There is no better natural food enhancer when it comes to making dashi than kombu. You’ll read plenty of recipes on how to make dashi but without a class of Kombu, you get what you pay.
The ides of sea kombu is said to connect the “umami” flavours of the sea with whatever you intend to cook. Each time I use kombu, I start by pre-soaking my kombu, and I use only the finest. You must start with cold water, pre-soak the kombu, and taste the dashi in progress to see how it tastes.
The secret is how to use kombu, and most people use it as a sheet as seen on the photos. You soak it in the water raising the temperature to 60-70°C but not boiling it. The idea is to extrude the flavour compounds within the kombu. Then let it cool and rest and the flavours are extracted.
But the common mistake most Japanese cooks make is, they keep the kombu whole instead of slicing it. When you slice it, you get more volume, and hence more taste.
I always add the mirin first to see the sweetness level, then I add the sake to bring out the aromas and add a dimension of depth. I add at last the shoyu, and I use different types.
Categories: Life Cycles