by |

What Is Shiro Dashi Japanese Soup Base? Facts


Japanese cuisine has a unique flavor, making it a favorite among many people worldwide. You don’t have to be Japanese to enjoy these dishes.

With access to many essential ingredients, you too can taste a variety of Japanese meals. Not only that, you can even prepare Japanese meals in your kitchen.

Many products in the market are used to give a uniquely Japanese flavor to the food. Shiro Dashi is one product used to bring out the flavor in your cooking.

What is Shiro Dashi Japanese soup base? Read on to find out how you can drastically change taste with this fantastic soup base.

What is Shiro Dashi Japanese Soup Base?

Shiro Dashi directly translates into “white soup stock”.

It is a translucent liquid that is light brown. Its taste is similar to soy sauce. However, it doesn’t make your dish dark in color, like soy sauce. It is one of the main reasons to use this condiment in Japanese cuisines.

Presentation and color matter much in Japanese cuisine, with the dishes being light in color.

One thing to remember is that Shiro Dashi tastes saltier than soy sauce. It’s a point to note when preparing Japanese dishes. Be careful when adding this condiment to your cooking.

Shiro Dashi is often confused with another soup base, mentsuyu. Mentsuyu soup base has a sweeter taste, while Shiro Dashi tastes salty.

Shiro Dashi Japanese Soup Base Ingredients

Shiro Dashi is a concentrated dashi soup base. ‘Dashi’ is a soup broth made from kelp seaweed, kombu, or bonito fish flakes. It is also a Japanese condiment used as a base for noodle soup, soup, and various dishes.

As a derivative of dashi, Shiro Dashi consists of the following ingredients.

  • Kombu dashi
  • Bonito
  • White soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Mirin

At first, Shiro Dashi was only used by professional chefs to prepare delicious Japanese meals. However, you can now use Shiro Dashi at home as a readymade product or by preparing from scratch.

What Does Shiro Dashi Japanese Soup Base Taste Like

Shiro Dashi has a mixture of saltiness and umami. Umami is the fifth basic taste, apart from sour, bitter, salty, and sweet, as defined by the Japanese. Umami is a savory taste, so Shiro Dashi is a mix of salt and savory taste. 

Although Shiro Dashi is saltier than soy sauce and mentsuyu, it has a simpler flavor and refreshing aftertaste.

So, Shiro Dashi is an excellent choice if you don’t want to make your dish too rich in flavor.

How To Use Shiro Dashi Japanese Soup Base

The main reason to use Shiro Dashi is that it adds great flavor to dishes without changing their original color. The appearance and presentation of food matter very much in Japanese cuisines, where Shiro Dashi scores high points.

Shiro Dashi is simple to use when preparing a variety of dishes. All you need to do is mix it with water to prepare a dashi soup base to add to your Japanese menu.

You can also substitute it as soy sauce in any cuisine recipe. The best thing about Shiro Dashi is that you can use it on a majority of your recipes, Japanese or not.

Shiro Dashi pairs well with Chinese and Western dishes. You can use it with citrus juice, olive oil, herb dishes, and white cream.

Here are some ways in which you can use Shiro Dashi.

  • Japanese rolled omelet (Tamagoyaki)
  • Japanese clear soup (Osuimono)
  • Japanese savory egg custard (Chawanmushi)
  • Stir-fried pepper steak (Chinjao Rosu)
  • Fried rice with starchy sauce (Ankake chahan)
  • Chicken white broth (Paitan soup)
  • Soba noodles
  • Oden soup
  • Simmered dish
  • Omelet (Dashimaki)
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Rice dishes
  • Tofu

How To Store Shiro Dashi Japanese Soup Base

You need to refrigerate store-bought Shiro Dashi bottles once they are opened for use. Check the product label to find out the expiry date.

Shiro Dashi lasts between two weeks and one month. However, it’s best to be used as soon as possible.

If Shiro Dashi expels an unpleasant smell of fermentation, do not use it. Similarly, discontinue use if the liquid looks opaque.

If you make homemade Shiro Dashi, you can store it for up to four days. Ensure the bottle is tightly covered before refrigerating. 

Check for the same signs above to determine if the soup base is suitable. Discontinue use if it tastes different. Spoiled Shiro Dashi does not taste very salty. If you get a hint of sweetness, stop using it.

