Oatmeal Dashi

Two years ago, almost to the day, I did an item on using dashi, the Japanese fish broth, in oatmeal. At the time, I didn’t have a source of ‘real’ dashi, so I used bottled dashi granules. Now I find that Huckleberry’s, our local organic store, carries the fixings — Emerald Cove Pacific Kombu, and Eden Dried Shaved Bonito Flakes (katsuobushi).

There are many recipes for making dashi out on the web. Umami Nation even did some experiments with the best way to extract flavor from the kombu. No Recipes has a recipe that’s pretty much standard. I soaked my kombu and katsuobushi, plus a handful of assorted dried mushrooms, overnight in the fridge, brought it to a slow boil, simmered for ten minutes, and strained it. The resulting dashi was a lot milder than the batch I made with the granules, two years ago, and it didn’t taste nearly as fishy. What I didn’t use in the oatmeal I used to make various soups throughout the week. After making first and second dashi, I buried the used kombu and katsuobushi in the hops bed, but I’m thinking that next time I’ll use the bonito flakes as an oatmeal extender. Most of the flavor is gone, but it might add an interesting texture.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of dashi, salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Very good, in a mild, understated sort of Japanese way. It needed salt. I also added a measured teaspoon of soy sauce. Probably was a little too much.

Rating: *****

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