Dried Fish, Bonito Flakes, Koji Culture, Miso, Soy Sauce, Fermentations Etc

fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#1
@scaryfish had a kind suggestion to move our conversations on the subject matters here happened on my post on Noyo Jetty fishing last week. No need to continue it but thought it would be easier for us to find relevant info later at least. I cut-n-paste the related parts here. I do make my own things as a hobby the likes of miso, sake and rice vinegar etc and happy to share information of those if you care! :)

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K1n Active Member Monday at 8:45 AMMonday at 8:45 AM
curious on where you got that blue netting? thanks!

Mahigeer Well-Known Member Monday at 9:57 AM #7
K1n said:
curious on where you got that blue netting? thanks!

Most likely from Japan, is my guess.

fish-ninja Well-Known Member Monday at 7:53 PM #8
Mahigeer said:
Most likely from Japan, is my guess.

Not this one. You can find a bunch of these on amazon here in the us. Search by "food dehydrator net" or something similar and you should be able to find something similar.

moonshine Member Wednesday at 1:44 PM #15
Great ideas. Think I'm gonna try drying fish.
When I was a kid, mom used to serve us rice with dried bonito flakes. She'd take a device that looked like a wood plane and she'd shave flakes off a piece of dried fish that look like a chunk of wood. Not my idea of a great meal as a boy. This post brought back the memory. I need to give it another shot.

TheFrood Active Member Wednesday at 3:29 PM #16
moonshine said:
Great ideas. Think I'm gonna try drying fish. When I was a kid, mom used to serve us rice with dried bonito flakes. She'd take a device that looked like a wood plane and she'd shave flakes off a piece of dried fish that look like a chunk of wood. Not my idea of a great meal as a boy. This post brought back the memory. I need to give it another shot.

https://www.globalkitchenjapan.com/collections/bonito-shaver-box
Err, this isn't a recommendation on purchase... Just showing what it is :) Sure you can find them in whichever online markets you prefer.

fish-ninja Well-Known Member Wednesday at 3:32 PM #17
moonshine said:
Great ideas. Think I'm gonna try drying fish. When I was a kid, mom used to serve us rice with dried bonito flakes. She'd take a device that looked like a wood plane and she'd shave flakes off a piece of dried fish that look like a chunk of wood. Not my idea of a great meal as a boy. This post brought back the memory. I need to give it another shot.

I have similar memory @moonshine. My mom made it my job to shave dried bonito flakes with her old shaver. I wish I could go back in time to sharpen her blades though.... Today, the bonito rice still stays in my repertoire when I do not have much to cook around. I mix shaved dried bonito with sesami oil and soy source. And put them on warm rice. I can keep eating that.
Drying fish like perch or spanish aji mackerel is very simple by the way. I think @moonshine shares the same heritage and perhaps knows all of these but let me share some tips below just in case.
You brine it for a couple of hours after cleaning the fish then sun dry it. Tradition is that you cut open fish not from its stomach side but from back side. If you live in dry weather, one evening of drying usually suffices with a good breeze. If you like sweeter taste, try coating the fish with Mirin sake by a paintbrush a few times during drying.

moonshine Member Wednesday at 6:07 PM #18
My folks were both Okinawan. When they came to California I avoided their background to try and fit in. It wasn't a huge success. Now they're gone and I'm in my 60s so I'm working at regaining things I've lost. Thanks for the tips.

fish-ninja Well-Known MemberWednesday at 7:03 PM #19
moonshine said:
My folks were both Okinawan. When they came to California I avoided their background to try and fit in. It wasn't a huge success. Now they're gone and I'm in my 60s so I'm working at regaining things I've lost. Thanks for the tips.

Happy to be of your service, moonshine! Anytime! Will DM you.

TheFrood Active MemberYesterday at 9:05 AM #20
Just out of curiosity what kinds of uses are there for dried fish? I know shaved bonito is commonly used in furikake and to make dashi... I have also seen dried anchovies or sardines (the pinhead ones) used to make dashi. Are there other things dried fish are used for?
Was trying to learn about Japanese cooking methods lately which is the only reason I learned the above (learning to make dashi to make miso soup from scratch... but just use pre-shaved bonito for now).

fish-ninja Well-Known Member Yesterday at 11:46 AM #21
TheFrood said:
Just out of curiosity what kinds of uses are there for dried fish?

I would eat them! Drying make them taste better.

TheFrood said:
.... make miso soup from scratch... but just use pre-shaved bonito for now).

Why don't you try making miso yourself? It is very satisfying to do that.

TheFrood Active Member Yesterday at 12:12 PM #22
fish-ninja said:
I would eat them! Drying make them taste better.
Why don't you try making miso yourself? It is very satisfying to do that.


