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Workshop: Are you making your dashi all wrong?

Workshop: Are you making your <i>dashi</i> all wrong?
Dashi, a stock made with dried kelp and bonito, is used to prepare Japanese soups, sauces and more. (Gina Ferrazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Know the nuances of making dashi? The owner of a 276-year-old dashi shop in Tokyo, Mamiko Nishiyama, will be in Los Angeles to lead a course Saturday that shows you how to make and cook with the essential Japanese stock of dried kelp and bonito.

Nishiyama's store, Yagicho Honten, is a purveyor of katsuobushi (dried bonito), which is used to prepare stock, and other dried foods from Tokyo. Yagicho sells artisanal arabushi-style katsuobushi and the maturer karebushi- and hongarebushi-style katsuobushi. These are bonito sold in blocks with surfaces that look similar to dry-aged beef or cured hams. Dashi is most commonly made with flaked dried bonito.

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The dashi-making seminar will take place at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, moderated and jointly taught by Sonoko Sakai of food culture project Common Grains. Nishiyama and Sakai will show participants how to prepare dashi for making miso soup, salad dressing and seasoning to make rice and stews.

The menu for the hands-on class includes stocks and soups with dried bonito, sardines, konbu seaweed and shitake mushrooms; umami-rich chicken and vegetable somen noodles; gomoku rice (rice with vegetables) and tamago (egg omelet); a light spinach and nori ohitashi salad; and koji-marinated cabbage, carrot and cucumber pickles. (The menu is subject to change depending on availability of ingredients.)

The seminar is from 10 to 11 a.m. and the workshop is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A dashi ingredient sale also will follow the workshop. $75 for members, $85 non-members, includes admission and supplies. Space is limited to 25 participants. RSVP at www.janm.org/events/lifelong.

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