Fish flakes, or katsuobushi, are an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. You often find them sprinkled atop cold tofu, boiled greens, or other dishes like okonomiyaki. Katsuobushi is made from a fish called skipjack tuna, or bonito, in English. It’s katsuo in Japanese, reflected in its Latin name, Katsuwonus pelamis. There are different types and many regional variations in how this ingredient is produced. The venerable history is said to date to the early days of the Classical Period (794-1185), where it was mentioned as a”[seasoning made from] fish that has been boiled and dried hard” in the Yoro Code, a set of criminal and administrative codes completed in 718 C.E. Becoming popularized during the Edo Period (1603-1868), it was still considered an essential luxury until the modern day. Nowadays the labor-intensive process of soaking konbu kelp and adding fish flakes to make a savory broth have been replaced by technological advances and modern-day conveniences such as powdered bonito, to add instant savor to dishes such as instant miso soup and noodle soup bases.
Usuguchi soy sauce to taste
Small bowl, serving plate
1. Thoroughly clean the okra, and then cut into bite-size pieces.
2. In the small bowl, combine okra and soy sauce to taste. Transfer to a plate. Top with bonito flakes.