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Atlantic? source for Katsuobushi (dried smoked bonito shavings for dashi/stock) for Miso Soup

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am seeking an Atlantic? source for Katsuobushi (dried smoked bonito shavings for dashi/stock) for Miso Soup. Wondering what I am REALLY looking for, I see this online:  In Japan, Skipjack tuna = Katsuwonus pelamis. 
ALSO KNOWN AS: Tuna, Ocean Bonito, Lesser Tuna, Aku
ATLANTIC SOURCE: U.S. wild-caught from New York to Florida
(I wonder if this is at all related to Atlantic bonito = Sarda sarda....some say these are "a type of mackerel"; now I am confused.)
What AM I looking for? In Japan they call it "Katsuo"!
Here in Seattle, I use Katsuo-bushi (dried, smoked, Bonito/mackerel shavings) to make dashi (broth) for my miso soup every day. My miso is made in North Carolina and that's pretty far from Japan. After reading some other posts here, I see that I really should try to find a brick of smoked bonito and make the shavings myself, yet, I don't have the contraption that makes the shavings...anyway....
I am looking for a source for the smoked fish shavings (or brick) that is as far away from Fukushima as possible. It may not be wise to consume Japanese sea foods at this time even though the governments and power companies say "everything is A.O.K." Perhaps someone on the East Coast of the USA who is using fish from the Atlantic could be found. That's what I am after.
I am also looking for Atlantic sources for kombu, wakame and nori. Still, without the bonito/mackerel, I'm lost...(what else could I use? prawns?)  [Skipjack tuna = Katsuwonus pelamis; Atlantic bonito = Sarda sarda]
Thank you in advance,

Edited by drcarl - 8/28/12 at 7:31pm
post #2 of 18

Hi, Dr. Carl (guessing from your tag),


As far as I understand it, in the United States what you are looking for is usually called skipjack tuna. On the Pacific coast, it may be called bonito, but on the Atlantic coast "bonito" is likely to refer to something quite different, though not entirely dissimilar from a basic gastronomic perspective. And there is a HUGE amount of skipjack -- this is not endangered like bluefin and such. So, ok there.


The problem is that if you want to be making shavings as katsuo-bushi, you need someone to salt, smoke, and dry the fish in the proper fashion. This means finding someone who is making the stuff on the Atlantic coast. I would suggest starting with an extensive, far-ranging Google search: for the same reason as you can get fresh miso from North Carolina and fresh natto has been made in Massachusetts since the 1970s, it's not entirely implausible that someone is making katsuo blocks, in which case, they want you to find them to sell their product.


(Incidentally, if you really want to go with the katsuo block thing, you don't have to buy a super-special and highly overpriced katsuo shaver. Buy a high-quality plane whose parts are relatively straightforward to keep clean; usually there are only 4 parts on a plane, so this shouldn't be difficult. To make katsuo-bushi, put the block in a box or biggish pot and run the plane over the top, running with the grain. You could also use an old-fashioned hand-crank coffee grinder, set on the largest possible setting, and you'll get relatively fine katsuo shavings, which are one of several shaving styles.)


If you can't get it, I would strongly suggest that you go over to niboshi, which makes a fine dashi. The fish are extremely small, which means they don't pick up a lot of bad stuff and store it in their fat the way big fish do, and besides you can harvest these little guys pretty much anywhere. The processing is simple -- they're mostly just dried and salted -- so there is less to go wrong.


As to kombu, that's quite another matter. The debates about this are very serious indeed. By some accounts, this seaweed has so much iodine that it will largely shrug off the whole irradiated salt-water thing, but by others it is almost precisely this that makes it so dangerous. Nobody seems to know authoritatively. And there is no clear substitute. So what to do?


My suggestion to you is to start experimenting with dried mushrooms of various kinds to replace the kombu. What you're looking for is an intense umami, i.e. lots of glutamic acid, which you'll find in a lot of mushrooms, caramelized meats, kelp, dry aged cheeses, etc. The problem is that you want this with almost no other flavor, which is why kombu is ideal. Note that glutamic acid is extracted at 140-160F, with no extraction whatever above 176F. So you might try holding something like a single dried mushroom at 140F for an hour and seeing whether you get a decent kombudashi. Based on your message, I somehow suspect that using powdered pure MSG isn't going to float your boat, though I should mention that it does work perfectly well for making basic kombudashi, and if you then use decent dried seafood and good miso, you'll have a heck of a time telling the difference. Whatever.