Making my own soy sauce and miso is on the list... Will likely do it in the winter time. Koji cultures are
readily available so shouldn't be too difficult.
I know you eat the dried fish, LOL. I was wondering what kind of dishes you use them in!

fish-ninja Well-Known Member Yesterday at 1:49 PM #23
TheFrood said:
Making my own soy sauce and miso is on the list... Will likely do it in the winter time. Koji cultures are
readily available so shouldn't be too difficult.
I know you eat the dried fish, LOL. I was wondering what kind of dishes you use them in!


Right! Making miso is pretty straightforward with bought koji culture. Soy sauce is a bit more involved. For dried fish, most common is simply to grill them. Search "himono" to get an idea.

TheFrood Active Member Yesterday at 2:01 PM #24
fish-ninja said:
Right! Making miso is pretty straightforward with bought koji culture. Soy sauce is a bit more involved. For dried fish, most common is simply to grill them. Search "himono" to get an idea.

Isn't Soy Sauce just the dark brown liquid you collect from the top of the miso as it ferments?

fish-ninja Well-Known Member Yesterday at 4:23 PM #25
TheFrood said:
Isn't Soy Sauce just the dark brown liquid you collect from the top of the miso as it ferments?

Yes and no. The type of sauce you talk about is called "Tamari Shoyu". They are good and can be made wheat-less for those who have alllergy to it. Excellent sauce to go with raw fish (sashimi). But yield is pretty small because you do not want to make miso too wet. Regular soy sauce uses different cultures and with more liquids so you can enjoy more yields but it is also easier to fail by growing wrong molds. You can DM me to get down on details if you like. I am aware this is a board for fishing after all and not everyone here would care of these things perhaps.... :)

scaryfish Active MemberYesterday at 8:10 PMYesterday at 8:10 PM #26
fish-ninja said:
Yes and no. The type of sauce you talk about is called "Tamari Shoyu". They are good and can be made wheat-less for those who have alllergy to it. Excellent sauce to go with raw fish (sashimi). But yield is pretty small because you do not want to make miso too wet. Regular soy sauce uses different cultures and with more liquids so you can enjoy more yields but it is also easier to fail by growing wrong molds. You can DM me to get down on details if you like. I am aware this is a board for fishing after all and not everyone here would care of these things perhaps.... :)

This is a very interesting discussion. Japanese cooking and the different flavors are much more detailed and subtle than many westerners realize, especially regarding seafood. You should move it to the off topic or recipe board and continue so that I can learn some more!
 
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fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#3
Great thread, wherever it goes.
Feel free to share any related recipes. I for one would enjoy reading anything else you have on the subject.
Thank you @moonshine! I know we catch a lot of mackerel. And some of you have tried vinegar cured mackerel sushi at your favorite sushi restaurant. Wonder how they cure mackerel? It is pretty easy. Let me share the recipe below.
 

fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#4
Rice vinegar cured mackerel or "shimesaba"
a) one mackerel
b) two tbsp of salts
c) appropriate amount of rice vinegar.
1) bleed your catch right away in cool salt water bucket then keep it in a iced cooler so the meat stays firm.
2) before you leave the pier or at home, gut the fish then clean all blood out in water.
3) fillet it to get two fillets with rib bones intact
4) put them on a plate and apply the two tbsp of salt all around the two fillets. tilt the plate so that the bloody juice coming from fish does not touch the fillet. leave it 1-2 hour.
5) wash the fillets by running water well and dry them by paper towels.
6) put them on a flat bottom container (ceramic, stainless or glass are the best) and pour rice vinegar until entire fish is submerged. I sometime put kelp kombu in it to make it tastier. my secret trick... :)
7) cure the fillets in the vinegar for 15-30 min. flip the fish in the middle.
8) take the fillets out and dry them by paper towel. If you want to keep this for later, apply surround-wrap and put it in freezer. it will keep for a month. This freezing at least 24 hours would kill any anisakis so it would be safe to eat raw after that. also try keeping the vinegar bath clean and reuse it as fish taste gets in it as you keep using it. I dedicate a bottle for it and keep the mac vinegar in my fridge. another trick.
9) when you ready to eat it, slice the rib bones (try keeping meat behind them as they taste good), try removing all center bones by using a tweezer, and finally remove the thin skin by pealing it by your fingers from the head side. Mackerel has two layers of skins. You want to keep the bottom skin but peal the top skin. This top skin is the little wings we use to make those sabiki rigs. Those little wings on each little hooks are made of these mac skins!
10) cut them in your liking and have it with some soy sauce and wasabi!

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TheFrood

Active Member
#5
Looks delicious!

Regarding freezing to kill parasites, here is the FDA guidelines... Different time frames depending on the temperature you freeze at.

https://seafood.oregonstate.edu/sit...s-in-fish-products-implications-for-haccp.pdf

Also... Flash freezing helps preserve the texture of your meat. Just like growing sugar or salt crystals, ice is much the same. The more slowly
you grow the crystal, the larger and sharper it forms. So freezing things slowly allows the formation of large, sharp ice crystals that puncture
the cell walls of the meat in your food making it 'mushy' once it defrosts.

