Guest Author - Chidori Phillips
As kombu is dried, it develops a light white powder on its surface. Gently brush off any excess but leave some of these trace minerals for flavor. If you will not need the entire package of dried kombu, break off the desired amount. Usually for a nice (1 quart) pot of dashi, youíll need a 7Ē piece. To make konbu no dashi, simply bring a quart of cool water and the strip of dried konbu to a light boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes before fishing out the konbu strip, which may be eaten.
If you will use the konbu for other recipes, soak half or the whole package of konbu in a large pot of cool water. Allow the seaweed to soak until it is softened. It will feel slightly slippery. Then, tear each long strip into half, going down the entire length of the seaweed leaf. If the leaf is particularly wide, you can tear it into thirds. The kombu should split easily and evenly. You can use a knife if you prefer. Then, cut the kombu into the size needed for your recipe.
A typical way to prepare kombu is to tie the strips into knots. But, instead of cutting the kombu short pieces, keep the thin strip long. Tie a knot an inch and a half in from the end, and continue making knots every three inches apart. Tug on them snugly. When you finish knotting the entire length of kombu, use a scissors to snip the knots apart, leaving an inch and a half space in between them.
You can cut the kombu into 2x2inch pieces and roll them into a tight cylinder. Tie them in the center using a small piece of soaked kanpyo (dried gourd) like string. Snip the excess ends off of the kanpyo.
Add these kombu knots or kombu rolls to dashi, miso soup, nishime (stew) or oden (vegetarian stew). I like to simmer kombu knots in seasoned dashi and eat them all by themselves when I donít feel like going through the effort to make a whole pot of nishime.
12 kombu knots, about
4 cups katsuobushi no dashi
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. mirin
Bring all ingredients to a light boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until kombu knots are tender but not too soft or soggy.