Ma-kombu, also known as true bull kelp, is an edible seaweed that is prized for its exceptionally high concentrations of glutamic acid, rich fragrance, and ability to produce crystal clear stock. This kelp is from Hokkaido and has been grown for two years to fully develop its flavor before being hand-harvested and dried. The quality of ma-kombu can be judged based on the glutamate-rich white powder that is naturally present on properly prepared kelp. The dashi made from ma-kombu is of the finest quality: the flavor is mellow, rich, and refined with a rich pale golden color and incredible clarity. Bull kelp adds a deep savoriness and mineral flavor to foods due to its high concentration of natural glutamic acids. Kombu can be an economic alternative for everyday use and rishiri kombu can be a good substitute for a stronger broth.
Uses: Make a simple dashi by bringing 10 grams of kelp and 1000 grams of water to a boil. Add 10 grams of katsuobushi and let steep off the heat for 60 seconds and then strain. The solids can be discarded or repurposed for another use such as homemade furikake.