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Thinair Dashi

Tue 11 May 2021 17:48:43 PDT
Japanese dashi is well recognized for its utility not only in Japanese cuisine but also widely used as a base for soups and sauces. While it adds great flavor to many dishes it's also high in sodium and its soy content is undesirable for many people.

A low sodium substitute is a very useful to many of us. As always the issue is providing good flavor in the process. In that spirit we offer Thinair Dashi for your culinary pleasure. Like the case with soy sauce, this version of dashi probably wouldn't fool a Japanese master chef, but it's quite tasty in its own right.

We use it extensively. It's especially fine in constructing fish sauces and is excellent in soups and stews. So you see this dashi fulfills its mission very successfully!


  • Chinese style seaweed† 6g
  • bonito flakes† 6g
  • salt 1/2 tsp
  • molasses 1/2 tsp
  • dried lime, ground 1/8 tsp
  • coriander, whole 1/2 tsp
  • Chinese rice wine ‡ 1 tbsp
  • water or vegetable stock 2 cup
  1. Add all ingredients to stock or water in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Take off heat. After cooling down sufficiently, strain the mixture reserving the liquid.
  4. While ingredients still in strainer, press on the contents with back of a spoon to extract maximum amount of liquid.
  5. Yield is about 1½ cups (starting with 2 cups of stock).
  6. Stored in refrigerator the prepared dashi will last at least a week.
† These “exotic” ingredients are available in Asian and many upscale grocery stores. There are many types of edible seaweed available. One kind to look for is shredded, compressed into circular form and labeled “dried seaweed” or “laver”. Another option is “dried kelp” packaged as sheets, resembles kelp washed up at the seashore. (As far as we know info about these seaweeds is unavailable, botanical identity is a mystery.) Likewise bonito fish flakes are sold in many Asian markets, and sometimes in “regular” groceries too.

These ingredients are notoriously difficult to measure with any precision, at least in kitchens not equipped with lab-grade scales that are accurate in the low gram range. When the seaweed and bonito flakes are moderately “squished” a half cup approximates the right amount. However the amount isn't too critical to the outcome, it's pretty easy to estimate—a handful of seaweed or flakes is probably close enough.

‡ Our Sans-soy-sauce recipe discusses Chinese wine and substitutes.

Categories: Asian seasonings umami

About Thinair Recipes

Recipes developed with low-sodium diets in mind—so easy to use!

Here's a quick guide:
Recipes have one or more “boxed” ingredient lists grouped with step-by-step instructions, for example:

  • garlic, chopped 3 cloves
  • chicken stock 2 cups
  • ...other ingredients...
  1. Saute garlic in oil until soft.
  2. Add chicken stock to pan...
  3. step...

Ingredient boxes show what you'll need for the numbered steps. Not too complicated!

BTW “salt” in our recipes refers to salt substitute, i.e., potassium chloride, KCl. (Since KCl may not be healthy for some people, ask your doctor if it's OK for you to use it.)