If you have never made Japanese dashi stock before, here is a reason to try it. It’s incredibly easy, healthy and cooks in less than 30 minutes. Dashi is the quintessential stock or broth used in many Japanese style dishes, it’s key components of a sweet, umami tasting broth includes kombu (dried kelp) and bonito flakes (dried and smoked tuna shaved into thin flakes).
Left to right: flower shaped cut carrots, kombu (kelp), hon dashi (quick dashi powder), daikon (radish) Centre: bonito flakes
Dashi stock is so versatile to make that even if you only have kombu and no bonito flakes, you can make Dashi kombu which is a vegetarian stock.
My recipe for dashi stock is one I have developed over the years to my own taste preference, I use a combination of other vegetables, carrots, daikon (japanese radish) and sometimes mushroom stock to create an amazing full bodied soup that is full of flavour and minerals.
Left to right: ground ginger, minced garlic, minced shallots Centre: finely sliced spring onions
Right plate: minced beef and pork
My friend Zurina, who takes beautiful pictures, cooked this dish with me, the pictures for this post were taken by her. She wanted to learn a Japanese inspired dish that would be simple, healthy and tasty to cook for her young family – the criteria was that we used no soya sauce. And I wanted to also be sure that the dish, would have an adequate amount of easily digestible proteins that most children would find easy to eat and that her hubby would also enjoy (he loves his meat!).
Mince Marinade left to right: Japanese cooking sake, mirin, organic brown rice vinegar, roasted sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, toragashi powder(Japanese chilli powder)
I’ve used red miso on other occasions for dressings and marinades and find it to be superior in tenderising meat and giving it a robust flavour, I picked meat mince for size reasons (small meat pieces for small people) and it’s also a meat that is widely available and easy on the pocket.
Red miso – made from soya beans fermented with barley or other grains (such as rye), is composed of a higher percentage of beans and it’s resultant colour is from a longer fermentation period. It can range in colour from red to brown. Red miso has a full bodied, almost earthy flavour, it’s a perfect compliment for heavier tasting meats or dishes. (Do note that in some miso pastes, some grains such as – barley or rye are used as one of the legumes to culture a miso batch, and these grains have gluten, so do purchase a miso that is labelled gluten free if you are avoiding wheat).
Miso is also an all round free radical scavenger, this is due in part to the long fermentation process the soya beans go thru and it’s also a food that is high in phenolic acids – phytonutrients found to prevent and treat disease such as flus and colds, diabetes and even cancer. If you’d like to know more about the wonderful health benefits of miso please read here.
This was the plated end result of our cooking session! Pictures taken by Zurina Bryant Photography.
If you make it, tag us at #taystesg. Happy eating!
Dashi broth noodles topped with miso marinated mince
4 japanese size servings
½ cup bonito flakes
½ cup carrots
½ cup daikon
1.5 litres water
2 pieces kombu seaweed
1 teaspoon Hon Dashi powder (quick powdered dashi) or ½ cup mushroom stock from 6 soaked dried mushrooms
Salt to taste
250 g meat – (125 g beef mince, 125g pork mince)
(50 percent each of either, other combos – beef and chicken, chicken and pork)
Marinade for miso meat mince
1 tablespoon mirin and sake
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon red miso
½ tablespoon sesame seeds & sesame oil
4 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 cloves garlic minced
2 pieces shallots minced
3 stalks spring onions into finely sliced rings
½ tablespoon ground ginger (approximately half a thumb of ginger)
1 tablespoon mirin and sake and red miso
Fresh ground black pepper
Toragashi powder (optional) – Japanese chilli powder
Vegetables – one bunch of green spinach or other greens
4 packets/bunches of dried or fresh udon (not wheat free)
gluten free alternatives: 1 cup of steamed rice per portion (ochazuke style – rice in soup), fist full of mung bean noodles per bowl
Make your dashi stock
Add your bonito flakes, carrots, daikon and kombu to the 1.5 litres of boiling water.
Cook stock for 20 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon Hon dashi powder or ½ cup mushroom (mushroom stock is made by soaking 6 dried mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water for a few hours till the mushrooms rehydrate, the leftover water is the stock).
Boil for another 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
Prep your other ingredients whilst your stock is cooking
Mince garlic and shallots and using a ceramic grinder make your ground ginger.
Another easy way to make ground ginger is using a pestle and mortar or a cheese grater.
Slice your green onions into fine rings.
Wash and blanch spinach or greens in hot water, slice into 4cm lengths. Set aside.
Cook your dried noodles according to the package instructions, or if using fresh noodles blanch in hot water and set aside in serving bowls.
Marinade your meat, mix well together, starting with mirin and sake, followed by rice vinegar, red miso, sesame oil and sesame seeds.
Fry up your miso meat mince
Five minutes before your stock is about ready, fry up your mince. Heat your wok and add oil, and then fry shallots till slightly transparent, add garlic and ginger and fry till slight caramalisation begins. Add your spring onions fry a little more and then add in your meat mince, really work the mince into the wok, stirring in circular motions so it cooks evenly and breaks up into fine pieces, reducing the heat at this point will help with that.
When your mince looks fully cooked, add in your freshly ground pepper, and then another one tablespoon of red miso, mirin and sake, cook for a few more minutes till the meat mince has a bit of a sauce. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle in a dash or two of toragashi powder if you want a little spice, it lifts the sauce a little.
Arrange your spinach, carrots and daikon in neat rows, atop your noodles. Pour in your miso meat mince on the side so you can still see the vegetables. Add in your dashi soup broth till ¾ of your serving bowl. Serve!
Miso is a naturally fermented food as such, always lower your heat source when adding in the miso towards the end of cooking the dish to preserve some of the active enzymes.
The meat mince sauce is also delicious with the addition of tofu at the last step and served on a bed of rice.
Vegetarian option: make the dashi stock using kombu and vegetables. Substitute the meat mince for 2 boxes of firm tofu and reduce the overall cooking time till the tofu becomes slightly soft and mushy.