Shojin Dashi (Vegetable Broth)

The key to making a rich vegan Zen broth is to cut the Shiitake and Kombu during the soaking process. The more surfaces you cut, the thicker the broth will be. This plant-based Shojin Dashi broth is an excellent condiment for lightly–flavored Japanese-style Zen dishes called Shojin Ryori. If you want a stronger Umami taste, a combination of equal amounts of this Shojin Dashi broth and Shiitake Dashi broth will be just perfect. For a more complex Umami taste, it is recommended to add Kanpyo (dried gourd) and grain vinegar. In Zen cooking, great importance is placed in using light seasoning that brings out the true flavors of the fresh ingredients. It is called "Tanmi." Despite the lack of meat and fish, the rich Umami taste from the vegetable ingredients makes for a hearty and satisfying culinary experience. As a natural Umami taste intensifier, dried Shiitake is a key ingredient in Shojin Ryori. If you use too many high-quality Shiitake in the soup, the Umami flavor might become too strong and result in a bitter taste. If that happens, reduce the amount of Shiitake Dashi and increase the amount of kombu/soybean Dashi. Guanylate, an Umami component unique to dried Shiitake, gives rise to a bitter taste if its concentration is too high. You can simply dilute it to solve the problem.

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 20g Dried Shiitake
  • 20g Kombu Kelp
  • 20g Soybeans
  • 1 liter Water (total)



Soak the dried Shiitake and Kombu in water for 30 minutes.

Cut off the dried Shiitake stems. Thinly slice the Kombu.
Cutting off the Shiitake stems and slicing the Kombu creates a better Dashi extraction, providing a deeper and richer flavor.

Strain the waters you used to soak the Shiitake and Kombu.

Dry roast the soybeans in a frying pan until golden brown.

Add back the Shiitake parts, sliced Kombu; and roasted soybeans to the strained Dashi. Add more water to make a total 1 liter of Dashi liquid. Rest overnight in the fridge.

Bring to a boil and simmer for a while, remove the scum, leave to cool slowly, and then strain before using.



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