Just a Pinch Goes a Long Way in Flavor
Bonito flakes (or katsuobushi) are a delicious and a very quick way to make a pot of economical fish stock. The resulting broth, called dashi, is a fish stock traditional to Japan. It is traditionally mixed with fermented miso paste to make miso soup.
The flakes are made from dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna. Japanese women used to keep blocks of the dried bonito and flake off as much as they needed. Nowadays the flakes are sold in bags. Homemade dashi made from dried kelp and bonito flakes is rare today, even in Japan. Most people use granulated or liquid instant stock, which is typically MSG-flavored instead of the natural bonito flakes.
Historically, the Japanese have valued bonito broth as a remedy for colds and fatigue and to improve blood circulation. A small randomized clinical trial in 2008 showed that the elderly Japanese subjects who ingested broth made from bonito flakes for one month had far improved systolic blood pressure readings than those ingesting plain water. Also, the bonito broth subjects had a much improved emotional state.
They had improved concentration, reduced depression and anxiety, improved decision making ability and communication. It was also noted that there was reduced oxidative DNA damage
Having bonito flakes around the house is especially helpful for a young adult or family on a limited budget with limited space. A pot can be ready in just a few minutes, rather than making huge batches and freezing large quantities of chicken or beef stock. It is the most economical stock too: less than a dollar’s worth of bonito flakes makes a quart of stock in a hurry.
There are other popular uses of bonito flakes, as a seasoning or topping sprinkled on various dishes such as boiled vegetables, tofu, rice, and soba noodles and as a stuffing for rice balls. It can also be used instead of stock cubes in soups and casseroles. So if a quick fish broth is needed, or no fish heads are available, use bonito flakes instead. Just a pinch goes a long way.
Flakes with Benefits in Federal Way
If you are into healthy living and a fish diet is your lifestyle, bonito flakes or fish broth from bonito flakes are handy to have. Or perhaps a trip to your favorite Japanese restaurant in Federal Way can help. We use bonito flakes in our broths, and liberal sprinklings of it on our delicious okonomiyaki and takoyaki.