Why This Recipe Works
by Tim Chin
Our inspiration was tare—a Japanese term for an all-purpose dipping sauce used for yakitori, noodles, sushi, even hot pot dishes. But ask anyone how to make it, and you’ll never get a straight answer. It’s essentially thickened soy sauce and sugar with anything else to make it delicious. In the world of tare, there are no rules but one: it better be damn tasty. During development, we tasted all things umami to get a sense for what we wanted. In the end, we decided on a traditional foundation, starting with dashi—a quick stock of kombu, a dried kelp, and katsuobushi—fermented, dried, and smoked skipjack. Dashi is the cornerstone of Japanese cooking—the chicken broth of Japan—and it’s loaded with savory compounds like the amino acid glutamate and the nucleotide inosinate, so it’s perfect for this sauce.