[Flavor Friday] Katsuobushi (Bonito Flakes)
Updated: Apr 10
What is Katsuobushi (Bonito Flakes)?
Katsuobushi is a prepared/dried fish shaved into very thin slices. It is also known as dried bonito shavings. Katsuobushi is widely used in Japanese cuisine and is the most common condiment for soup/broth base.
Most katsuobushi is made from skipjack tuna (bonito). The first step of making katsuobushi is to clean the skipjack tuna and fillet it. During this phase, people usually remove the fat belly part of the skipjack tuna to help with longer preservation time.
The next phase is to smoke the filets for 15 cycles with 5 hours in each session. Once completed, the smoked fillet will be sprayed with a type of fungus (Aspergillus glaucus) and sundry it to help ferments and remove the moisture of the fillet.
The last phase of the production is to scrape off all the smoked and molded surfaces then shaved the filet into very thin slices.
What does it taste like?
Katsuobushi is also strong in umami which is salty, fishy, sweet, earthy, aromatic, and smoky. When consumed, it starts off with a bit of the fish taste and the smoky taste and transitions into sweetness.
How to use/where to find?
In most cases, you can find Katsuobushi in a small plastic bag or small plastic bottle packaging in the dry goods or rice seasoning section. It is commonly added to water and boiled for broth. It is also commonly used as a topping to stir-fried, barbequed, or cold appetizers. The best way to preserve katsuobushi after opening is to place it in the freezer or the fridge.
Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, Cold Tofu, Miso Soup, toppings on rice, Oden, Shabu shabu, Kelp Broth (Dashi), Japanese Stir Fry Noodles, Udon Broth