Bean Sprouts with Sake and Bonito Flakes


Shaved bonito, planed just like wood from a dried, fermented and smoked fillet of skipjack tuna, is a popular garnish in Japan. Known as katsuobushi, the delicate shavings belie a rich, complex flavor that serves as one of the cornerstones of Japanese cuisine. Paired here with sake’s mouth-fullness, bonito flakes deepen the flavor of this simple, quick pickle.

Bean Sprouts with Sake and Bonito Flakes

You could make this easily with a microwave. To blanch the sprouts, simple sprinkle with water, spread on a plate, and then microwave on high, stirring once or twice, just until they wilt and steam. For a vegetarian version, omit the bonito and use the liquid drained from soaking dried mushrooms in place of the plain water.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

2 tablespoons sake
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 inches ginger, cut into thin strips
3/4 cup bonito shavings
8 ounces mung bean sprouts  

Stir together the sake, soy sauce, ginger and 1/4 cup water. Bring just to a simmer in a small pan, then remove from the heat. Add the bonito and stir quickly. Leave to cool.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the bean sprouts and blanch for about 1 minute. Take care not to overcook the sprouts. Drain well in a colander, shaking off as much excess water as possible. While they’re still hot, toss the sprouts with the sake-bonito mixture. The pickle can be served immediately, though its flavor improves if allowed to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.


One Response to “Bean Sprouts with Sake and Bonito Flakes”

  1. Patty says:

    I love Japanese pickles and katsuobushi, so this is an excellent recipe that I must try. Thanks for sharing it.

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