Cookbook:Bonito Flakes

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Bonito Flakes

Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Equipment | Techniques | Cookbook Disambiguation Pages | Ingredients | Seafood | Fish | Japanese Cuisine

Dried bonito flakes, known as katsuo-bushi or katsuobushi in Japanese cuisine, are flakes of dried, smoked bonito fish.[1]


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Lean bonito or skipkack tuna are caught—typically in the spring and summer—and the fillets removed.[2] The flesh is briefly boiled in hot water before smoking to impart the first round of flavor.[1][3] The smoked fish is then allowed to ferment and dry for several months until it has a complex flavor and a very dry and tough texture.[2] This dry block of fish is then shaved into flakes with a very sharp blade.


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Bonito flakes look very similar to wood shavings,[2] as they are light and delicate in texture. Due to the characteristics of the fish and the manner in which it is prepared, the flakes have a rich, savory, fishy taste.[1][2][3]

Selection and storage

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Katsuobushi can be sold as the solid piece, but the flakes are the most common form used by consumers.[1] Because they are dried, they last well at room temperature if kept away from air and moisture.

Bonito flakes are used to make katsuobushi-dashi, the second most favored type of dashi (Japanese broth) for miso soup.[3][2] Bonito flakes are also used for onigiri filling and okonomiyaki, as a topping/garnish and seasoning, and to make ponzu sauce.[3]


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  1. a b c d "Katsuobushi (Dried Bonito Flakes) – Japanese Cooking 101". Retrieved 2024-01-08.
  2. a b c d e America, Culinary Institute of; Ainsworth, Mark (2009-02-04). Kitchen Pro Series: Guide to Fish and Seafood Identification, Fabrication and Utilization. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-4354-0036-8.
  3. a b c d "What is Katsuobushi (Bonito Flake) and How Is It Used?". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-01-08.