If you do find a source of kombu that you consider safe, you may want to do the 1-hour extraction method already noted. You could use half as much kombu, saving money (since safe kombu is going to be skyrocketing in price, let's face it), or you could just enjoy the incredible intensity you get from doing it this way.


Ultimately, it is probably worth bearing in mind that most of these ingredients are the product of long periods of poor people using what they had to hand. If you can't get the authentic, original thing, you may be doing true justice to these people by seeking out substitutes from the things you can get, close to hand. And since you live in Seattle, I can't believe that it could be that hard. Is it really necessary to bring dried katsuo all the way across North America in search of safe authenticity?


Anyway, good luck, and I hope this has helped.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the exquisite reply. You are very kind. Really: thanks!


Am finding it difficult to find a domestic (US/Atlantic) source for the blocks, and I'm pretty good with boolean search terms. Gotta love the internet. If it's out there, I'll find it. 


Meanwhile, it looks like I WILL be experimenting. I made some dashi from prawns, yet the taste was a bit 'thin' so to speak. I'll keep my eyes open for the niboshi; excellent point about their size... As for 'various kinds of dried mushrooms', I have been using 3 fresh shiitakes every day. Usually simmered for 20+ minutes. I wonder if the 'dried' aspect has relevance? I suppose I could try some other mushrooms, too. (and will back 'em off to 140 F or so)


I wonder what other caramelized meats I could try? I had a crazy idea of trying some smoked salmon. I remember having some that was "hard smoked" (or was it cold smoked?) that was stored in oil and was so oishi, my Hawaiian classmates would agree: "broke da mouth - good!" Anyway, I am suspecting that the smoked aspect may play an interesting role in the overall taste combo.


As for adding MSG, you're right. I'll pass. I know it's a cousin to glutamic acid, still, in my opinion it really is chemically a different animal. LOVE the info for 140-160. I am so attached to my digital Thermapen, I take it with me for BBQs, family gatherings, pot-lucks, etc. One of the best $85 I ever spent; makes me a cooking genius and has saved many a meal in addition to being a vital tool for weeks-long coffee (and other) experiments.  140-160; got it. I'll try that with my kombu, too. I am currently using Eden Foods kombu because they do test for the nasty isotopes, although I suspect one pound might be OK and the next one have a hot particle or two. I'd prefer none and however impossible that is, well, that's one reason we have miso's radio-protective, significantly reduces cancer rates, levels blood sugar, [insert laundry list of conditions here]...LOTS of things. I have found a west coast source, and just learned of this one:  (<--looks promising).


I believe the miso is excellent (Miso Master) since it's organic and aged naturally instead of chemically. I usually make what I call "neopolitan" (like the three-flavored ice cream) by combining barley, red and white in various amounts depending on my mood and the weather (if it's colder I go darker). 


You are right about learning to use what IS available. I understand that miso soup is extremely versatile and can be used with one or more of many, the kelps, vegetable leftovers (not brassicas). Now that we've had miso daily for, well, since March, 2011, and having used the powder and the packaged flake, well, I really would like see what fresh shavings taste like. Some compared it to freshly ground coffee. 


Arigato my tomodachi - you're the best!








post #4 of 18

i'm curious drcarl, you make miso soup from scratch every day?  why?  I love miso soup too, but...

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Alooha kaneohagirl who stay ova d'kine desert place een da arid-kine-zona - lol,


Akamai Kona Haole here... (Went from Hollywwod to the Big Island for high school)


The real answer is probably because I might have a touch of OCD. Other reasoning includes the laundry list of benefits, like 400% reduction in cancer rate is enough all by itself, then there are all the rest, like...well, here's something I wrote:





During the aftermath of the disaster in Fukushima, one branch of my research on radiation prevention and remediation landed me on the fermented soy product:  miso!


First used 2 or 3 centuries BC, it has been called a "complete food" (protein, minerals, vitamins and more) which one could survive on; many have. It's absolutely delicious.


Long-term studies with large numbers of people suggest this impressive and long list of conditions which may be treated, cured and/or prevented by as little as one bowl of miso soup per day!  (two for cancer and heart disease).   I've always said: eat like a        (diabetic, heart patient, etc.)     to avoid becoming one. Others say "that which treats can prevent."






