Alternate dashi methods

Kyou
Joined: 19 Dec 2010
User offline. Last seen 3 years 38 weeks ago.

I often find that I just can't be bothered to take out a pan to make dashi for a single, small bowl of something that only I'll be eating. So, I've been pondering some alternatives.

With a large water dispenser which produces water hot enough to leave quite a painful burning sensation and red mark throughout the day and night and a microwave and rice cooker (with one of those switches without any actual settings) at my disposal, I feel there must be some way to make small portions of dashi without the stove.

Thus, I've been thinking that dashi could be made by simply steeping some kombu and/or katsuobushi for a while in a bowl of hot water from the dispenser cup noodle / tea style. Yes, this is an obviously cup-noodle-demographic-minded plot; I'm alright with that. In fact, if shirataki can be prepared using a similar method, I'm all for it (:O?). Naturally, instant dashi is an option, but.........
...
...
Meh. I tend to have a lot of kombu and katsuobushi, so....

If anyone has any input on this or any other "cup noodle method" lazy approaches, I'd love to read them. Quantity and steep time estimations are particularly welcome.

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Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 20 weeks ago.
Re: Alternate dashi methods

Try the cold water method that Maki describes here:
http://www.justhungry.com/2003/11/japanese_basics.html

You can make several portions at a time to eat over several days this way.

Kyou
Joined: 19 Dec 2010
User offline. Last seen 3 years 38 weeks ago.
Re: Alternate dashi methods

Yeah, I've looked into that method before. However, the process is a bit under-detailed and sometimes problematic for my case.

The first issues is that overnight would probably be defined at around 11 hours for me (from the time I prepare it to the first chance I get to strain it) and unknown for maki. The second is that the article uses phrases like "a piece of kombu" and "some bonito flakes" for a jug of water; it's not very specific. Refrigerator space is a commodity, and I don't use it enough to warrant thawing and re-freezing a jug for a bowl each time. Thus, I would probably make around 4 cups of water in a plastic cottage cheese sort of container for each batch, which could be used quickly and stored in the refrigerator.

So, basically, I'm happy with the method if someone could estimate the area of kombu and generic amount of katsuobushi for about 11 hours in 4 cups of water.

However, if anyone has any ideas, I'd also like some specs for the cup noodle method (steeping in epic hot water from the dispenser) as well in case I need to make some extra dashi some day. And, also, anything else related to the cup noodle or other useful methods of preparation (this could be considered an all-round unorthodox/dashi/cup noodle or otherwise interesting method thread). Particularly, I wonder if a short cup noodle method soak or time in a microwave could be a valid alternative to blanching shirataki.

Anything remotely along similar lines is also welcome here.

Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 20 weeks ago.
Re: Alternate dashi methods

You yourself said "Meh. I tend to have a lot of kombu and katsuobushi, so...."

Does that mean you tend to own lots of kombu & katsuobushi or that you tend to use lots - presumably because you like a strong taste. If the latter, surely it won't matter what other people would suggest as you'd probably increase the amount to your own tastes.

My initial suggestion would be to try a 4 inch piece of kombu for 4 cups of water. I've only used the cold water method for kombu stocks, the katsuobushi I add later when heating it up.
For the katsuobushi, I just use a 'fill your own ' tea bag or muslin pouch (which I empty to make furikake). You can use it a couple of times for dashi. I've honestly no idea how much that is - 3 or 4 heaped teaspoons, perhaps?

The problem with your proposed water dispenser method is that you want the kombu to 'cook' in relatively cool water and once it has heated to near boiling point, that's when you remove the kombu and start cooking/steeping the bonito flakes.
Perhaps you could try making extra strong kombu broth with cold water and reserve it, then steep a heaped teaspoon of katsuobushi into half a cup of the hot water that burns your skin for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain and combine with the extra strong kombu stock (you could always warm this up in the microwave).

To be honest, the 'lazy' approach I use is to add some dashi concentrate from a bottle to water poured from a kettle. You can get some miso pastes with this kind of dashi concentrate already incorporated. Simple.

Kyou
Joined: 19 Dec 2010
User offline. Last seen 3 years 38 weeks ago.
Re: Alternate dashi methods

Actually, I just have a lot around because they keep well and have a variety of uses beyond dashi.

Yeah, 4" for 4 cups is what I generally use. If that's fine for 11-12-hours overnight, that sounds good.

Those fillable bags seem perfect for this sort of thing, since it simplifies straining and reuse. Also, the idea of the strong kombu batch mixed with the quick katsuobushi bit would be an excellent way to keep dashi containers relatively small while also making ratio changes easier (e.g. change the strength of the kombu without affecting the strength of the katsuobushi or vice versa). Good points. Thank you.

Hmm...And, now that I think about it further, shirataki would be just as plausible to prepare by simply submerging it in enough water to make separating the block easy.

anon.
Re: Alternate dashi methods

Kyou, I found udon bowls that come with bonito flakes and dried seaweed to put in after cooking is done. The flavor isn't as good as broth with kaeshi and good dashi. Also, my homemade dashi seems to taste best after it sits for a day. But I am very interested in your results if you tried this!

Junko
Re: Alternate dashi methods

Make a large batch of dash and pour them into ice cube trays to freeze them overnight. Store them in freezer bags. Lasts one month.

Junko

Rebecca Bourke
Re: Alternate dashi methods

Sorry if this is slightly unrelated, but I am wondering how long an open bag of bonito flakes stored in the fridge lasts? I have one that has been in the fridge for maybe two or three months, and am wondering if I can still use it...

maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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User offline. Last seen 8 weeks 2 days ago.
Re: Alternate dashi methods

Bonito flakes are like wood shavings, and are very absorbent...so they may have picked up 'refrigerator odors'. If that's the case (give them a sniff) you probably won't get good flavor out of those flakes anymore. If they smell ok they should be ok to use. Next time though, make sure the bag is well sealed, and you can store it in a cool dry dark place outside of the fridge. Unopened bags can be stored in the freezer for long term storage (but not too long...maybe a year).

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