WHAT IS IT?
Bonito flakes are made from fermented and dried smoked skipjack tuna, which are then shaved into paper thin flakes. Prized for it's smoky flavour, it can be used for a dashi stock or as a garnish to bump up the umami flavours of your dishes.
HOW IS IT USED?
Bonito flakes are most commonly used to make dashi (a broth base for miso soups). They can also be used as a topping or garnish to finished dishes to provide additional umami-ness.
Random Tidibit : When you put bonito flakes on top hot food, the heat from the steam is re-hydrating the paper thin shavings which causes it to look like it's dancing. Kinda neat! Don't worry it's not alive, it's just science. 🙂
Recipe ideas for Bonito Flakes usages:
WHERE DO I FIND IT?
You can typically find these at gourmet specialty stores and Asian supermarkets.
If they are difficult to find locally, you can purchase it online as well.
Bonito flakes are mildy fishy and have a very strong smoky flavour. They also have a bit of an umami flavour to them when used as a garnish.
There's almost no texture to bonito flakes. Since it is shaved thinly, it melts in your mouth. When you are using them in very saucy and soupy recipes, they will almost always melt into it so put this on as a topping right before eating.
Most bonito flakes when opened will keep well for about 6 months to 1 year, after that they start to lose a bit of their flavour. Store them in a cool and dry place in a very well sealed container.
Disclaimer: As with most of my posts, I provide affiliate links to make items easier to find if you cannot purchase this locally. I would never recommend anything I don’t own myself or highly recommend, but I would prefer you buy your items locally to support your stores (and chances are they are cheaper locally!) ?