I adore Japanese cooking, but when cooking for vegetarians, I don't want to use dashi (bonito) stock. However, if I just omit it, the result doesn't taste authentic.

Anyone have a substitute?

  • Personally, I find that Japanese (and Thai) cuisine is so commonly dependent on fish stocks, sauces, etc. That I avoid the entire cuisine, hard to replicate the tastes without such major ingredients and without them, why bother. – Orbling Jan 21 '11 at 21:55
  • Well, I'd like to try, at least. I lived in Japan for two years and I'm not going to just give up just because it doesn't taste exact. That said, I would like to make vegetarian Japanese food that tastes as authentic as possible. – calico-cat Jan 21 '11 at 21:57



I have heard of the eastern fish sauces being substituted with a mix of a little light soy sauce, and a couple of fermented bean products, yellow bean sauce and fermented tofu, blended.

If you combine the fermented products with a kombu stock (as suggested by Elendil), you might get a closer variant. Remains to be seen how effective it would be.

  • Great idea :) I'll give it a try, thanks! :D – calico-cat Jan 23 '11 at 8:13

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