Japanese Super Food “Katsuobushi” – Katsuo Dashi, Washoku

Tofu leftovers hamburger with Katsuobushi for topping
Tofu leftovers hamburger with Katsuobushi for topping.
Leftovers of soybeans after pressing Tofu (bean-curd) are rich in soybean nutrients.
About Katsuobushi | For Health and Beauty | Today’s Lecturers and Food coordinator | How to make good Katsuobushi Dashi Broth | Types of Katsuobushi | How to choose commercial products

About Katsuobushi

Katsuobushi is often used in Japanese cuisine as a basic Japanese seasoning.
It’s dried bonito and a Japanese preserved food.
We mainly use it as seasoning on Tofu or Ohitashi (boiled greens) and when making broth.

In 1907, a Japanese chemist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda noticed that glutamic acid contained in kelp was the source of its good taste.
It was Dr. Shintaro Kodama who found inosinic acid contained in the bonito, and Dr. Akira Kuninaka found guanylic acid contained in dried shiitake mushroom. Both are Japanese.
Katsuobushi contains a large amount of inosinic acid.

The reason why Japanese Dashi has good taste is the synergistic effect of these ingredients.

Bonito with less fat is suitable for Katsuobushi, it’s less fatty than food fish.

The type of woods, the way of burning them and how to smoke Katsuo are very important elements to make good Katsuobushi.

Woods for fumigation are broad leaved deciduous trees like kinds of oak.
Wood chips of Prunus are suitable for meat, but not good for fish. Many woods are not suitable to make Katsuobushi from the viewpoint of the flavor.

Shavings of Arabushi (left), Karebushi (right)
Shavings of Arabushi (left) and Karebushi (right)

For Health and Beauty

High protein, low fat food:

Katsuobushi is high in protein and low in fat, it’s good for dieting and health maintenance.

30 kinds of amino acids including all 9 essential amino acids are contained in Katsuobushi.
It also contains taurine, which works to lower blood cholesterol levels and keep blood pressure normal.

Toning the skin:

By taking inosinic acid, we can expect the improvement of basal metabolism and the skin care effect.


Katsuobushi is rich in the peptides which effective for fatigue recovery and promoting the burning of body fat.
Also, tryptophan, DHA, EHA, vitamins and minerals are contained richly.
Katsuobushi has fine qualities; Effectiveness for insomnia, improving blood flow, increasing immune strength and enhancing an anti-oxidative power etc.
These nutrients are also expected to be effective in activating collagen.

Today’s Lecturers and Food coordinator

Mr. Yoshitaka Igarashi (left), The president of Igarashi Katsuobushi Ltd., wants to pass on the culture of dried bonito along with the taste of real Japanese broth.
Mr. Tetsuya Kato (center), Consultant of local food development, specialized in food research and development at one of the largest companies in Japan.

Food coordinator:
Ms. Mariko Morioka (right) , The representative of Nihon Shokutaku Academy, a Japanese cuisine researcher for regional revitalization.

How to Make Good Katsuobushi Dashi Broth

Katsuobushi Dashi Broth

The finished Katsuobushi Dashi Broth
Golden color, pleasant scent and good taste


*water : 1,000cc
*Katsuobushi shavings : 40g

To make good use of Katsuobushi, use 3-4% Katsuobushi of water.

  1. Put water in a pot and heat it. Turn the heat off when it boils.
  2. Add Katsuobushi in hot water.
  3. Keep it on low heat as it is for around 1 minute. If you boil it for a long time, it has a bitter or sour taste.
  4. Put it in a colander and wait water comes out naturally without pressing it down.

Types of Katsuobushi


Bonito which is through the phases of smoking process is called “Arabushi”, meanwhile the one through the mold fungus applying process is called “Karebushi”.
“Honkarebushi” is the product which is made by repeating the sun drying and the mold fungus applying processes more than three to four times. It takes about 6 months, and another 1 or 2 years for maturing.

That’s the difference between Arabushi and Karebushi (or Honkarebushi).
Of course, making Arabushi needs much time and labor.

Arabushi is expressed as “Katsuo kezuribushi” or “Hana Katsuo”.
It has a light taste and a lower price than Karebushi.

Karebushi (or “Kare-fushi”) is more expansive and has plenty of body.

The produces that is shaved from Arabushi or Karebushi is called “Kezuribushi” (dried bonito shavings).

How to choose commercial products

When buying Katsuobushi shavings, choose the one that look pink and fluffy as possible as you can.
It’s better if there is little powder inside the bag. (When the Katsuobushi is fatty, it becomes powder easily.)

Many kinds of dried and smoked/boiled fishes other than Katsuobushi for Japanese Dashi

Other dried fishes for Japanese soup stock
Other dried fishes for Japanese soup stock


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