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Bonito Flakes are Surprisingly Useful!

If you've ever had our okonomiyaki, modern-yaki, takoyaki, or Japanese salad at Maido, you're probably familiar with bonito flakes, or katsuobushi in Japanese. They're simmered, smoked, and fermented fish flakes sprinkled on top of them. (They're very thin and light, so it looks like they're dancing when the dish is warm and steaming.) They're nutritious, and are used for many more dishes in various ways in Japan. At Maido, we recommend Ninben's bonito flakes. For over 300 years since Ninben's establishment in 1699, they've continued to mainly do business in bonito flakes in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Their bonito flakes are especially soft, thinly and carefully shaved. They'll surely enhance your dishes. We'll introduce the ways we can use bonito flakes, and some recipes in this blog post, and the nutrition facts and benefits (health effects) of bonito flakes in the next blog post!

Cats love bonito flakes!


How can you use bonito flakes?


For topping

This is modern-yaki - okonomiyaki & yakisoba combined that we offer at Maido!

Bonito flakes are common for a topping for tofu. (You can also have some scallions, grated ginger etc. to your liking, and pour some soy sauce over it.)

Maido’s Japanese salad has some bonito flakes on top the tofu as well!

Bonito flakes and egg over rice with soy sauce is another popular one. Since it can be prepared in a flash, it's perfect for breakfast or supper at night. The flavor of dried bonito flakes makes the usual egg over rice even more delicious. Our Jidori eggs are very fresh and great for egg over rice!

*Please note there is always a risk of salmonella when consuming raw eggs or poultry; Jidori eggs are no exception to this. Consume raw at your own risk!

Bonito flakes go well with udon as well, as the udon soup is usually made of dashi with some fish.

Some people like to put bonito flakes on top the curry and rice. It sounds interesting even for Japanese people. Would you try it?

There are many more ingredients you can use bonito flakes with.


For dashi (broth)

Dashi, which means broth in Japanese is the base of Japanese dishes such as miso soup and Japanese egg omelet. The addition of dashi alone adds some flavor and depth to a dish. We'll introduce two recipes to make dashi: the first dashi and the second dashi, and another recipe for the furikake seasonings after you use the bonito flakes for the second dashi.

What you need

Pot, colander, bowl, paper towel (or cloth)


First dashi

First dashi is characterized by its rich taste and aroma and elegant amber color. It's perfect for soup such as miso soup, chawanmushi (egg custard), etc.

Ingredients for 4 cups of miso soup (27floz. / 800ml)

1oz. / 30g of bonito flakes

33.8floz. / 1000ml of water


1. Pour water into a pot and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.

2. Add bonito flakes and let stand for 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Place a colander on top of a bowl, cover the colander with a kitchen paper or cloth, and filter the bonito flakes slowly.

4. You can get about 27 floz. / 800ml of dashi. The remaining bonito flakes can be used for the second dashi.


Don't stir the bonito flakes when you put them in the pot, and don't squeeze them when you filter them.


Second dashi

Second dashi has a slightly weaker aroma than the first dashi, but it's ideal as the broth for simmered dishes and Japanese mixed rice.

Ingredients (for 14.8floz. / 440ml)

1oz. / 30g of bonito flakes used for the first dashi

16.9floz. / 500ml of water

*5g / 0.2oz. of new bonito flakes if needed


1. Put the remaining bonito flakes and water in a pot and heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

*2. If the aroma isn't strong enough after removing the dashi in step 1, add new bonito flakes and let stand for 1 to 2 minutes. Otherwise, skip this process.

3. Place a colander on top of a bowl, cover the colander with a kitchen paper or cloth, strain out the bonito flakes, let stand for 1 minute, and squeeze lightly.

After 1 minute, squeeze gently.

4. You can get about 14.8floz. / 440ml of dashi.


How to store dashi

Dashi can't be kept for long, so it's recommended to use up all the dashi you make immediately. If you want to use the dashi you made in the morning or afternoon for dinner, put in a jar and keep refrigerated. It can also be frozen. If frozen, freeze in an ice mold that can be frozen in small portions in order to make the dashi uniform in thickness, and use up within two weeks.

