This is very different from the Dashi, Japanese fish or seaweed stock, that you would probably associate with. The Dashi I am talking about here is a one of the iconic specialty dishes from Yamagata prefecture. This healthy and refreshing vegetable tartare is prepared with fresh cucumbers, eggplants, natto kombu (sticky kelp) and Dashi-infused Soy sauce. It’s commonly enjoyed with rice, Hiyayakko(cold tofu) and Soba(buckwheat noodles) in summer. Dashi with rice would also be perfect when you just want a light meal.
200g Japanese cucumbers or English cucumbers
200g Japanese eggplants or eggplants
20 Shiso leaves
3 good pinches of Natto kombu (shredded sticky kombu)
4-6 tbsp Dashi shoyu (Dashi-infused soy sauce) or Men-tsuyu (Japanese noodle sauce base)
3 pinches of salt
1. Place the cucumbers on a cutting board and sprinkle the salt. Roll them back and forth, lightly pressing against the board, and rinse off the salt. This technique is called “Ita-Zuri” and helps remove the bitterness from a cucumber.
2. Combine the Natto kombu and Dashi-shoyu in a large bowl.
3. Remove the end of the cucumbers and the stems of the eggplants, then cut them into tiny dices. Remove the stems of the Shiso leaves and finely chop them.
4. Add all the chopped vegetables and leaves in the bowl with Dashi-shoyu and, then stir well to combine them until the kombu releases stickiness.
5. Serve on hot rice, cold tofu, soba noodles or Gyudon.