Dashi – the Cornerstone of Japanese Cuisine

Japan Centre has the essentials.

DashiOh, Japan Centre has dashi – fantastic! Um, what is dashi? My dear reader may not have come across this iconic Japanese ingredient unless they cook Japanese dishes at home. Japanese foods are simple to prepare and healthy too. All one needs are a few essential ingredients, and that’s where dashi comes in.

Dashi is a stock and it’s very often the element which deters the home cook from attempting a Japanese meal. But one doesn’t have to make this base from scratch. Japan Centre has convenient packs of well-crafted dry dashi mix. The re-sealable pouches contain ‘teabags’ of powdered stock so all one needs to do is add to water, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. The dashi is then ready to use.

Kayanoya Original Vegetable Stock Powder is made from the highest-quality vegetables, grown in Japan. This mixture of dehydrated vegetables is a naturally rich source of umami (savoury flavour) with a touch of sweetness—perfect for vegetarian and vegan dishes. Use in soups, pastas, salads, and stir-fried, grilled and grain-based dishes. The rich umami enhances any meat and poultry. A great all-rounder. There is also a shrimp stock powder which is perfect for all kinds of seafood dishes, and they don’t have to be just Japanese.

Kayanoya dashi stocks are easy to store, quick and simple to use and they add depth of flavour to any meal. They add authenticity to your home-prepared Japanese meals, but tasting them will likely inspire one’s own creations. A delicious meal could quickly be rustled up with just some leftover seafood, veggies or meat. Add pasta or noodles and a sachet of dashi powder and dinner is ready!

Rafutei is an Okinawan pork dish and takes advantage of Kayanoya dashi vegetable stock.


Okinawa pork

1Kg boneless pork belly in one piece
300 ml sake
300 ml made Kayanoya dashi stock
60g granulated sugar
250ml light soy sauce
3 slices of fresh ginger



Put the pork in a deep, thick-bottomed saucepan. Fill the pot with enough water to generously cover the meat, and bring to a boil. Cover, and continue to gently simmer for one hour. Ensure the pork remains covered with water: add more boiling water to top up if needed.

Remove pork from the pan and allow to cool. Cut into slices or cubes.

Bring the dashi stock and all the remaining ingredients to a simmer and add the pork. Continue to cook on a low heat for a couple of hours, turning the pork in the stock every 20 minutes or so. Place the pork in individual bowls and pour over some of the stock. This can be reduced if desired. Serve with seasonal vegetables and a bowl of steamed rice.

Visit Japan Centre here for more information on these and other delicious Japanese products