1. Slicing of the raw fish
The head and internal organs are removed from the bonito and the fish is cut into three fillets.
Bonito used for kezuribushi should ideally be large, fresh, and low in fat.
2. Boiling and removal of bones
The fillets are arranged in a basket and simmered for approximately one hour. During this time the temperature needs to be carefully controlled so that it stays around 90℃. Fat, scales, and bones are then removed from the boiled fish.
3. Smoking and drying
The fillets are then smoked one or more times until the fish has dried. Oak, pasania, or castanopsis woods are most often used in this process. At the end of this stage the dried fish is called arabushi and can be used to make hanakatsuo (a lower quality, less expensive grade of kezuribushi shavings).
4. Drying and culturing
Tar and dirt on the surface of the dried fish is then shaved off and the cleaned fish is set to dry in the sun. After the fish had dried it is sprayed with mold (Aspergillus glaucus) and left in a sealed room to encourage the growth of the mold.
5. Shaving off
Once the mold has grown sufficiently on the surface it is shaved off.These drying, culturing and shaving stages are repeated over and over until the fish has become as hard as wood and the mold ceases to take hold. At this point the fish will be less than 20% of its original weight.
Finally, these hardened pieces of fish are sliced into extremely thin flakes (somewhat similar to the texture of paper thin wood shavings) rich with the aroma and flavour that is valued in the highest quality Kezuribushi.
Dashi, a rich Japanese broth packed with nutrients, is surprisingly simple to make!
Tip: In order to draw out the best flavor and taste of Kezuribushi we recommend you to use soft water when making dashi.
1. Place approximately one liter of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Add the Katsuobushi (about 40g) and immediately remove the pan from the heat.
3. Let the pan sit for a few minutes until the Kezuribushi sink into the water. Then strain and discard the solids (bonito flakes) keeping the stock.
4. You can use this dashi as a stock to make miso soup or as the base for a dipping sauce for udon (Japanese noodles) or other Japanese-style dishes.