5 C. water
1 large piece of kombu, rinsed
Handful (approx. 1/3 C.) of Eden bonito flakes
3 – 4 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms (optional but good)
Place cold water in pot with the kombu and mushrooms if using and bring to boil.
Simmer gently for 4 minutes. Remove kombu and let stand off heat for 10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft (if using dried mushrooms; otherwise move on to the next step).
Prepare a strainer with a paper coffee filter over a clean stainless steel pot. You want to be ready with this prior to the next step so that you can strain the bonito flakes as soon as they settle to the bottom; if you wait too long your dashi will be overly fishy.
If using mushrooms, remove them from the water and set aside. Add bonito flakes and shake the pot slightly. They will begin to sink quickly; when you see that happening, strain them through the coffee filter to remove sand and dirt left over from the mushrooms (and to remove the bonito flakes).
Remove stems from shiitakes and discard. Slice thinly to add to the dashi or save them to add to a miso soup.
Now you have a clear dashi broth in a clean pot and you can continue with the miso soup recipe if you like.