Furikake seasonings after second dashi

There are still some nutrition including amino acids left in the bonito flakes, so you shouldn't throw away the bonito flakes even after the second dashi. Why don't you try making furikake seasonings by frying them? You can use them for rice balls as well as seasonings for some rice, tofu, etc.

Ingredients (easy-to-make portions)

1.7oz. / 50g of bonito flakes after the second dashi

1.5 tbsp of sake

1.5 tbsp of soy sauce

0.5 of tbsp of sugar

0.5 of tbsp of water

White sesame seeds to your liking


1. Drain off water from bonito flakes and chop into small pieces.

2. Put bonito flakes, sake, soy sauce, sugar, and water in a frying pan and cook until water is absorbed.

3. Add white sesame seeds and mix to blend.


For cooking

Recipe of mixed rice with bonito flakes and gobo burdock root

Here is a recipe for mixed rice with bonito flakes and gobo burdock root. The bonito flakes have a strong flavor and the gobo burdock root has a pleasant texture. It's a dish that will increase your appetite. It's recommended as a dish for days when you don't have many side dishes. This recipe is easy to make and very tasty. We hope you give it a try.

Ingredients (2 Servings)

14.1oz. / 400g of cooked rice

1.7oz. / 50g of gobo burdock root

Appropriate amount of water for soaking

*1.5 tbsp of soy sauce

*1.5 tbsp of cooking sake

*1.5 tbsp of mirin sweet cooking sake

0.2oz. / 5g of bonito flakes

1 tbsp of sesame oil

0.5oz. / 15g of scallions

(You can get all the ingredients at Maido!)


1. Chop the scallions.

2. Scrape the skin off the gobo burdock root. Sasagaki-cut into small pieces. (Click here for our blog post to see how you clean and sasagaki-cut the gobo burdock root.) Soak in a bowl of water for 10 minutes, and drain.

3. Heat sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the gobo burdock root prepared in step 2 quickly.

4. Add all the "*" condiments and sauté over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half, then remove from heat.

5. In a bowl with rice, add what you cooked in step 4 and bonito flakes and mix to blend.

6. Arrange what you made in step 5 in a rice bowl and sprinkle with scallions.


As a cat treat

Have you tried feeding cats some bonito flakes? They usually go crazy over them. You might think they're not for the cats, but cats can eat bonito flakes. They contain ingredients that are good for cats' health, and most importantly, they motivate cats to eat. Because bonito flakes have a pleasant aroma and taste that cats often enjoy, they can be expected to increase the appetite of cats that have a hard time eating.

The composition of bonito flakes is almost the same as that of cat food in terms of salt and minerals. As long as you are careful about how and how much you give them, bonito flakes are safe to feed to cats. Because fish is from the ocean and bonito flakes are preserved food, you may get the impression that bonito flakes are high in salt. However, in fact, they are a low sodium food. There is some variation from product to product, but in general, the amount of salt in bonito flakes is only about 0.01oz. / 0.3g in 3,5oz. / 100g. The amount of salt in a typical serving for human is about 0.035oz. / 1g to 0.07oz. / 2g. As long as you feed only a smaller amount to cats, the amount of salt shouldn't be of much concern.

Overfeeding is not healthy as mentioned, and if you always give them bonito flakes, they may not eat cat food that isn't topped with bonito flakes anymore. A pinch or so of dried bonito flakes should be given as an occasional topping to cat food or as a treat.


There is a lot of food items, housewares, stationery, and gifts available at the store and our online store, Maido! Kairashi Shop, where you can place your order for shipping or store pickup!

Maido! also offers online grocery shopping with options for curbside pickup and home delivery!* *Some restrictions may apply. (Because of the staff shortages, we are currently pausing our online grocery services, both for delivery and pickup. They will be resumed in February, 2023. We apologize for the inconvenience.)

Happy shopping. :)


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