Katsuobushi

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  June 14, 2022

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or is the Japanese name for dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). Young bonito has a similar color and texture and is sometimes used as a cheaper substitute for skipjack tuna, particularly in canned products, but not all countries allow marketing of bonito as skipjack tuna. Shaved Katsuobushi and dried kelp – kombu – are the main ingredients of dashi, a broth that forms the basis of many soups (such as miso) and sauces (e.g., soba no tsukejiru) in Japanese cuisine. Katsuobushi’s distinct umami flavor comes from its high inosinic acid content. Traditionally made katsuobushi, known as karebushi, is deliberately planted with Aspergillus glaucus fungus in order to reduce moisture. Katsuobushi has also been shown to impart a kokumi flavour. Upon being placed on hot food, the heat waves causes the thin and light katsuobushi to move about, giving it a special aesthetic look. It is placed on pizzas to make the top of the pizza seem alive with the “dancing” katsuobushi.

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.