“Just Hungry” blogger Mikiko Itoh writes in her article for The Japan Times about dashi, a staple of Japanese cuisine:
“It is often described as Japanese soup stock, but it’s used for much more than just soup — to stew meat, fish or vegetables, in sauces and more, and to enhance the umami or ‘savoriness.'”
Among its primary ingredients are “konbu, a thick leathery seaweed native to Japan’s shores; grated or shaved katsuobushi, dried bonito fish; niboshi, whole dried iwashi or sardines; and hoshi shittake, dried shiitake mushrooms.”
Dashi recipes are often a combination of the above ingredients, with konbu and katsuobushi being the most common.