In keeping with my New Year's commitments, I'm trying to improve my eating - I know, cliche city. But if you are as cliche as I, then I think this homemade Dashi recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop books + website will be right up your alley... especially if you are a miso or udon hog.
You will need:
1/3 Cup wakame
1.5 Cups bonito flakes
3 Tablespoons of Tamari, plus and extra dash for the tofu
1.5 Tablespoons of coconut sugar
I also tossed out my Kikkoman's in favor of a bottle of Tamari, as well as some white miso paste. One of my kids' favorite meals is simple ramen soup (yes, the packaged kind) with tons of spinach and fried tofu added in. So all I was going to do here was ditch the MSG-laden flavor packets and use this homemade Dashi as my soup base. But would it deliver?
This recipe will feed a family of 4-6 (five in my case) so adjust accordingly if this is just for two. Even if I'm making this for myself during the week, I'll make extra to keep in the fridge a few days. It is THAT GOOD.
First you bring 12 cups of water to a light boil. Then add your wakame and SIMMER for 10 minutes.
Next add your bonito flakes and simmer for 5 more minutes, cooking any veggies and mushrooms that you want to include in the soup in a separate pot - this is because you're going to strain out the bonito flakes (trust me, you will want to) and wakame from the Dashi, and it would be impossible to separate the veggies you want from the bonito flakes you don't.
Meanwhile, fry up your tofu. I use firm or extra firm tofu and put a glug of olive oil along with a glug of Tamari (or whatever soy sauce you have) over medium in a non-stick frying pan. Fry them until they start to brown.
After the bonito flakes have simmered their 5 minutes with the wakame, strain out the large flakes and wakame with a spaghetti strainer placed over a bowl large enough to catch all of that delicious broth. Clean out your pot, and then strain the broth again through a fine mesh strainer to catch the last bits of bonito flakes.
Next add the Tamari and coconut sugar to the broth - stir it in while the broth is nice and hot.
Since I was cooking ramen in mine, I added it back to the stove, brought it up to a boil, and cooked my noodles for three minutes.
Then I added in my veggies (snow peas, spinach, and scallions with oyster mushrooms), topped it with the tofu, and everyone ate the heck out of it. No more MSG!
If you're making miso instead of ramen, mix a heavy teaspoon of white miso paste with about a teaspoon of hot water and whisk. Then pour that into the soup along with a slightly softer tofu, and perhaps reserve a couple of nice wakame pieces for the soup.
If you're using the broth to make udon soup, cook the udon noodles in the Dashi just like I did the ramen noodles. I actually think the Dashi favors miso and udon soups much more than ramen, but even with ramen noodles it is just delicious! You could also throw some bok choy in there or leeks or any other favorite soupy veggies along with poached or fried fish and it would be crazy good.
Thanks for looking, and happy cooking!