Sushi Ingredients - Sushi Fish - Bonito

Bonito (Katsuo)

Katsuwonus pelamis

Also see: Bonito Sushi in Sushi Menu

Bonito is seasonal during the winter when they swim south from northern Japan towards the south Pacific. They are best when fished individually with a pole and not with a net. The reason for this is that they have very strong muscles, and they can ruin their flesh (by muscle fatigue) by trying to escape the net. The bonito have a very strong smell of blood, so they are quickly butchered and chilled.

The bonito low chances of parasites living underneath their skin so the loins are always charred and quickly shocked in ice water (tataki method). The skin is left on since it is another tasty element of the bonito.

Bonito loins are also dried and smoked (katsuobushi) to make broth in Japanese cuisine. After they are dry, they become very hard, and must be shaved to make the basic dashi, or broth. Bonito was rarely eaten raw until the tataki method prevented food poisoning and was usually dried. The name katsuo is believed to have derived from this: Katauo (Hard Fish) eventually became katuo.

Bonito is also famous for their tataki. They are sliced thick, and dressed with blended soy sauce, a lot of scallions, and garlic. The bonito has a strong flavor that can match with these ingredients.