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Bonito Flakes

Bonito Flakes

Katsuobushi is smoked, dried and fermented bonito fish. It is one of the most essential ingredients of Japanese cuisine. It is mostly used to make dashi broth which is the base for many sauces and dishes. Traditionally Katsuobushi is used in blocks and shaved using a wooden grater box. 

Although Katsuobushi blocks have a much more intense flavor most people nowadays use pre-packages Katsuobushi shavings available in any supermarkets. But once you experienced the intense flavor of real Katsuobushi it will be hard to be content with conventional products. 

Raw Bonito fillets are first glutted, sliced and simmered in water for about an hour. Fat, scales and bones are then removed from the soft fillets. The fish slices are then smoked on wood to dry and develop a more complex flavor. They then are sun dried and exposed to fermentation with four repetitions to further reduce moisture. Finished Katsuobushi only has 20% of the volume of the original fish fillet.

The beginnings of katsuobushi date back to a few thousand years before christ but is the only at the end of the 16th century that its production process became the very elaborated process that still is used nowadays.

 

Tenpaku Bonito Flakes

 

Tenpaku is one of the few remaining traditional makers of katsuobushi. The Tenpaku family has a very long history in making katsuobushi but it is only in 1946 that the family established its own business, which now is run by the fourth generation.

The current owner Yukiaki Tenpaku is focusing on quality rather than quantity and a bonito block will only be sold after it went through multiple cycles of drying, smoking and fermentation until the fish's natural fat become umami.

Tenpaku katsuobushi is very popular among chefs of high quality restaurants in Kyoto and all over Japan, who do not wish to compromise on quality.

Katsuobushi Bonito Flake Production

 

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