Sanuki Sea Stock Recipe

  • 7 large, or 15 small, dried sardines (iriko), about 1/2 ounce trimmed (see Tips, below)
  • 10 to 12 square inches kelp (kombu; see Tips, below)
  • 1 whole, or stems from 2 or 3, dried (hoshi) shiitake mushroom (see Tips, below)
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups cold water, filtered or bottled for best results
  • 1-, 3-, or 5-gram packet bonito flakes (katsuobushi), optional (see Tips, below)
  1. Place the dried sardines, kelp, and dried mushrooms in a deep pot and cover with the cold water. Place the pot over medium-high heat and wait until small bubbles appear around the rim before adjusting the heat to maintain a steady but not very vigorous simmer. Cook the stock for about 10 minutes, or until the broth becomes a pale gold. If large clouds of froth appear, skim them away. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the contents to sink to the bottom naturally, about 2 minutes.
  2. If you want a smoky flavor, add the bonito flakes (the more flakes you use, the smokier the flavor). Wait 2 or 3 minutes for the flakes to sink, and then strain the broth through a fine-woven muslin cloth, or a coffee-filter-lined colander.