Kombu is an essential ingredient for making dashi, and adding umami to Japanese cuisine. It is a healthy and tasty ingredient with rich dietary fibers and minerals.
Kombu is harvested along the coastline of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. This region’s waters are where warm and cold currents mingle, and are ideal for growing nutrient-rich Kombu.
After harvesting, Kombu is dried in the sun until it is ready for market. The process of farming Kombu is unique as there are no by-products as a result of the harvest and drying process.
There are four major types of Kombu: Rishiri Kombu, Ma Kombu, Hidaka Kombu, and Rausu Kombu. These varieties differ by region and how they’re used in recipes.
Kombu contains glutamic acid, a kind of amino acid that contributes to the taste of umami. A chef can increase the taste of umami in a dish with Kombu by combining it with inosine acid, which is found in dried bonitos.
Cooking Japanese Kombu
There are many ways to cook with Kombu. Use the seaweed to make Dashi broth, use it in simmered dishes, or wrap raw fish with it to add extra flavor.
There are also processed Kombu products like Shio Kombu, and thinly-shredded Kombu that can be used as garnishes or mixed into rice.
Video Series: Innovative and traditonal Cooking of Japanese Kombu
Award-winning chefs demonstrate new ways to prepare premium Japanese ingredients:
Chef Mike Bagale and Hisanori Yamamoto
Owner of Super Food Concept / Culinary Director of Icca
Chef Hirohisa Hayashi
Owner & Chef of Hirohisa and Sushi Ikumi
Chef Nobu Yamazaki and Masaya Kitayama
Owner & Chef / Executive Chef of Sushi Taro
How To Make Umami Dashi
Kombu Artisan: Hand Shredding
Interested in high-quality Japanese Kombu?
Interested in high quality Japanese Kombu?