The first time I made dashi, I was shocked by how easy it was. Just cover kombu with water, and let it sit. That's it. No chopping, no simmering, no skimming and, usually, no straining. I've included both cold- and hot-water methods—the cold-water method produces a better-tasting dashi, with a fuller flavor; but when you haven't been able to plan ahead, the hot-water method will work fine. After you get into the habit, you might do as I do and reserve a big mason jar specifically for dashi.

Makes 2 quarts


  • Four 2-inch squares kombu (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 quarts cold water


    Combine the kombu, mushrooms and water in a large container and let stand for at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours. It gets stronger as it sits, and the taste can vary depending on what type of kombu you use, so with a few rounds you'll find your preference. If you plan to let it stand for more than 4 hours, place it in the refrigerator, with a lid or a piece of plastic wrap.

    Alternatively, bring the water to a bare simmer in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the kombu and mushrooms and let stand for 30 minutes.

    Discard the kombu. Pick out the mushrooms and trim off and discard the stems. Reserve the mushroom caps for another use. You may want to strain the dashi through a fine-mesh sieve, or a cheesecloth, if there are small pieces of kombu left behind, but I rarely do this.

    Stored in an airtight container, the dashi will keep for 2 or 3 days.

    Text excerpted from BOWL © 2016, by Lukas Volger. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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