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Bonito Flakes (Katsuobushi) かつお節

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Katsuobushi (かつお節), dried and shaved bonito flakes, is a key ingredients in dash, brings a smoky richness to the broth. It can be made from a variety of fish including yellowfin tuna, mackerel, and anchovies – each, of course,  with its own flavor profile.

To make katsuobushi, the bonito is simmered and its bones are removed after which it is dried and smoked. Sometimes a mold that promotes fermentation is added to the bonito, other fish are processed in a similar fashion.

It is commonly used for dashi (Japanese soup stock), but it is also sometimes placed on top of okonomiyaki or ohitashi to be tasted with the dish.

After being roasted in vacuo and seasoned with soy sauce or other seasonings, it is called “okaka”, and is sometimes mixed with rice balls or rice to make yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls).

There are two major types of Katsuobushi:

Arabushi (荒節) : Light in flavor, this dried and smoked katsuobushi is the most popular type, especially in the Kyoto and Osaka region.
Karebushi (枯節) : A mold that promotes fermentation and imparts a stronger umami flavor is added to arabushi, resulting in this type of Katsuobushi, popular in the Tokyo region.

Different ways to shave fish flakes:

Atsu kezuri (厚削り)
 : Thick-cut shavings that make an intense dash, used in dishes that are simmered for a long time.
Hanakatsuo (花かつお) : Thinly shaved flakes used for making dash quickly
Hana kezuri (花削り) : Very thin shavings also used to make instant dashi
Ito kezuri (糸削り) : Thin strands often used as a garnish for tofu or vegetables

Recipes to use:

Dashi (Japanese Soup Stock)
Okaka onigiri
Bonito Flakes & Cheese Onigiri
and more!

Shop at YJC’s store on Amazon:

Bonito Flakes (Katsuobushi) 

* Reference of this article : Food Sake Tokyo (The Terroir Guides) 

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