June 10, 2013
In seven years of Umami Mart, there has not been a single post about dashinomoto! As the editor and founder of this international food blog, I am… ashamed. Dashinomoto (aka fake dashi aka MSG) is the backbone of LAZY Japanese home cooking. Yoko and Harumi Kurihara would not approve. But COME ON, sometimes, I don’t have time (aka I’m too lazy) to make dashi from scratch. Is that a crime???!?!
I came home tonight and remembered I had a piece of nagaimo (mountain potato) in the fridge to make a nice, cold tororo-soba. Tororo is one of my favorite foods — it’s pretty pricey so it’s a splurge whenever I make the purchase. Anyway, I was excited for this meal, but really did not want to make dashi for the tsuyu (dipping sauce). It would be an extra 20-30 minutes to properly make it, and I did not have the patience. So what did I do? I reached into my large big Ziploc bag of magic — my MSG bag.
Here’s the variety of dashinomoto I have in my cupboard:
Yup, this is dashi in little paper packets. This is what it looks like:
Tantalizing flavor pellets!
I revisit Yoko’s recipe for soba tsuyu all the time. Now, you have to believe me that I rarely use the pellets. But sometimes, it must be done. Cause sometimes I’m lazy, OK?! If you weren’t lazy, you wouldn’t be reading this post, so you’re guilty too!
Yoko’s recipe for soba tsuyu is 1 cup dashi, 1/4 cup shoyu, 1/4 mirin. For my MSG tsuyu, I boiled 2 cups water, 1/2 cup shoyu, 1/2 cup mirin, and added a half of a dashi packet.
Instead of spending 30 minutes making dashi, I spent 10 minutes making all this tsuyu.
Here’s my dinner:
Now, don’t get me wrong — my MSG version of tsuyu is not better than Yoko’s. But considering it only took me 15 minutes to prepare this entire meal from start to finish, it ain’t so bad. My lips are a little tingly right now though.