Over the past decade, katsuobushi bonito flakes have become increasingly popular in western cuisine.
It is made by taking large pieces of skipjack tuna and simmering them in water for a long time. The meat is then put in a smoker, and smoked using fragrant woods every day for up to a month. After smoking, it is dried in the sun and fermented. The result is a very hard piece of fish, almost like wood, that can be shaved into very fine salty, smoky, umami flakes.
In the past, many people outside of Japan were unfamiliar with katsuobushi, but now many commercial kitchens and home pantries carry it. It adds a very smoky, umami flavor to dishes and soups.
It’s a great seasoning or topping for rice, salads, sauces and more.