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Many times I have asked my girlfriend how to make a certain Korean food. Most of the time she replied, “First you need dashi.”

“Dashi?”

“It’s seaweed with water and…”

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“A soup stock?”

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“I guess.”

So that’s why she has kept large leaves of seaweed and dried anchovies in my freezer for the past year.

I consulted with her and the internet on how to make this stock. I knew it would be a weekend project. It turns out that dashi is a Japanese word for kelp stock. I don’t know if there’s a Korean word for it, but the Korean on the seaweed package said “dashi.”

I experimented by taking the advice from others and adding traditional Western touches to see what would turn out.

1. I toasted some dried anchovies and large kelp slowly in a pan. This large kelp I have seen at Asian markets back in the U.S., along with dried anchovies. I hear dried sardines also can work.


2. I then added water and some coarsely chopped onions and garlic. Now this is where it strays from Western stock-making techniques (real chefs, correct me on this). Don’t boil the stock. Boiling turns the kelp into slime. It has to heat slowly.
So I waited.


And waited.

I was dreading a nasty fishy smell to take over the apartment, so I vented. Instead the stock made the apartment smell like the beach. The wait wasn’t so bad because it was also its own potpourri.

3. The protein from the anchovies and kelp made foam on top, so I skimmed it off.

4. When the kelp started to float to the surface, it was time to take it out.

5. I then strained the stock.

6. And I really overdid it. I have way too much, I think. I froze some in containers and made ice cubes out of the rest.

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