It might not look very inspiring but before you do anything, you must make a pot of dashi. The foundation to most Japanese dishes, dashi is stock used to add flavour to soup, hot pot and dipping sauce. As in the Western world there are numerous instant dashi powders available, but, like many of our instant stocks, they contain MSG and excessive amounts of sodium. What's great about dashi is that unlike chicken or beef stock, it doesn't take hours of boiling. It's made in minutes so there's no excuse not to make your own.