are either called baby sardines or anchovies. Either way, do you have an idea of how long niboshi keeps in the fridge? I used it to make some soup about half a year ago and they just became forgotten until I saw your recipe. Thanks for your reply!
Yuki, Submitted on 2015/03/15 at 1:34 pm | In reply to Evie.
You are correct. Niboshi is certainly described as dried anchovies in English. On the other hand, katsuobushi is bonito.
About the expiration date of niboshi, one of the manufacturers recommends to finish using the product within a month after purchasing, if the product is kept in a refrigerator in a tightly sealed container. However, many Japanese including myself can’t finish using niboshi within such a short period of time. I personally wouldn’t consume niboshi kept over 6 months, but I might use 3 months old niboshi. It really depends, but there are some points to check. If you notice rancid smell (something sour type smell), or if they turn yellowish (they are bluish when fresh), you may want to get rid of them, because they don’t taste good any longer.
One of the general complaints I have on imported Japanese food products is the expiration date. It is often hidden under nutritional facts or ingredients list labels, so that I can’t see them. Importers may think Americans can’t read the information anyway, as it’s written in Japanese, but still I think it shouldn’t be hidden. That’s one of the reasons I tend to make Japanese food by myself rather than buying from stores.
By the way, if you do gardening, old niboshi can make wonderful compost.
Elli Sanders, Submitted on 2015/12/01 at 1:44 am
Do you usually have to buy niboshi online?
Yuki, Submitted on 2015/12/01 at 10:05 am | In reply to Elli Sanders.
I usually buy niboshi at a Korean grocery store in my area, because they carry wide variety of them, and cheaper than buying at a Japanese grocery store. Chinese and other Asian grocery stores may have them too.