Iriko Dashi & Daikon Miso Soup

Iriko Dashi & Daikon Miso Soup


On his last morning at my apartment, Atsushi explained this dish to me. First, let's talk about iriko dashi, a traditional dashi prepared from small dried fish. While konbu and katsuobushi dashi is intricate and involved, iriko dashi is the opposite: Totally simple to make. Iriko, the fish, come in a variety of sizes, but Atsushi chose the smallest available, about an inch or so long. He used the entire iriko, explaining that while some chefs say to break off the head and stomach, he and his father don't agree with that. "It's more natural to use the entire iriko," Atsushi explained, adding that the head holds a lot of flavor. To prepare the broth simply bring iriko and water to a boil. I used about a tablespoon of iriko to two cups of water. As soon as you can smell the fragrance of the iriko, the dashi is ready. You can either strain out the iriko, or leave them in to eat in soup.

By the way, I asked Chef Ono about iriko dashi and he mentioned a couple of interesting things: Iriko dashi does not create the umami a konbu and katsuobushi dashi does, so it's not used for infusing other ingredients. But it pairs extremely well with miso, so it typically serves as the foundation for miso soup.

On to the miso soup. The ingredients:

  • Iriko dashi
  • Awase miso (a mixture of red and white miso, which is mellower and perfect for soup)
  • Daikon

The technique: Cut the daikon into thin rectangular strips, a cut called "tanzaku" in Japanese. I used a fresh daikon from the farmers market, which I peeled. You can add the peel to the iriko and water when you make the dashi -- remember, mottainai. Prepare the dashi, as discussed above. I left the iriko in the dashi but removed the daikon skin. Add the cut daikon and simmer until it just cooks through. Turn off the heat and add the miso with a strainer. Taste often until you have the right flavor -- the miso shouldn't overpower. Serve and enjoy.

Atsushi didn't have time to enjoy this soup with me; he was on his way to an appointment. "Inna," he said, an expression that he explained meant he wished he could eat what I'm eating. A nice complement.

When you try this dish, I'd be grateful if you could let me know in the comments how it turns out. Did it work? Any questions or thoughts?

Posted by Harris Salat in Fish | Permalink | Comments (2) | Email | Print

Comments (2)

I'll have to tear myself away from eating daikon raw in order to try this. Here's a thought. I like to prepare my vegetables for soup separately from the dashi. When I try this soup, I'm going to cook my daikon in togijiru, the first rinse water from rice. I really like the way the rice water ever so slightly flavors the daikon in this type of preparation and I'm curious to see how it pairs with iriko dashi. (And this is a beautiful site, by the way. Thanks for sharing!)
I always stock powdered iriko ground by a electric blender. Of cource I put it into miso soup as dashi, but there is another way to use it. I sometimes mix it with cooked rice to feed my son who is 19 months old, because I think it is very good source of nutrients including calcium and omega 3 fatty acid, which is supposed to play an important role in the development of brain.

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