Dashi is the MOTHER STOCK in Japanese cooking.  It is very light and unassuming but damn, it is delicious.  I think it brings the flavor of the sea into foods and really heightens whatever it is you are cooking.  Great stuff.  Dashi seems to be in almost every Japanese dish known to man!  You’re going to need to visit an Asian grocery store (or health food store, this is very macrobiotic) to pick up the konbu and the bonito flakes (these are the dried shavings of a salty, smoky mackerel…they’re also very popular in Japanese cooking…they kind of taste like bacon.).  While you are there you might find instant packets of dashi stock.  Sure you can buy those, but that’s cheating!  Besides, making dashi is easy as pie and it is so good for you!

4 C Water
4” Piece of dried konbu (kelp)
1 Small handful (about an ounce) of dried bonito flakes

Rinse off your kelp and put it in a stock pot with the cold water.  Turn on the heat to medium and just before it boils remove the kelp with tongs.  Quickly add the fish flakes and just as it reaches a boil turn off the heat.  When the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the pot, strain the stock.  That’s it!  I freeze my leftovers so that I always have some ready to go for a quick bowl of miso soup.

Yields 4 cups.