·   Coronary Heart Disease (#1 cause of death in the US)

·   Breast & other cancers (lung, liver, leukemia, prostate)

·   Radiation sickness (nausea, bloody nose, and more) & resulting cancers

·   Cardio- & Cerebrovascular disease  (dysfunction of blood supply to brain/heart)

·   Dementia

·   Hypertension (high blood pressure)

·   Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)

·   Diabetes (blood sugar disorder)

·   Liver cirrhosis (scarring)

·   Peptic ulcers

·   Chronic pain

·   Osteoporosis (weakened bones - especially in non-dairy consumers)





·   Food tenderizer

·   Marinade

·   Salting agent

·   Pickling medium

·   Antacid / digestive aid

·   Anti-oxidant source

·   Immune system enhancer


Side effects:  a sense of well-being and calm...

(compare that to the side-effects from drugs)


Shelf life:  2-10 years (refrigerated)


Get the paste. Better than "instant."

Organic. NEVER Pasteurized.

Slow-aged NOT chemically aged

(If packaged/prepared, be sure it says "freeze-dried")

Try them all, and try them combined half/half - or any combo!

Barley (dark) - Red - White (sweet)


Current favorite:  Was Miso Master Red and Miso Master Barley mixed half-and-half, then it was straight Barley.

This week it's half Red and half White.

Stike that; I've now been on a "neopolitan" kick with some of each in varying proportions.


Avoid all unfermented soy products like soy milk and tofu

(due to adverse hormonal and mineral absorption effects)


I have about 2.5 cups every morning. My sweetie has about 1.5 cups. (total of 4 cup recipe)                 




The main reason is this:  Yum!


I am lucky to work from home (as does my sweetie most days) and I know it's a stupid amount of time, but it's SO delicious! I top the bowls with the scallions we grow...sometimes use our carrots...and I dropped some of our peas in once...oishi! ono kine grines!


It has become extremely difficult to eat out anymore because of what we can wok and because of our ever-growing appreciation for organics.


Don't even get me started about HFCS, HVP, MSG, GMO, ETC.


I, er, we have a profound appreciation for deliciousness...I'd go to the CIA if I weren't nearing 60. Maybe they could teach me how to use my Shun (that my son bought me). 


Aloha no,


Kauka Kala

(Dr Carl)

post #6 of 18

AA-LL-OOOOO-HA Braddah Carl, pehea oe, how you stay?

Yes, Miso is broke da mout Ono-licious!! 

But man, from scratch, that is dedication to the organics, man! 

(big island, heh?  My popz family from Honokaa)

I gave DH straight up edamame for years before it was ‘in’ as foodies went

(you know us folks from Hawaii, we loves our soy beans with da beer). 

Every day his snack when we got home from work was about a pound of

just plain-boiled-pods  (oh, and some hawaiian salt). 

This did nothing for his High Cholesterol… still yet had for take da meds…

albeit at a much lower dosage than what the doc wanted to give him.   

And brah, gotz to have the miso soup wen you go eat sushi bar!! (eh, you wen read my one about when we wen go home in may dis year?)

post #7 of 18

Hmm. OK:

Originally Posted by drcarl View Post

Meanwhile, it looks like I WILL be experimenting. I made some dashi from prawns, yet the taste was a bit 'thin' so to speak. I'll keep my eyes open for the niboshi; excellent point about their size... As for 'various kinds of dried mushrooms', I have been using 3 fresh shiitakes every day. Usually simmered for 20+ minutes. I wonder if the 'dried' aspect has relevance? I suppose I could try some other mushrooms, too. (and will back 'em off to 140 F or so)


I wonder what other caramelized meats I could try? I had a crazy idea of trying some smoked salmon. I remember having some that was "hard smoked" (or was it cold smoked?) that was stored in oil and was so oishi, my Hawaiian classmates would agree: "broke da mouth - good!" Anyway, I am suspecting that the smoked aspect may play an interesting role in the overall taste combo.

The sort of dashi you have in mind has two basic components: a salt/smoke/sea thing and an umami thing. The former usually comes from katsuobushi or niboshi; the latter almost always comes from kombu.


My suggestion on dried mushrooms was intended to acquire the umami flavor with a bit of that smoke thing you get from katsuobushi (which is smoke-dried or smoked, depending on who's doing it and how). And you are absolutely right: you will not get that same taste from fresh shiitake. You can dry them yourself, if the fresh are inexpensive and/or of sufficient quality to make it worth doing; just dry them VERY slowly to concentrate the flavor without losing any.


