Dashi

The basic taste of Japanese cooking is primarily composed through the extraction of flavours from 3 important ingredients. These are “Dashi” fish bouillon, “Kobu” (seaweed), and “Mirin” (Japanese cooking sake).All three ingredients can be purchased in Copenhagen.As a general rule, you can say that the core of Japanese cooking is based on taste extracted from fish.

Today, it is easy to achieve this taste by using fish bouillon; however, the taste was originally derived from various species of fish, the most famous of which being “Bonito”. The process of extracting the original “Dashi” is done by boiling shaved, dried and preserved Bonito.This is called “Katsuo bushi”, and it is often simply referred to as dried fish.Katsuo bushi resembles wood shavings and they are available in transparent bags.It has become more common for ordinary people to use fish bouillon, since it can produce a taste that is nearly as good as Bonito.

Much like in western gastronomy, where the taste is extracted from fatty meats such as beef, chicken, fish, and shellfish, the Japanese flavours are derived from Bonito.In comparison to the extraction of the western taste, the base for the Japanese flavour is leaner and healthier because it is based on fish.This is of course a trademark of Japanese gastronomy – that the food should be light, healthy, and natural.Salt is of course also an important ingredient so as to accentuate the taste of the natural ingredients.

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