How to Make Amazing Vegan Dashi (The #1 Guide to Kombu Broth)

This post is all about a type of dashi broth, bet yet, a vegan dashi. Now a traditional dashi doesn’t fall into our vegan diet plans, but this kombu dashi recipe or Kombu broth does! This is a delicate broth commonly used to deliver a moderate umami flavor. If you use this recipe correctly, you will be able to enhance the flavor of many other dishes you make.  Read this post through to learn about this kombu broth and how to make kombu dashi like a pro!

How to make vegan dashi, the perfect kombu dashi recipe! Hot dashi broth in a pot with a ladle.

This recipe is for you if…..

  • You are a vegan or vegetarian
  • You are looking for a healthier alternative
  • You want to know how to make a delicious kombu dashi recipe
  • If you are looking to learn about kombu broth

What is Kombu?

To understand how to make vegan dashi, we must first understand the ingredients we are working with.  As you may well know, kombu is the main ingredient in this kombu dashi recipe. But what is kombu?

Kombu is a variety of bull kelp that is found in the Hokkaido region of Japan. This ingredient is eaten or used in cooking all over eastern Asia, and the world for that matter. Kombu (from Japanese) may also be referred to as daisma (from Korean) or haidai (from Chinese). This flavor rich kelp is often eaten “as is” but is more commonly used as a base flavor in a kombu dashi.

How to make vegan dashi. The ultimate  kombu dashi recipe close up of pot with spoon

Kombu gives dashi well rounded flavor. But why? Kombu contains glutamic acid, which brings umami flavor to a kombu broth giving it body. Umami is the flavor in food that corresponds to the flavor of glutamates.  This flavor is often described as indescribable!

 Cooking with Kombu Myths

Cooking kombu comes with its own set of rules that have a lot of grey area.  Here are the most common myths about cooking with this dried seaweed.

Myth # 1- Never boil kombu

You will hear people say that kombu is not to be boiled. This is partially correct. You can boil kombu, just not for long periods of time. If kombu is boiled for long periods of time, large bubbles will appear, and it will begin to secrete a liquid that is not very tasty.  One safe way is to bring the Kombu broth to a boil, then remove from heat.

Myth #2 – Always wash your kombu

Kombu is, generally, a clean product by the time it gets to the consumer now days. You will notice a white powdery substance on your kombu. This substance is called mannitol. This is a huge source of the umami flavor the kombu gives off. Washing this would be counterproductive.

Myth # 3 You can’t eat kombu

This is just straight up wrong. You can eat kombu. People eat kombu all the time. Save your kombu after you make your vegan dashi and utilize it in a soup, salad, or maybe even sushi.

What is Kombu Broth or Kombu Dashi?

Now that we know what kombu is, we can start to understand this kombu dashi recipe. Kombu Dashi, is a type of Japanese stock that is made from kombu. This type of dashi is a mellow and “gentle” broth, that is among the easiest stocks you can make. Kombu dashi is perfect for vegans or vegetarians because it is totally plant based.

Besides being a great flavor enhancer, kombu can be a great part of your plant based diet. This health- promoting ingredient a huge spectrum of vitamins from A to E, literally. It is also rich in protein, magnesium, calcium, and other nutrients. Needless to say, kombu broth should be apart of our diets!

Kombu dashi recipe. Pulling out a piece of kombu from the kombu broth with a pair of chopsticks.

Four types of kombu

Ma Kombu- High Grade, usually used in fine dining restaurants. Gives of a delicate sweet flavor.

Rausu Kombu- This type of kelp is a good choice for making kombu broth. It has wide thin leaves making it easy to extract the flavor.

Rishiri Kombu- Harder texture than Ma kombu but has a deeper flavor. Most say this is the best kombu for making a kombu dashi recipe.

Hidaka Kombu- Soft texture and dark color. This kombu is easy to work with and is sweeter than Rishiri variety but not the Ma kombu.

How to Make Vegan Dashi

There are two ways to make a kombu broth or vegan dashi, and they are completely different. I use a cross between the two because of the ingredients I add. I fall into my own grey area, I guess. For simply extracting flavor from kombu use one of these two methods.

Cold Method

This method is also called Mizudashi, or cold brew. This method is good for someone who has things to do and doesn’t have time to cook. This does require more time though, so you have to plan ahead. All you need to do is place your kombu strips in water and let sit for 2 or more hours, you can even go over night!

Hot Method

Nidashi, or hot brew, is for people who want their dashi here and now. To use this method, you simply place kombu in a pot with water and simmer the flavor out! If your water boils, be sure to reduce the heat so it doesn’t over boil. Be sure to skim the surface as needed to remove the impurities that rise to the top.

how to make vegan dashi or kombu broth.

Here’s a little sneak peak …… read to the end to get the full scoop!!

