Bonito Flakes are a kitchen essential and will add a kick of flavor to any dish!
Katsuo-bushi, also known as Bonito flakes, are made from dried bonito fish that are cut thin into flakes.
Bonito flakes are used in dishes similarly to dried shrimp to add a savory, smoky flavor. They also work well in dishes in the same way that anchovies or bacon is used. They basically add a savory, salty element to a dish.
Because the flakes are shaved so thin, they easily melt into sauces and soups which is why bonito flakes are one of the main ingredients in Dashi, a Japanese soup stock that is used as the base ingredient in the majority of classic Japanese dishes such as broths and noodle bowls.
This is not all they are used for, though. Bonito flakes are super versatile and are added to tons of different dishes.
So, in this article, I round up my favorite recipes that feature bonito flakes, keep reading to find out.
1. Dashi Recipe | Just One Cookbook
Dashi is a traditional Japanese soup stock used in lots of Japanese dishes. Key ingredients include bonito flakes, anchovies, shiitake mushrooms and kelp.
Lots of Japanese recipes will require Dashi so knowing how to make it will be super handy. In fact, you’ll find that Dashi is an ingredient in lots of the other recipes in this list so I thought putting it at number one was a no brainer!
2. Japanese Fried Eggplants and Crispy Bonito Flakes with Dashi Sauce | Devour.Asia
This dish is a super tasty healthy dinner idea. It consists of eggplants sliced into rings and then flash fried. Then, it is cooled in ice before being doused with Dashi sauce and topped with crispy bonito flakes – delicious!
The crispy bonito flakes add not only a nice crispy texture to the dish but also a smoky, fishy flavor too.
3. Grilled Shishito Peppers with Bonito Flakes | Beyond Savory
This recipe for grilled Shishito peppers with bonito flakes makes for the perfect appetizer or side dish., so
The peppers are tossed in olive oil, seasoned with salt and grilled until crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, then topped with bonito flakes.
4. Bonito Flakes Rice Ball | Sudachi Recipes
Okaka Onigiri, a crispy rice ball dish is a staple in Japanese cuisine. The ball is actually shaped into a triangle and can be different flavors, but this recipe features bonito flake flavored Okaka Onigiri.
It’s often eaten at lunch time as a quick and easy fix as it is super filling too or eaten alongside larger meals.
5. Kombu Dashi Risotto with Bonito Flakes | CBCK
Another rice dish that is beautifully complimented by bonito flakes is this Kombu Dashi risotto with bonito flakes.
This chicken and bonito flake risotto is super easy to make and will serve up to three people, so it’s a great family dinner to make, especially on colder evenings as it’s a very comforting dish!
6. Agedashi Tofu | Love and Cook
Agedashi Tofu is an excellent first course dish. The tofu is fried, so it becomes crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.
The crispy tofu is served in a warm broth made up of Dashi, a Japanese soup stock. Traditionally this dish calls for deep frying, but this recipe pan fries the tofu, so it uses less oil making it a little healthier.
You can also make this a fully vegetarian dish by using a vegetarian stock instead of Dashi, but obviously this will alter the taste of the dish.
7. Rice with Soy-Glazed Bonito Flakes | epicurious
This recipe is made for those who hate wasting food! This can be easily made using leftovers or from scratch, you won’t be disappointed.
The soy-glazed bonito flakes add a nice savory, smoky flavor to the rice which is super moreish and comforting – the best use of leftover rice!
8. Cabbage and Cucumber with Pickled Apricot and Bonito Flakes | Kikkoman
Another great side dish or light afternoon snack is this cabbage and cucumber with pickled apricot and bonito flakes recipe.
The combination of the sweet and sharp flavors from the cabbage and cucumber and pickled apricot mixed with the smokey, salty, fishy flavor of the bonito flakes makes for a very tasty dish!
9. Japanese Potato and Dried Bonito Flakes | Cookpad
Next up is this Japanese potato and dried bonito flakes dish. This classic home cooked meal will make you feel full and warm inside.
Featuring fluffy potatoes, salty, texture-rich konjac and lots of dried bonito flakes, this recipe will not disappoint, especially with smoky bonito flakes providing lots of flavor.
