What better alternative to bone broth than the Japanese mother of all broths, the mineral rich dashi soup. It is smoky, flavorful and very healthy. It’s quicker to prepare and perfect if you are a vegetarian.
It is the base of many preparations in Japanese cuisine such as udon soup, miso soup (just add miso paste), ramen noodle soup or shabu shabu – the excellent broth-based “fondue” in which you cook thin slices of Kobe beef. Instead of hours -if not days- of simmering your bones, dashi soup takes only 45 minutes to 1 hour to prepare.
All you need are two ingredients: kombu also known as kelp, a wonderfully mineral rich algae that is sold dried, and bonito flakes which are very thin slices of tuna that have been dried, fermented and smoked.
Kombu is an edible brown seaweed mostly harvested in Japan and Korea. Did you know it is also the base for preparing kombucha tea in Japan? It is high in calcium, iodine, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B,C,D and E. It is unusually rich in glutamic acid, an amino-acid essential in brain and muscle functions. It contains “fucoidan”, a sulfated polysaccharide that can protect from harmful gamma radiation. The most widely consumed kombu or Laminaria Japonica contains another polysaccharide called PLG which has demonstrated anti-clotting properties..
Kombu is very rich in fiber. I do not throw it away once the dashi is ready. I just eat it on the spot, or cut it in small pieces to add to my salads.
A little warning however! Be ready for a rather strong fishy odor in your kitchen as you prepare it. The good news is that it’s ready quickly.
You can buy kombu and bonito flakes in most specialty shops.
The ingredients for 6 to 8 servings and the instructions are as follows:
– Take 6 to 8 large pieces of kombu from your pack
– Put 10-12 cups of filtered water in a pot
– Let the kombu soften for 30 minutes in that water
– Bring the water to boil and soon as it boils, remove from the heat source and get rid of the kombu (I eat them)
– Add 3 cups of bonito flakes in the broth, make sure the pot is covered and let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and let simmer for another 15 minutes
– Strain the soup, it is ready to serve.
If you want to make miso soup, add 2 to 4 tbsps. of miso paste (fermented soy beans or other type of foods) into the soup and 1 to 2 cups of cubed silken tofu, which is an excellent protein source. Serve sprinkled with scallions.
It is also excellent when you want to detox as a drink you can enjoy warm or cold.