You may want to look into hard-core Zen cooking, which in many formulations is radically vegetarian (that sounds like a strange designation, but actually in Japan most "vegetarian" food includes at least some seafood). There are a number of substitutes used to create a classic dashi-like flavor. But they do rely very heavily on kombu.


Caramelized meat is a good idea, but NOT smoked salmon. Your heart is in the right place, and you're thinking, but fish fat is about the last thing you want. I can't speak entirely from personal experience -- my experience matches, but is too thin to say that it's in any sense authoritative -- but the usual argument from French chefs and Japanese ones is that fatty fish make poor stock, and salmon in particular is an extremely bad choice for any kind of stock. It's sort of like lamb: if you make salmon stock, it will taste powerfully of salmon, which isn't usually what you want -- and certainly not for dashi.


You're not looking for smoke; you're looking for umami. Caramelized meat is meat just this side of burnt. Have you ever made brown stock, from roasted bones? You don't want smoked meats, but rather large bones roasted for a couple of hours at very high temperature until deep, deep brown. Note that in the process, all the fat renders off and is discarded. Same thing here: you want the caramelized umami thing but not the fat. A hint of smoke is OK, but it should be very much in the background.


Apart from Zen cookery, then, my next suggestion -- since you are apparently willing to do some cool experimenting, and you have time at home to play -- is to try roasting seafood bones and shells. I suggest clam and oyster shells and white fish bones, and stay away from crustaceans and fattier fish. Roast at fairly high temperature, like maybe 450, with absolutely no seasoning or fat. You'll need to pack this stuff into a pan quite closely to avoid scorching, and there may be tricks to it that you'll figure out in the process. I know for a fact that grilled clam shells are delicious and much loved in Japan: they grill whole clams just as they are, and then struggle to eat the suckers while hot, inevitably burning the fingers. You could certainly also use the skin and probably the scales of white fish, but I'd be sparing about this because I'm not sure exactly how that would render out fat. My suspicion is that a process like this would give you some very strong seafood umami, and might make you some fabulous dashi, but it will likely be very different from other kinds. Which is no bad thing, of course.


Two things about "thin" dashi, such as you mention.


First, do what you can to concentrate umami, usually by roasting and/or drying the ingredient. Fresh shiitakes have it a bit, but roasted-dried ones have it a lot. Fresh kombu apparently has very little flavor of any sort, but once dried in the sun for umpty-zillion hours you get that whole kombudashi thing happening. Just so with whatever else you use.


Second, do use the whole temperature thing you liked. The umami-extraction thing doesn't seem to have much to do with the source, but rather with the glutamic acid itself. I don't know more than that, but the source I've read is probably fairly reliable.


A last note. You might want to use some of that Google-search-fu to look into major seafood-based umami sources. I know that there are a number of seaweeds, jellyfish, and other odd things popular in China and down through Southeast Asia that produce similar kinds of flavors, and these things get highlighted in Japanese cuisine when they do their local versions of what we might call "fusion." Surely not all these ingredients can reasonably be suspected of implication in the Fukushima disaster. Quality might be tricky, but living on the Pacific coast, you should be able to get the stuff. Indeed, it's entirely possible that there is something harvested in your own coastal waters that will be admirable for the purpose.


Don't give up hope, but be open-minded!


Incidentally, if you're really eating this stuff in order to live forever, as it were, have you considered making your breakfast out of natto, miso (or doenjang), and kimchi, all piled on rice? Now that's the stuff to solve everything that ails you. (Pity natto has the texture of snot, of course.) I find that I can get around the whole natto/snotto thing by (a) whisking it up a LOT with chopsticks so it's smooth, and (b) covering it with strong kimchi and doenjang.


Good luck!

post #8 of 18
Originally Posted by ChrisLehrer View Post


 ... Incidentally, if you're really eating this stuff in order to live forever, as it were, have you considered making your breakfast out of natto, miso (or doenjang), and kimchi, all piled on rice? Now that's the stuff to solve everything that ails you. (Pity natto has the texture of snot, of course.) I find that I can get around the whole natto/snotto thing by (a) whisking it up a LOT with chopsticks so it's smooth, and (b) covering it with strong kimchi and doenjang.


Good luck!



I DID fall out of my chair! LOL!  tongue.gif

Good point though with the chopstick and GOOD Kim Chee all over a hot steaming bowl of rice!!!


post #9 of 18

I gather you're a natto fan. Hmm.


