A Taste of Japan
My uncle lives in Tokyo. Recently, he sent this small canister of colorful packets to his sister, my aunt, who then sent them along to me. The canister, while beautifully decorated, offered no clue to the nature of its contents.
I’ve seen instant green tea powder packaged similarly, so I asked my aunt if this was also some kind of beverage. According to her, my uncle said the packets could be enjoyed as a hot beverage or used as a seasoning for cooking.
The fuschia packet contained tiny green pellets mixed with small pink granules, while the orange packet contained only the green pellets. Assuming the orange and fuschia packets signified different flavors, I mixed up a small glass of each with a bit of hot water.
The mix foamed up in hot water, and I stirred it until the pellets dissolved. When I took my first sip, I was still expecting green tea, perhaps infused with fruit flavors. To my surprise, the resulting potion in both glasses was salty, with a hint of seaweed flavor. In fact, it tasted just like the dashi used as the base for miso soup. Strangely, the small, pink granules from the fuschia packet did taste tangy and fruity, which made for an interesting contrast with the saltiness of the broth. A bit of Google searching turned up a type of seasoning called “dashi granules” — essentially the Japanese equivalent of Western boullion cubes. I’m fairly convinced that this is what I’ve got here.
Other than mixing up some instant miso soup, do you have any suggestions for how to use dashi granules? Have any of you cooked with them before?