Many Japanese soups and noodle dishes require dashi to make their stock, and this makes Japanese cooking difficult for vegetarians (dashi contains dried bonito fish flakes). However, you may find that this simple recipe is sufficient to provide great broth and stock flavours for your Japanese cooking adventures.
How to Make Vegetarian Dashi | Japanese Stock
2 postcard-sized pieces of kombu – seaweed available from Asian grocery shops
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 l water
1 heaped tspn light miso paste
Soak the kombu and mushrooms in the water for at least 1 hour, then heat slowly in a saucepan over a low-moderate heat. Bring the water to almost a simmer, and then when the kombu begins to float, remove it.
Increase the heat and boil rapidly for 2 minutes and remove from the heat. Allow the liquid to cool a little, and stir in the miso. When it is cooler, remove the mushrooms (you can retain and use in another dish), and strain the stock.
It will store in the fridge for several days, or the stock can be frozen.