asian bonito flake salad with sesame dressing

Asian Bonito Flake Salad

Once in a while I need to have my Japanese/Korean grocery shopping fix. Whether in Amsterdam or Jakarta (my two hometowns) In Amsterdam I love to pay a visit to Meidi-Ya and Shilla. As for Jakarta I go to Papaya in Citywalk to still my Japanese snacking cravings. Good thing about these places is that they also serve the best pre cooked meals in cute bento boxes. There’s something magical and delicate in these supermarkets. In fact, it sometimes feel like you are wandering through a local grocery store somewhere in Japan. I love to stroll down the aisle and discover new products and bring them home to experiment with them. Now the bonito flakes or Katsuobushi are not new to me, as a matter of fact back in Amsterdam I used to put them on my hot noodle soup or pizzas all the time. It gives your meal a nice subtle distinct umami flavor, without overwhelming the complete dish. Bonito flakes is a Japanese dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna, thinly sliced. And on hot surfaces it starts to ‘dance’ and it’s really a beautiful thing to watch. The heat waves causes the thin and super light flakes to move, and therefore it looks like the flakes are dancing around. So using the flakes as a toping on pizza’s or a hot stove is a great way to see bonito flakes come alive. Unfortunately in this Asian salad recipe, there was not much dancing around, as it’s a cold dish. But after shooting and eating the salad it got me dancing instead!

asian bonito flake salad with sesame dressing

Asian Bonito Flake Salad

serves 1 royal portion or as 2 side dishes

  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce
  • 1 red chili
  • 2 radishes
  • half of a small red onion or salad onion
  • 4-6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of bonito flakes
  • 1/4 cup of white or sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of tahini
  • 1/2 lime juice and zest
  • drizzle of sesame oil
  • a pinch of palm sugar
  • drizzle of soy sauce or tamari (Tamari is a healthier option compare to regular Soy sauce containing less to no wheat in the process of fermenting soybeans, thicker and less salty)

asian bonito flake salad 3

Wash the Romaine Lettuce, chop in chunks or simply tear them apart with your hands. Slice the radishes finely together with the onion. Undo the chili from seeds and chop super fine. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Toss together in large salad bowl. Make the dressing by mixing the tahini, lemon juice and zest, sesame oil, palm sugar and the tamari or soy sauce in a separate bowl and drizzle this over the salad together with some toasted sesame seeds and the delicious smoked bonito flakes.

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