Dashi is a Japanese cooking stock that is the base of the well-known miso soup. There are variations of dashi, one being made with the dried flakes of the bonito fish. Dried bonito flakes are available from Japanese and general Asian grocers and are a good pantry staple and convenient substitute for regular fish stock.



(Serves 4)

• 1.6kg free-range fresh chicken

• ¼ cup tamari or regular soy sauce

• 2 tbsp mirin

• 2 litres water

• 2 big handfuls (50g) bonito flakes

• 1/3 cup vegetable oil

• 2 leeks, the white part thickly sliced

• 300g button mushrooms, halved

• 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly

• salt flakes

• 2 tbsp finely chopped chives

• 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, to garnish


Pat chicken dry with paper towel and place in a bowl with soy and half the mirin. Roll chicken around in the marinade to cover. Leave, breast side down, cover and marinate for 30 minutes. Bring water to the boil, stir through bonito flakes and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Strain, reserve the liquid (dashi) and discard bonito. Heat oil in a large heavy-based pot. Pat chicken breast dry with paper towel and then place, breast side down, into the pot to brown on all sides. Reserve. Add the leeks, mushrooms and ginger to the pot and gently fry for 3-4 minutes until softened. Pour in the dashi, remaining mirin, season to taste and then gently lower the chicken into the pot, breast side down. Simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit a further 20 minutes. Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the dashi and vegetables garnished with chopped chives and toasted sesame seeds.


© The West Australian