Benefits Of Using Shiro Dashi In Recipes

There are many benefits to using Shiro Dashi in recipes. It’s a condiment that can be used alone in various dishes. You don’t have to use any other seasonings when using Shiro Dashi, as the taste it gives to dishes is good enough.

A little bit of Shiro Dashi can add great flavor to any dish you prepare.

Shiro Dashi does not make your dishes dark in color. So, it’s an excellent addition to your recipes without modifying the color or appearance of the cooked meal.

For example, the Japanese tamagoyaki omelet is more appealing with its unseasoned yellow color than a dark-colored version. It is why color and appearance matter in Japanese cuisine.

Therefore, Shiro Dashi is more suitable for decorating your dishes than soy sauce or mentsuyu soup base.

Pre-made Shiro Dashi is readily available in the market and is easy to use. It makes this soup base a simple option to add to your meals to make them more flavorful in an instant.

The simplicity of Shiro Dashi makes it easy for even a novice in Japanese cooking to use it without any worries. You cannot go wrong with Shiro Dashi when cooking Japanese or international cuisines.

A note to remember is that Shiro Dashi has a high sodium content, making it taste salty. So, even if it tastes good, use just a little bit of it for your cooking. Going overboard with Shiro Dashi will not give you the desired taste.

Homemade Shiro Dashi Recipe

You can also make Shiro Dashi at home using the recipe given below.


  • 400ml of water
  • 100ml mirin
  • 100ml extra light soy sauce
  • 5-10g dried kombu seaweed
  • 10g bonito flakes

Note: You can replace mirin with white wine if you don’t have the former at home.


  1. Pour the water and kombu seaweed into a medium-sized pot and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Add mirin and soy sauce to the pot to evaporate the alcohol.
  3. Once it reaches the boiling point, reduces the heat to a medium and keep heating.
  4. Turn off the heat, add bonito flakes to the mixture, and let them soak for 10 minutes. The longer you let them soak, the stronger the flavor. So if you want a strong flavor, leave for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Strain the mixture using a mesh strainer. Avoid squeezing the bonito flakes as it may result in a fishy smell.

The dried kombu leaves may leave some residue on the surface. You don’t need to rinse it as this is non-toxic umami content.

Difference Between Dashi And Shiro Dashi

Shiro Dashi is a concentrated Dashi soup base. Therefore, Shiro Dashi can be accepted as a soup derivative of the dashi soup base.

Using the dashi soup base alone requires you to brew it in a pot. Shiro dashi is pre-made and available in bottles. All you need to do is mix it with a bit of water to use as a soup base when cooking your favorite dish.

Shiro Dashi also has a robust flavor and tastes saltier than dashi itself.

Substitutes For Shiro Dashi

Nothing can completely replace the unique taste of Shiro Dashi. However, if you have no way of getting Shiro Dashi or all the ingredients of it, then you can use the following as alternatives.

  • Dahi granules + mirin + sake + soy sauce
  • Mentsuyu + soy sauce
  • Water + soy sauce + salt
  • White wine + soy sauce
  • Sauce for natto

Other popular Japanese dashi-based soup bases include the following.

  • Kombu-Tsuyu
  • Hondashi
  • Chicken stock powder
  • Dried bonito shavings
  • Kombu tea
  • Shio kombu (salted kelp)
  • Tororo kombu (shredded kelp)
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms stock soup

Healthy Eating With Shiro Dashi

You can add Shiro Dashi to make your meals flavorful, especially when you’re on a diet. You may have to restrict your diet if on a weight loss program.

Common weight loss meals include soups and salads, to which you can add Shiro Dashi for more flavor. Apart from these, you can also drink the meal replacement shakes.


Adding Shiro Dashi Japanese soup base to your cooking can enhance the flavor of food.

Remember that Shiro Dashi has a very salty taste, so use it sparingly. It’s also a great condiment as it doesn’t change the color of the food. Also, you don’t need to use any other seasoning when using this amazing condiment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shiro Dashi Vegan?

Shiro Dashi is not vegan as it contains bonito flakes which are smoked and fermented tuna.

How Long Can You Store Shiro Dashi?

You can store store-bought Shiro Dashi refrigerated for two weeks up to one month once you start using it. If you’re using homemade Shiro Dashi, store them in the refrigerator for up to four days in an air-tight container.

Leave a Comment