A couple of months ago I came across this recipe for dashi, or the mother broth of all Japanese cooking. I had a package of bonito flakes sitting in my pantry (an impulse buy from Daiso, the Japanese 99 cent store) but it wasn't until recently that I got my act together and bought some kombu (seaweed).
And so finally I had the two ingredients necessary for making dashi.
Okay, so the seaweed wasn't actually Japanese, it was Chinese. But it was all that was available at my favorite ethnic grocery store. So anyway, I took a 6 quart part, ripped up enough seaweed to cover the bottom, and added 9 cups of water (enough to submerge the seaweed) and allowed the seaweed to soak for 20 minutes.
After that I turned on the heat and brought the water to a simmer (watch for the small bubbles on the side!). Once that happened I turned the heat off and added the bonito flakes (2-3 cups worth).
I allowed the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, then poured it through a strainer. The strained broth has a nice clear golden color.
Side note: I tried to make a second round of broth just by adding water and re-simmering, but the taste was very faint. I'm sure you could find a use for the second broth though - I mixed it with some of the first broth to make miso soup.
So to turn dashi into miso soup, you'll need miso paste and good quality soy sauce. And other ingredients depending on your taste - I had tofu and scallions but you could easily use bits of seaweed, mushrooms, etc.
I made 4 servings of soup (~6 cups) using roughly 2 tablespoons each of miso paste and soy sauce. Soup was delicious.
Cris made sushi from scratch to accompany the soup.
Good news is I still have leftover dashi - will probably use it to make ramen, but you never know...