Dashi Gelee

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/morimoto-nyc-3/

One of the things my niece really loved at her very first omakase dinner at Morimoto NYC was:

Bonito/Katsuo tataki
shaved smoked katsuobushi, black truffle,
smoked katsuobushi dashi agar gelee, wakame

that was handed to us by Omae-san. She’s been after me to make that dish.  One of the key components to this dish was to make

you’ve all seen this agar before,,,,

the dashi agar gelee.  Based on prior experiences with agar as a gelling agent was the Murata Fruit Jelly where I had to combine:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of the agar powder
  •  1 3/4 c boiling water

Further guidance on this came from Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook, p.26 that suggested a microbatch of the gelee with the agar would be:

  • 1/4 c dashi
  • 1/2 t agar powder

and for a looser gel, it might be

  • 1/2 c dashi
  • 1/2 t + 1/8 t agar powder

attempt to portion out the micropatch amount of agar powder


adding 1/16 t salt to season the dashi for the gel

aka 1/4 c dashi  and 1/4 t + 1/16 t agar powder

combining boiling hot dashi to make/activate the agar gel

As it would turn out – this was far too stiff a gel.  Perhaps it would be good enough to support things sitting on top of it; but not

the gelee mixture was cooled to room temperature and it in fact set. Maybe set a little bit on the stiff side?

loose enough to serve as a ‘sauce’, as it were.

this dashi gelee may be to stiff as a ‘sauce’

The gelee was supposed to look something like:

you can see the ‘loose’ gelee peeking out from underneath the omakase bonito tataki

So I went about doing a few more experiments guided by a “binary search” of the measurement numbers mixing boiling water and 1/8 t soy sauce until I got the consistency I wanted.   Those measurements turned out to be:

  • 3/4 c dashi
  • 1/8 t agar powder

Getting ready to extract the set dashi gelee

So in fact, after mixing up that specification and adding 1/4 t of salt, I got it into the refridgerator for a few hours and then taste

It looked ok, it wiggled when I shook it

tested it.   It had the right texture and right wiggle (can you say jello?).  Both my wife and I tasted it and she agreed it had that briny

it broke apart the right way, seemed to have the same soft texture almost like silken tofu

dashi flavor we experienced in that katsuo tataki dish.  SO: now that I figured out how to do this, I’m ready to try and reproduce that dish my niece has been after me to make.   But this did open up other possibilities:  a vegetable stock ‘consomme’ (like a meat consomme, but for vegetarians), kelp and/or mushroom ‘consomme’……..and vegetarian JELLO.  I fully expect that I will now be able to do a version of  the Cherry Jello from Nobu Now (p. 225) without the gelatin and perhaps other fruit jello’s given this gelee information.  Obviously there is an acidic component for which I will have to adjust (think citrus juices, pineapple juice, etc).

As I understand it: agar powder = 1 tsp. (2 g); so I was using .25g for this gelee

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