Dashi, an enhanced kelp stock with rich umami flavor, is a staple component of Japanese cooking; it has the remarkable effect of accentuating the flavors of anything cooked in it. Here, it adds depth to a pickle brine from award-winning cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo. We use radishes, but any sturdy vegetables, such as peppers, cauliflower, or onions, will do. This recipe first appeared in our October 2014 issue with the story Spectacular Seaweed.
- 2 1⁄2 tbsp. sea salt
- 12 small radishes, halved
- 4 small Kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise
- 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and halved crosswise
- 2 cups ichiban dashi
- 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
Mix 1 tbsp. salt, the radishes, cucumbers, carrots, and 4 cups water in a bowl. Place a plate over top of vegetables to submerge them; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
Bring dashi and peppercorns to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan. Stir in remaining salt, the sugar, and soy sauce; cook until the sugar dissolves, 1–2 minutes. Add vinegar and bring to a simmer; let cool completely. Drain reserved vegetables and pack tightly into two sterilized 1-qt. glass jars. Pour stock mixture over vegetables and cover with lids; chill 2 days before serving. Store up to 3 months in the refrigerator.