It does grow on you. If you don't eat it fairly quickly, it also grows on whatever it's near. Oddly, that's a good thing.


I'm not convinced that something which slowly creeps out and eats everything around it is genuinely food, but....

Ahhhhh... choo!

post #10 of 18

Oh my god, please stop, I can't laugh any more!


post #11 of 18

Natto is a bit funky, but good funky -- like mushrooms picked in the forest the morning after it rains, or runny cheese.  I like my natto with a little bit of raw tuna and some mustard mixed in.  Yosh.  



post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Natto is a bit funky, but good funky -- like mushrooms picked in the forest the morning after it rains, or runny cheese.  I like my natto with a little bit of raw tuna and some mustard mixed in.  Yosh.  




bdl, you gave me a giggle, I was thinking that too!!(I wasn't sure who would get it though)  I haven't heard this since, well, since we left Hawaii...

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

@ KaneohagirlinAZ....


Tida, er, Kaneohe wahine,


... I read some of your May (go-een home) posts. Oh how I especially miss the ahi sashimi -- and the water! I've a friend who is also as organic as I am (almost 100%) who can't believe I'd still allow spam to enter my body. When I have it (about once every year or two), I like it crispy, but not burnt. The Spam Kabob recipe you mentioned cracks me up. I knew there'd be pineapple involved even before I read it, and it does sound yummy!


Although I do prefer sushi and sashimi to malasadas, your mention of Honokaa sure took me back to Tex's Drive In there. They have a very beautiful garden (one photo I took 10 years ago is attached) as well as planny plate lunch, cone sushi and, of course, malasadas. 


Too bad about your dad's cholesterol. If I had hypercholesterolemia, I'd have TWO bowls of miso soup every day and monitor for a reduction. If effective, miso is much milder than the horrible statin drugs. There are more natural things that can be attempted, IF the patient is willing/smart. He (and everyone) should be reading at least one article a day from Dr. Mercola's site. Look up high cholesterol there.


Nowadays, the ONLY soy I'll eat is that which has been fermented. NO tofu, no pods (edamame), and certainly no soy milk because un-fermented soy is implicated in disrupting hormonal balances and physically blocks the absorption of some important minerals. It is NOT the "health food" it's advertized to be. Endocrinology (hormones) is a very complicated field of study. We don't want to mess with our hormones. We MUST be well-mineralized. 


OK, back to the thrust of this thread. I did get fantastic information from Chris, (up above, below, whatevah). Wow. He nailed my intent and preferences perfectly and gave me what I need to understand and raise my present level of experience.




Kauka Kala




post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 



I now have a marks on my electric range that when lined-up, maintains 4 cups of water at 157 degrees F. I am beginning to recognize what that temp looks like too (the quiet formation of teeny bubbles).


Thanks to you, I am learning about the salt/smoke/sea thing and the umami thing. You are a great Sensei.  *bows*


My new routine is to pop 3 fresh shiitakes and a strip of kombu into a pot and let them go for an hour or more. I just saw your post about the dried 'shrooms. OK - I am climbing the ladder of knowledge. My partner/Sweetie agrees that the taste from fresh is not nearly as powerful as when we were using dried. They are back on the list. Costco had a fantastic dried product, but we have not seen it for a while: "Shiitake Ya." Mass shiitakes for a very good price.


I just used the last of my pre-Fukushima stash of bonito powder today. I believe the kombu/shiitake/bonito dashi was improved a little with my new hour-long start. I am looking forward to playing/improvising with other ingredients including the dried shiitakes.


I am also focused on locating niboshi now (and to maybe finding an Atlantic katsuo). I want to experiment with niboshi which I understand are dried baby anchovies, (the Japanese anchovy, or Engraulis japonicus). I am having a hard time finding these. There are dried sardines in the frozen section of our store, but that's a different fish.


Yesterday, my sweetie got us the head from a 25 pound King Salmon (it's fresh) as well as a frozen mackerel. I think she was thinking fish stock. I was too, though I see now that it's like making strongly-flavored lamb stock.  --my sweetie just told me she made a curry-barley-veggie lamb soup using lamb stock, but that "you have to be sure to get all the fat off," and that she would not use it in miso soup, then *made a sour-puss face*. Also see that G. Ramsay has a recipe for lab stock. I suspect the take-home message here is that the taste is powerfully strong and it just needs to be used where it's appropriate. I saw something on YouTube about eating the meat from a baked salmon head since there is some amount of fish flesh to be discovered, uncovered and eaten. Maybe that's where the salmon head is headed - into the heat and then to be eaten. I'll need to figure out what to do with the frozen mackerel, too.


