Bonito flakes, which many people misspell as benito flakes, are known as katsuobushi in Japan. The flakes are made from skipjack tuna, which has been dried, undergone the process of fermentation, and smoked after. Sometimes, young bonito is used as bonito flakes substitute because it is much cheaper than skipjack tuna. Nevertheless, it has the same color and texture, which makes them really identical.
There are many recipes that you can create with the bonito flakes, including the Okaka where the flakes are chopped finely and dressed with soy sauce. Another popular bonito flakes recipe is when it is used in onigiri or rice balls as part of the stuffing. Other recipes include the following:
- Rice topping for bentÅ
- Okaka furikake where the dried oakaka is used as a furikaka rice topping
- Seasoning for hiyayakko, also known as cold tofu where it is paired with Welsh onion and grated ginger
- Topping on okonomiyaki and takoyaki
The most popular though is katsuobushi-dashi, which is the second favorite broth of miso soup in Japan. In the United States, bonito flakes are sold as treats for pet cats.
More about Bonito
To understand bonito flakes better, it is important to know about the fish bonito. This fish is a crucial ingredient in many Japanese cuisines as well as in many sauces. In the Asian markets, you will be able to find them in pellet or flakes form. The fish comes from the genus Sarda, which is in the family of mackerel.
Catching bonitos in Japan takes place during the early spring because a school of fish can usually be found in the shores. The fish remain there until fall and so it is easy for the Japanese to harvest them in large numbers. To create the flakes, the bonito fish will be boiled whole. After that, they will be cut in half and both the skin and bones will be removed. The remaining parts of the fish will be smoked and dried under the sun. When this process is done and the fish are dry, they will be smoked once again and dried after until they become solid blocks of brown fish.
Bonito flakes, although not truly well-known, do have some health benefits. Whether you will consume them or your cat, here are the top 10 health benefits that are offered by this Japanese fish:
1. Cancer Fighter
As cancer is one of the deadliest diseases around, you want to prevent this as early as possible. When bonito flakes are eaten in miso soup, which is already quite nutritious, you help fight off the risks of cancer. Among the type of cancer that it can help prevent are breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancer.
2. Radiation Protection
According to research, if you consume miso soup with bonito flakes everyday, you will be able to fight off the effects of radiation.
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Those who do not want to look their age can turn to the rejuvenating effects of bonito flakes. They have alkalizing effects on the skin and the body and contribute to making you look more youthful because of the anti-aging properties.
4. Combating Infection
Although you may not consume as many bonito flakes as your cat, you can still have the same robustness as your pet if you regularly eat these flakes. They have strong effects on the immune system so that you will not get sick so easily and suffer from typical kinds of infection.
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5. Maintain Figure
If you do not want to gain weight, bonito flakes can help you stay away from meat. There are not enough calories offered by these flakes of fish. Therefore, you can eat as much as you want without worrying about weight gain.
Bonito flakes do have some anti-bacterial properties so that bacteria that cause different kinds of diseases will not affect you.
7. Rich in Protein
There are many benefits offered by protein and thankfully, bonito flakes come loaded with this health compound. With the help of protein, you can take advantage of better muscle mass, leaner tissues, and also lower intake of calories.
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8. Has Vitamin B12
Bonito flakes contain vitamin b12, which helps the conversion of glucose in your body. It also lends a hand in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
9. Vitamin E
With its richness in vitamin E, consuming bonito flakes will help you enjoy the benefits of its antioxidant properties.
10. More Nutrients
Aside from the mentioned vitamins, bonito flakes also have lecithin, choline, vitamin K, and linoleic acid among many others.