People use dashi powder to make dashi stock. You can also use dashi powder to add flavor to that Japanese dish you want to try out.
When you hear someone mention Japanese food, what comes to mind? For me, it is sushi. I love sushi, and if you are into Japanese dishes, I bet you love it too.
Cooks primarily use dashi stock to make various Japanese dishes. Chefs make dashi stock using kombu, Ajinomoto, and different spice. Dashi powder, however, is made of salt, sugar, Ajinomoto, and some spices.
People use dashi powder to provide the umami flavor in their dishes. There might come a time when you need to use dashi powder, but you don't have it. In such cases, you can use dashi powder substitutes.
These alternatives are; Shiitake mushrooms, white fish, shellfish, kombu, chicken broth, mentsuyu broth, and hondashi.
I will discuss dashi broth in detail because dashi powder is a quick way of making dashi broth. What is dashi broth?
It is a broth that people make using kombu. There are various types of dashi broths. You can create an even more robust dashi broth by using bonito flakes and other ingredients.
You can use dashi powder to develop savory dashi broth if you are in a hurry. While all these types of dashi broths are different, they all have a commonality—that delicious umami flavor.
In Japanese cuisines, dashi broth is a joint seasoning agent. Cooks use it in making noodles, salads, rice, and even soups.
Besides making tasty Japanese dishes, you can use dashi broth to make any dish that demands an umami taste.
Coming up with a dashi broth from scratch can take some time. If you have the time, however, it will be worth it. You can even make this broth using soy sauce and mushrooms if you don't have bonito flakes or kombu.
Dashi Powder Substitutes
Now that we have covered what you can use dashi powder for let us learn what you can use if you do not have it. Let's dive in.
1. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms have a strong umami flavor. This characteristic is what makes these mushrooms to be an excellent alternative for dashi powder.
You can make shiitake mushrooms stock from scratch. It would help if you had some shiitake mushrooms and water. Soak the mushroom in water and give it some time to soak thoroughly. After that, you can boil the soaked mushrooms to make a flavorful broth.
Remove the mushrooms, and you can save them for another meal. You might be lucky that the dish you are preparing can use some mushrooms without spoiling the food. In that case, you can use these mushrooms.
It will add to the volume of the dish, especially if you are making the food for a vast family.
Shiitake mushroom broth does not have salt. You can season it with salt to taste.
Dashi powder is rich in umami flavor. The flavor is even more established when you use a seaweed like kombu to make it.
Bonito flakes are also a significant ingredient used when making dashi powder. You can extract bonito flakes from white fish; thus, whitefish is an excellent dashi powder alternative.
Some examples of white fish are cod, snapper, tilefish, and catfish. If you love eating fish, you might already have some fish in your home. If not, you can get whitefish from the grocery store.
To substitute dashi powder with whitefish, you need to make a broth. Get some flakes from the whitefish and boil them in some water. You can use the bones of the head of the fish.
After acquiring the broth, you can add some spices and seasoning to make the whitefish broth more flavorful.
Shellfish is another delicious alternative for dashi powder. It is rich in umami flavor, which you are looking to replace. Shellfish are also rich in proteins and minerals, an advantage you cannot ignore.
Assuming that you are a fan of fish, shellfish might be a regular dish that you prepare for your family. Supposing so, you then might have it in your kitchen.
It would be best to make a shellfish broth to replace dashi powder like whitefish. To make the broth, you need any shellfish. Cut it into tiny pieces and fry it. Afterward, add the spices you need and then boil the mixture for thirty minutes.
Sieve the mixture, and you will have shellfish broth to replace dashi powder.
Using kombu as an alternative for dashi powder is a no-brainer. As I have already established, some types of dashi are a product of kombu, so they have the same taste.
This seaweed is popular when making Japanese cuisines. You can also use kombu to make fried rice or soups.
To use kombu as a replacement for dashi powder, you do not need to make a broth out of it. You can use the dried kombu as you use any seasoning ingredient.
Kombu is available in some grocery stores, and if you cannot find it, you can buy pure kombu tea. It will work just as kombu and provide your food with the umami flavor.
5. Chicken Broth
Chicken has inosinate and glutamate, two primary ingredients that form the umami flavor. It is, therefore, safe to say that you can use chicken broth to substitute dashi broth because it has an umami taste.
This broth is one of the easiest to make or to acquire. It is sold all over and making it is simple. To make chicken broth, boil chopped chicken in water for about an hour and remove the meat. The remainder is chicken broth.
To get a thicker broth, you can add butter. Other than making the broth thick, it will also add some flavor to the broth.
You can also use chicken stock if you do not have any broth. Chicken stock is fuller in umami taste than broth.
6. Mentsuyu Broth
Mentsuyu broth is a famous seasoning in Japanese food. Generally, you can use it to make noodles, but you can also use it in making soups.
It is pretty famous in Japan, but you can also get some. It is not as renowned as dashi powder, but if you are in the store and cannot find dashi powder, you can buy it.
It is a product of dried kombu, soy sauce, and some spices. If you don't find mentsuyu broth in the store, you can make your own. Boil the kombu or bonito shavings in a pan. After a while, add soy sauce and let the mixture simmer.
When the mixture has simmered for an hour, sieve it to get the broth. Let it cool, and you can go ahead and use it in your recipe.
Hondashi is dashi granules that are famous in Japan. That does not mean that you cannot find them in the supermarket.
Thanks to diversity, you can get almost anything nowadays. Hondashi granules are famous in japan because they are mainly used to season Japanese cuisine.
These granules are of many types. Some are made from kombu, others from agodashi, while others are made from niboshi. Despite them being of different types, they all share one characteristic. They have the umami flavor, which is what you are looking to replace.
So, it does not matter what type of hondashi you buy. All the types will serve as great substitutes for dashi powder.
Most people prefer using hondashi to make dashi broth or other broth from scratch. It is fast to use, especially when you do not have the time to make dashi broth. To acquire a more refined taste, you can add some soy sauce to hondashi.
We have come to the end of this article, and I am glad you are still with me. After reading through my best dashi powder recommendations, I hope you at least have an idea of what to use the next time you run out of dashi powder.
Supposing you have the time, you can try a couple or all the substitutes (of course one by one) to see what works best for you. We are all different. While the chicken broth works best for me, you might realize that you like whitefish better.
It is therefore crucial that you try these alternatives for yourselves. Personal experience is always the best experience. Cheers!