10. Bonito Udon Broth Bowl with Poached Egg | Yummly
Japanese cuisine is enriched with lots of Udon noodles and broth bowl recipes and this bonito Udon broth bowl with poached egg recipe does not disappoint.
It makes for a super tasty meal and the mixture of textures from the soft egg to the slurpy noodles to the crispy bonito flakes will leave you wanting more.
11. Quick & Easy Pad Thai with Shrimp Recipe | Savoring Today
Who doesn’t love Pad Thai! This quick and easy Pad Thai with Shrimp recipe is not to be overlooked.
It features crunchy peanuts, salty bonito flakes, scrumptious shrimp and sauce-soaked noodles – yes please!
12. Soba with Crispy Shallots, Bonito & Cilantro | Food 52
If you love all things crispy you’ll love this recipe. Soba noodles topped with crispy shallots and bonito flakes is the best combination for sure.
After all, crispy shallots make everything taste amazing. Plus, the bonito flakes will add a lovely savory, fishy flavor too.
13. Spaghetti Carbonara with Bonito Flakes | Feed Feed
This next recipe is a bit of a wildcard, and you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this but hear me out!
Spaghetti Carbonara is so delicious because of the salty, crispy pieces of bacon or pancetta. So, adding bonito flakes is a no brainer. These salty, crispy flakes will take your spaghetti to the next level.
Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!
14. Broccoli Mixed with Bonito Flakes | Unami Recipe
Let’s take a look at some healthier options now after that super indulgent spaghetti Carbonara recipe.
There’s nothing bonito flakes can’t make delicious, even broccoli! This recipe will add a splash of color to your meal and add some needed nutrients, not to mention texture to your dish.
Plus, it only takes a few minutes to prepare, and it will seriously elevate your cooking!
15. Classic Miso Soup | bon appétit
This classic Miso soup recipe is easy to make and requires very few ingredients but the ingredients it does include are packed with flavor and provide tasty textures.
It utilizes bonito flakes for a smoky, fishy flavor, kombu and wakame for texture and tofu to make the dish more filling.
It’s the perfect lunch time dish: easy to make and cheap to source.
16. Grilled Corn with Miso Butter and Bonito | Good Food
Looking for a way to spice up your next barbecue? This is the way to do it! This grilled corn with Miso butter and bonito flakes recipe is a salty and satisfying twist on the barbecue classic.
Once you have grilled your corn as normal, while they’re still hot, spread on the Miso butter, so it melts and then sprinkle on the bonito flakes and sesame seeds.
Because the corn will still be warm, the bonito flakes will also start to melt a bit, coating the corn in a delicious savory flavor.
17. Mushroom and Cream Pasta with Dashi | Japan Center
A Japanese twist on this classic pasta dish is the perfect way to spruce up your dinners and impress your family and friends.
This mushroom and cream pasta with dashi recipe takes the classic creamy dish and incorporates the savory, fishy flavors of dashi and bonito flakes – delicious!
Despite incorporating some Japanese flare to this Italian dish, it’s still super easy and quick to make! This recipe serves two.
18. Oyakodon (Japanese Rice Bowl) | Planful Cook
A great family meal is this Japanese rice bowl. It’s quick and easy to make and is packed with lots of flavors and textures to indulge in.
The combination of chicken thighs cooked in a ginger and soy sauce blend, and a soft, salty fried egg on top of fluffy white rice with bonito flakes makes for a super satisfying and filling dish.
It’s also a very healthy option, each portion is only 353 calories! This recipe serves six and is ready in under an hour.
19. Okonomiyaki-style chips | Great British Chefs
A super easy but delicious recipe that takes a simple portion of chips (fries) and pairs them with classic Japanese toppings including tonkotsu sauce (a fruity, soy-flavoured Worcestershire sauce), ‘Kewpie’ mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.
Bonito flakes are a super versatile addition to virtually any dish! They’re a staple ingredient that you should seriously consider adding to your grocery list.
I hope this article has inspired you to give these classic Japanese flavors and textures a try!