Kombu Dashi Recipe

Kombu (roughly 2 sheets)

Dried Shiitakes

Water

Instructions

  1. Soak kombu, as is, in water overnight or at least 8 hours.
  2. After kombu is soaked, add the dried shiitakes, kombu, and soaking water into a stock pot and heat over high heat.
  3. Heat the liquid until it comes to a boil, this should take about 25-30 minutes. Once the liquid comes to a boil, take off the heat IMMEDIATLEY.  Let the kombu broth cool down at room temperature.
  4. Once cool, strain through a fine mesh strainer. That’s it! You’re ready to eat!

Now that you know how to make this kombu dashi recipe, lets look into how to use this awesome kombu broth.  Keep reading on to see all the ways you can implement this kombu dashi recipe in your recipes at home!

How to Use Vegan Dashi

I tend to use this kombu dashi recipe in excess at times. I simply like adding this flavor to a lot of different foods! This kombu dashi recipe can be versatile if you know how to use it. This kombu dashi recipe isn’t supposed to be the highlight of a dish, but it can add huge support if used right. Here are a couple ways to use this in traditional and nontraditional ways.

  • Miso Soup
  • Ramen Broths
  • Use it in pasta sauces
  • Braise vegetables in it
  • Salad vinaigrettes or dressings
  • Use it as a dipping sauce
  • Use a poaching liquid
  • Use in a casserole
  • The list goes on and on!

If you want to explore what fruits and vegetables are in season, check out my produce guide!

Seasonal Produce Guide

Kombu Broth Ingredients

This kombu broth is so easy! Just a few ingredients and a bit of time and you will have the ultimate base to flavor whatever you want! Here’s what you will need!

Water

Definitely going to need this ingredient! It’s a deal breaker!

Kombu

Kombu lends the umami flavor and base profile of this broth. Don’t use too much, but don’t skimp either!

Dried Shiitakes

You don’t have to use this ingredient, but I recommend you do! If your buying kombu, I bet they have these as well. The dried shiitakes add more umami flavor and bring a level of richness that is hard to find elsewhere.

Kombu dashi recipe ingredients. Dried shiitakes and kombu in basket.

Kombu Dashi FAQs

  1. How do you store kombu and dried shiitakes?

    These are both dried products, so they have a long shelf life! To keep them as fresh as possible store them in airtight bags or containers. Avoid keeping them in direct sunlight, humidity, and exposure to excessive heat. You don’t have to keep them in the fridge, but somewhere cool.

  2. Can you eat the shiitakes after cooking them?

    Yes, you can! They tend do be a little chewy, so its best to slice them thin or chop them into small pieces.

  3. Is this kombu dashi recipe vegan?

    Yes, this recipe is completely plant based

  4. Where can I buy kombu?

    You can find kombu at your local international foods market, Walmart has it on their website, and on amazon.

  5. How much kombu should I put in my kombu broth?

    At minimum, you should use about 10 grams of kombu per quart of water. This will give you a light umami flavor.

Quick tips before you get started

–              Cut some small incisions into your kombu before soaking it. This will help the kombu release its flavor faster and in abundance.

–              Store your dashi in airtight containers or even bottles. This will preserve freshness in the fridge for 4-5 days and in the freezer for 3 months!

–              I’m a fan of the cold brew method. You get all of the flavor and don’t cook off the nutrients. Plan ahead and use the Mizudashi method.

–              You will need a container for soaking, a stock pot, a fine mesh strainer, and a container for storage.

– Feel free to add what ever you like to this recipe when you are making it! It is your recipe after all. I Have heard of people adding scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil. The possibilities are endless!

This Kombu dashi recipe is the perfect vegan dashi or kombu broth out there! How to make vegan dashi.

Vegan Dashi (Kombu Broth)

Chef Mason Bostwick
Delicate, umami flavored kombu dashi recipe. This plant based kombu broth is a great base for soups, sauces, ramen broths, and so much more. Learn how to make this vegan dashi!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Condiment, Enhancement
Cuisine Japanese, Vegan
Servings 2 quarts

Ingredients
  

  • 24 g Kombu roughly 2 sheets
  • 30 g Dried Shiitakes
  • 2 liters Water

Instructions
 

  • Soak kombu, as is, in water overnight or at least 8 hours.
  • After kombu is soaked, add the dried shiitakes, kombu, and soaking water into a stock pot and heat over high heat.
  • Heat the liquid until it comes to a boil, this should take about 25-30 minutes. Once the liquid comes to a boil, take off the heat IMMEDIATLEY. Let the kombu broth cool down at room temperature.
  • Once cool, strain the vegan dashi through a fine mesh strainer. That’s it! Your awesome kombu broth is ready to eat!
Keyword Kombu Broth, Kombu Dashi Recipe, Vegan Dashi

If you like this kombu dashi recipe, you may want to take a look at some of my other stocks and broths!

Amazing Vegan Chicken Stock

Perfect Vegetable Broth Recipe

Incredible Chicken Bouillon Powder

Here are some more places you can learn more about any kombu dashi recipe! These guys known their stuff!!

Messy Vegan Cook

K33 Kitchen

The Vegan Corner

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