You’ve seen kelp on the beach, and maybe even tried some in your brownies, but have you ever tried kombu dashi? Not only is it healthy and packed full of nutrients, but it is also known for some incredible flavour-enhancing properties. Kombu has the unique ability to extract and boost the delicious flavours of other ingredients.
What is Kombu Dashi?
Kombu is the Japanese word for dried kelp (昆布). It is a sea vegetable that is often referred to as the “king of seaweeds” due to its delectable flavour and high nutritional value. On its own, kombu has a slightly salty texture and a distinct crunchiness.
This “king of seaweeds” is also naturally rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, and vitamins C, A, E, K, and B. Kombu also contains more iodine than any other type of seaweed, which helps ensure healthy thyroid function. In fact, kombu has over 95 times more iodine than nori and 4.4 times that of hijiki.
The word dashi simply means broth. So, kombu dashi means kelp broth; it is a delicious and indispensable part of Japanese cuisine.
Let’s Get Cooking!
Here’s how to prepare a flavourful, nutritious, and vegetarian kelp broth. These tips come from Just One Cookbook’s Kombu Dashi guide!
Kombu dashi can be prepared in two different ways:
Cold Brew and Hot Brew. Either method will work, it just comes down to preference and time! If you’re using strips of kelp, cut a few slits into them prior to brewing to help extract more flavour. Quick Tip: you do not need to wash the kelp or remove the white residue. The white compound, called mannitol, is part of what contributes to the umami.
For the cold brew method, simply add 1-2 kombu strips or ¼ cup kombu flakes to a pot of cold water, and let steep for 2-3 hours.
For a hot brew, simply place the kombu in a medium-sized pot with water. Turn on the heat and allow the flavour to infuse the water. Remove from heat just before the water reaches a full boil.
Kombu dashi is very simple to make, it’s healthy and delicious. Add some to your next order and try it for yourself!
Looking for other ways to use kombu? It can also be eaten in the same way as many different types of seaweed: soups, stir-fries, stews, wraps, cooked with beans… the list goes on! Check out Bon Appetit’s page for more kombu recipes!
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