Both Shiro dashi and mentsuyu are versatile Japanese seasonings extremely useful in everyday cooking. The usage goes beyond making noodle soup. Find out why having these seasonings will make cooking easy.

Japanese cooking uses a variety of condiments and seasonings to create an intricate flavor profile that captures many people’s stomachs. Today, we introduce you to two valuable seasonings: Shiro dashi and mentsuyu.

Both of them are great for making one of the most beloved Japanese food: noodle soup. However, there are many more ways to use these unique condiments to spice up your Japanese cooking. Let’s find out how!

What is Shiro Dashi?

yamaki kappo shiro dashiShiro Dashi is a concentrated dashi broth in a bottle. You might already know that dashi is a key component of umami in Japanese cooking. Dashi adds delicate Japanese flavor to any dish you make; however, making dashi from scratch at home takes time. That’s why many people use dashi powder for everyday cooking. Shiro dashi’s usage is similar to dashi powder, but Shiro dashi is much easier and more versatile to use for cooking.

Out of many Shiro dashi products available today, we recommend Yamaki’s Kappo Shiro Dashi. Yamaki is an established katsuobushi maker with more than a hundred years of expertise. Yamaki’s Shiro dashi is a bonito-based ready-to-use dashi broth that only uses the best bonito fish. You can trust the craftsmanship of Yamaki, and with just a few drops, you can enjoy the exquisite flavor of this product.

How to Use Shiro Dashi?

Cooking with Shiro dashi is much easier because all you need to do is dilute the already-delicious Shiro dashi soup with water. You can easily make a simple noodle soup by diluting Shiro dashi with water. You need to remember to check the specific product’s dilution ratio because each product has a slightly different instruction on how much water to use for specific dishes.

For example, when using Yamaki’s Kappo Shiro dashi, the Shiro dashi to water ratio to make hot noodle soup should be one to ten (½ cup of Shiro dashi and 5 cups of water). With Shiro dashi, you can also make a soup base for a hot pot. Just dilute Shiro dashi with water for one to twelve ratios (½ cup of Shiro dashi and 6 cups of water). Once you have the soup base, all you need to do is to cook your ingredients, such as chicken, tofu, and a variety of vegetables in the soup base.

Another application is to make a simmered dish. For example, chop two fillets of salmon into small pieces and add them to a frying pan with various mushrooms like shiitake, enoki, and shimeji. Add ½ cup of Shiro dashi and 6 cups of water to the pan and simmer it covered for about 10 minutes. It’s that easy to make delicious dishes using Shiro dashi!

What is Mentsuyu?

moribun mentsuyuMentsuyu literally means “noodle soup” in Japanese. It’s a dark-colored soy-based sauce that many people in Japan keep in their kitchens as a staple. As the name itself suggests, the most obvious application of this product is to make a noodle soup. Like Shiro dashi, all you need to do is dilute mentsuyu with water one-to-one to create a noodle dipping sauce quickly.

Moribun is one of the most renowned soy sauce brewing companies from Ehime prefecture of Japan. With their traditional brewing method, Moribun makes its mentsuyu with only the highest quality ingredients from all over Japan: bonito from Kagoshima, shiitake mushrooms from Ehime, kombu kelp from Hokkaido, and sardines from the Seto Inland Sea. With just one product, you can appreciate several quality ingredients of Japan.

How to Use Mentsuyu

Obviously, you can make noodle soup with mentsuyu. To make hot noodle soup with Moribun’s mentsuyu product, the dilution ratio is one to three (½ cup of mentsuyu and 1 ½ cup of water). Just like Shiro dashi, you need to remember to check the dilution rate of the specific product. Some mentsuyu products don’t even require dilution to make noodle soup!

But the usage of this product doesn’t stop there. Mentsuyu is also great to make a sauce for pasta! In a frying pan, saute garlic, spinach, mushrooms, and a can of tuna (bacon also works great with this recipe) in about three tablespoons of butter. Toss cooked pasta in the pan and add about four tablespoons of mentsuyu and black pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh scallions, and you just made yourself a Japanese wafu pasta!

Another easy way to use mentsuyu is to make a salad dressing. Just mix ¾ cup of mayonnaise, three tablespoons of mentsuyu, and black pepper to make delicious Japanese salad dressing. You can even add sesame seeds and bonito flakes to make your salad more interesting! Finally, simply place boiled and peeled eggs in a container full of mentsuyu and leave them in the fridge for a day or so. You can easily make ajitsuke Tamago for a bowl of ramen!