This week's recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen
This week, Food writer Sonoko Sakai explores dashi, a foundation of Japanese cooking:
At the heart of so much of Japanese cooking is the fragrant broth called dashi. And at the heart of dashi are the delicate pink petals of katsuobushi, shaved flakes of dried bonito fish.
When steeped with the dried seaweed called konbu, katsuobushi gives dashi its irresistible aroma and deep umami flavor. Despite being made in minutes, the stock is the foundation of many Japanese dishes — miso soup, salad dressings, sauces for noodles, even meat stews.
"Dashi is like the key actor in a movie," says 83-year-old Chobei Yagi, whose 275-year-old store, Tokyo's Yagicho Honten, specializes in katsuobushi and other dried foods. "But dashi always plays the supporting role, never the star."
This week's recipes include:
- Bonito flakes and konbu seaweed dashi
- Miso soup with crispy age tofu, nappa cabbage and green onions
- Ohitashi (spinach with dashi dressing)
- Nikujaga (braised sukiyaki-style beef with potatoes and onions)
- Molasses cookies from Milk
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo: Nikujaga-braised sukiyaki-style beef with potatoes and onions. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times