Flash freezing isn't always possible but it's better to freeze fillets individually laying out flat instead of stacked together into a big lump.
The inside freezes quite slowly when you do this in most freezers.
 

fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#6
Looks delicious!

Regarding freezing to kill parasites, here is the FDA guidelines... Different time frames depending on the temperature you freeze at.

https://seafood.oregonstate.edu/sit...s-in-fish-products-implications-for-haccp.pdf

Also... Flash freezing helps preserve the texture of your meat. Just like growing sugar or salt crystals, ice is much the same. The more slowly
you grow the crystal, the larger and sharper it forms. So freezing things slowly allows the formation of large, sharp ice crystals that puncture
the cell walls of the meat in your food making it 'mushy' once it defrosts.

Flash freezing isn't always possible but it's better to freeze fillets individually laying out flat instead of stacked together into a big lump.
The inside freezes quite slowly when you do this in most freezers.
Great tips @TheFrood! I love especially the part to freeze them individually. Keeping the freezer not to be too full is another trick I may add. But that may become tricky when your catch/keep rate surpasses your eat rate.
 

fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#8
Such a cool thread.
I'd be interested in making miso, though it's not directly related to seafood.
Thanks, Dennis
Miso in fact is a great agent to marinate fish with. It could bring a nice intrinsic taste of fish like sablefish and lingcods out! To make it on your own, you need a) dried soy beans, b) salt and c) koji rice culture. You would also need a container to keep them fermented 1-2 years in. For a starter tho, I would try with a small batch and use a sturdy zip lock bag, which is suffice. Procedure is pretty simple:
1) Wash dried soy beans well then put them in a large pot full of clean water for over night.
2) After beans get soaked, cook them in mid heat for like 2 hours until you can easily break a bean into a mush between your thumb and index finger.
3) Take beans out from water and mush them while they are warm (watch your hands to avoid burning your fingers!). You may want to keep some water you used for cooking beans to later add to your batch sometime.s
4) Put the koji rice on a large bowl and mix salt into them well.
5) Clean your hands very well, then mix the mushed beans with salted koji rice culture well. It is important to wait till the tempertaure of mushed beans go down below 40 centigrade degree not to kill the koji spores before you mix them. You want a large sterile work place to do this. I use a large cookie plate for oven. You really want to mix the beans and rice well so that you see the koji rice grains are uniformly mixed in the mushed beans.
6) Move them into your choice of clean container (I alcohol-clean them and dry before using it). Avoid air bubbles. When you use crocks, I usually make a baseball size ball in my hands then literally throw them in my crock to make any air babbles to escape. Keep the container in cool and dark place for 9-12 month.
The amount of beans, salt and koji rice would change the taste. I make my own koji rice culture but that is more involved so I recommend you go to any Japanese market and buy a ready made koji rice culture either by Cold Mountain or Miyako. For a starter, try using the equal weight of dried soy beans and koji rice. Amount of salt is important both for taste and preservation. Best is for you to weigh the results of (3), cooked beans. Then you can measure the weight of your batch (weight of (3) + weight of koji rice + salt). You chose the amount of salt to make it so that you add salt that are 10-15% of the entire batch weight. 10% is the minimum. You use less than that, you risk ruining it. More salt you use, safer to avoid spoiling it but then you get saltier miso. I use precisely 10% amount of sea salt.
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#10
Thanks, fish-ninja!
Fascinating instructions on making miso. Seems beyond my abilities in the kitchen but I may gather the ingredients and give it a shot over the long winter.
It actually takes about a year to make miso I think... A day to make and a year to ferment, pouring the sauce/juice off of the top every couple of months. My knowledge only comes from various YouTube videos though so could be wrong.

Fish-ninja, how long do you let your miso ferment? May as well get the right info straight from the person on here who has actually made it!
 
#11
It actually takes about a year to make miso I think... A day to make and a year to ferment, pouring the sauce/juice off of the top every couple of months. My knowledge only comes from various YouTube videos though so could be wrong.
Fish-ninja, how long do you let your miso ferment? May as well get the right info straight from the person on here who has actually made it!
That is correct. See the step (6) explained in the post #8 above. "Keep the container in cool and dark place for 9-12 month." is what I said.

TheFrood, the true answer about fermentation length depends on the recipes. I make about 4 different styles of miso with different recipes and ingredients. Fermentation periods vary between one month to 2 years minimum. Soy Sauce would also take two years. For many recipes, there is no need to pour juice off of the top because you make the bed as dry as you can. There is no "wrong" way to do it as long as "you" like the result! Try it away and share it back!