Kakejiru is most widely known and used as a Japanese Noodle Broth. Indeed, the famous ‘Kake-Udon’, is simply thick Udon noodles along with other toppings, served with Kakejiru poured over everything as a rich ‘soup’.
Similar ‘soup-noodle’ dishes are also made with many other sorts of noodle, such as Soba, Somen, and the ever-popular Ramen, but the name ‘Kakejiru’ simply means ‘dressing’ or ‘gravy’, and it has other uses as well. It is extremely versatile, and often forms the base for more complex broths and sauces, as well as being frequently used to braise a wide range of foodstuffs.
Making Kakejiru at home…
Kakejiru is essentially a Dashi-based broth (commercially prepared Dashi, or else home-made), but the richness of this base is extended by adding Soy Sauce and Mirin. Sake is sometimes added in addition to, or in place of Mirin, and generally a little sugar is used to round out the sweetness. Aside from a little salt to taste, that is about it… Thus, a very simple basic recipe would be as follows:
- 1 cup Dashi;
- 1/2 – 1 tbsp. Soy Sauce;
- 1 tbsp. Mirin (or Sake);
- 1 pinch Sugar (optional);
- Salt to taste.
Prepare your dashi, and, when it is at a gentle simmer, add the rest of the ingredients. Let the broth simmer for a further 5 or 10 minutes. At this point, you can use it immediately or cool it down and refrigerate for later use. That’s it…
The above recipe will make about a cup of Kakejiru. For soup-noodle dishes, you will almost certainly need more than one cup (unless making a snack for yourself), but it is easy to multiply the basic ingredients given above for a greater number of servings.
The amounts and proportions of each ingredient are not carved in stone, of course, and you can vary them to suit your own personal taste, or to better complement the type of dish you are making…
Kakejiru is easily adapted as a Tempura Sauce, but, to be used this way, you may wish to increase the soy, mirin and sugar by up to four times the basic amount.
Agedashi-Tofu is a well-known braised dish in which the dashi-based braising medium is more often than not a basic Kakejiru.
Please click the picture if you would like to see the recipe for this tofu appetizer… Due to some re-organization, this link will be unavailable until January 29/2020
The permutations and uses are pretty much endless…