Japanese Ingredients 0 comments

What is dried bonito and how to use it

Dried bonito (Katsuobushi – かつお節) is a Japanese preserved food made by boiling the meat of bonito and then drying it.

Cut off the head, fins, and part of the abdomen from the fish, grate it into three or more pieces. Then, shape it into a boat shape called “fushi” before processing it.

The ones you can buy at Asian and Japanese supermarkets overseas are called “kezuri-bushi,” which are boat-shaped dried bonito shaved into very thin slices. Nowadays, shaved dried bonito is the standard, but in the past, hard dried bonito flakes were shaved with a wooden box shaver. People used to shave off chunks of dried bonito right before eating. The aroma is far better this way, so some people still choose this method.

Left: dried bonito flakes / Right: a big piece of dried bonito

How to use and eat dried bonito flakes

In Japanese cuisine, bonito flakes are used in a variety of situations. It is commonly used to make dashi (soup stock) and to make okaka, a mixture of bonito flakes and soy sauce, for rice balls.

Okaka, a mixture of bonito flakes and soy sauce

Many people probably have seen bonito flakes on top of okonomiyaki or takoyaki.


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