Dashi is a soup stock that is popular in Japanese cuisine. It is the base of many of their soups and provides them with a savory or distinctive umami flavor.
This is also mixed with flours of certain grilled foods that are typically eaten in Japan. What are its ingredients? How does it benefit health?
Dashi: origin and ingredients
This soup stock has been in use in Japanese cuisine since ancient times. It might be around for more than 1500 years. Its importance lies in the fact that it was the unique and strong flavor of this dashi made from kombu or kelp that Kikunae Ikeda identified as the fifth flavor of umami in 1908.
This is due to its glutamic acid content that stimulates the specific human taste receptors for it.
To make dashi, water, one requires water, kombu or kelp, and bonito fish flakes. Firstly, water is taken in a large container, and to this kombu algae and bonito fish flakes are added.
The bonito is in a preserved and fermented form. One can also use tuna fish flakes or dried anchovies or sardines for this purpose. Bring this water to near-boiling. Cool and strain the liquid. The preserved fish is high in sodium inosinate.
One can also add shiitake mushrooms or niboshi (infant dried sardines) to this stock.
1 cup of around 233 grams of dashi has 37 calories, 0 carbs, 0 sugars, o dietary fiber, and 5.3 grams of proteins. Fats are 1.9 grams and saturated fats are 0.5 grams.
Monounsaturated fat is 0.6 grams and polyunsaturated fats are 0.3 grams. It has cholesterol amounting to 2.3 mg. Sodium is 363 mg and potassium is 336 mg.
Additionally, it has vitamin C, A, calcium, iodine, and iron. There is no vitamin D but there is some vitamin B6, cobalamin, and magnesium in it.
Thus, dashi has a lot of minerals, vitamins, proteins, and fats of the healthy type. It is the basis of soups such as the miso soup, and noodle soup that people in Japan famously consume.
Dashi can elevate mood and relieve mental fatigue. The algae kombu in it can lower blood pressure and is therefore good for patients with high blood pressure.
This also helps to ease the strain on the heart and prevent heart diseases. They improve blood circulation and also assist in boosting cognitive function and memory.
Its iodine content is good for thyroid function. Calcium helps in bone strength and the other minerals and vitamins are good for blood formation and aid the clotting mechanism of the body.
If shiitake mushrooms are added to the stock, it gets additional immune-boosting power. This mushroom also has a role in the reduction of bad cholesterol in the blood and hence can keep the arteries and heart healthy.
There are claims that it can slow the aging process and also help a slimmer to lose weight.
Warm dashi can soothe sore throats and also aid in improving the digestive capability of the gut. Thus, it can be an important flavorful ingredient in everyday cooking and the daily diet.