Your replies are SO relevant and informative. I will absolutely look into Zen cookery; or not. (<--that's a Zen joke?). I have no problem learning from radically-vegetarian chefs, and can still with enjoy grass-fed beef, some whisky and a cigar!


Actually, Amazon just sold me "Zen Cookery: Practical Macrobiotics (The Philosophy of Oriental Culture, Vol. 1) (1966)" in good condition for $8 total. Looks interesting. I saw a preview somewhere and will try this "Rolled Oats" recipe:


2 cups rolled oats

4 to 5 cups water

¼ to ½ tsp salt

Roast oats until fragrant. Cool. Add 2 cups cold water and salt. Bring

to boil, then add 2 to 3 more cups cold water. Bring to a boil again,

then simmer for one hour or until desired consistency. Stir occasionally.

Serve with sesame salt. This cereal can be cooked the night before or

slowly simmered overnight in a double boiler on a low flame.



"Roast oats until fragrant"? That's what caught my attention.


It will be fun to visit the miso soup section.


Relying on kombu is OK with me since I have 3 sources lined up.


I have not roasted bones for a brown stock, yet now I want to. My partner hasn't either. She bought some beef bones intending to, yet never did (tossed the bones after sitting in the freezer for a few years - the bones sat in the freezer, not her). I get it now how smoked salmon is not the same kind of smoky taste I'm after. That was a funny visual about burning fingers in Japan while eating hot clams and hot oysters. I assume they were eating the oysters, not the shells. We grill oysters around here, too, and have good mussels and clams. I'm getting hungry again.


Roasting clam and oyster shells? That means that if I don't go down and collect some oysters at low tide, I'll have to actually buy some and EAT them so that I'll have some shells! Oh, darn!


Am I understanding this idea correctly? --make a stock from clam & oyster shells and some bones from a white fish by following essentially the same routine for making a brown stock from roasted bones:  roast shells and bones in a hot oven, then place in a stock pot, add a quart or so of water, (add mirepoix???), simmer for 4-6 hours skimming-off the impurities as they float and then finally strain it through cheesecloth?


I wonder if I'd use the product straight or dilute it?


Have you ever heard of anyone using shells to make a stock like this?


I'll do some Google-fu later, er, tomorrow. I can see already that there IS a bunch on there about landing the umami flavor. Thanks!


I'll not give up hope and am extremely open-minded; thanks for the encouragement (and the rich info). Using ingredients close to home is one of my eating guidelines I attempt to follow (..."grown at home or locally grown").


As for the disaster over there, maybe the south end of Japan is OK, just maybe. Tokyo is not. There are gag orders on doctors and on the public. The poor children. Find "fairewinds" online and search their site for "Tokyo Soil Samples" and discover how just walking around would make your shoes "hazardous waste" in the US. I had a link, but apparently I am too "new" to share links. If you want more links, let me know. English or Japanese. Honto.   


With the insanity of incinerating contaminated crops and sending isotopes up into the air, the dumping of waste that's glowing into the ocean, the soft-peddling and covering-up that's going on, I am positive that there is a LOT more going on that is not widely known. I won't get into details about the increased iodine-131 and cesium-137 that has entered, is entering, and will continue to enter our northern hemisphere and especially West Coast food chain...and the other nasty isotopes...


You heard about the small example of increased radioactive isotope levels in the bluefin that migrated from Japan to California, right? I think you know about this. The "big fish" you mentioned. How about the iodine levels in the milk in Hawaii? The cesium in Washington? The Isotopes inland from the ocean spray in California? The Ocean plume headed tot he West Coast? The East Coast readings? BTW - raising "acceptable" levels administratively instead of based on science is idiotic. And, ingesting hot particles which lodge and do damage continuously is entirely different from getting a dental x-ray or flying across the country - the ionizing radiation there passes through the body and it's over. Also, not testing for something does not make it magically absent. I suppose they can say, "...increased levels have not been detected"... lol, not. 


Besides moving to Chile, Australia, Tasmania or New Zealand, there are MANY things we can do to reduce our exposure (there is NO "safe level") and to remediate. Rest assured I am not paranoid, though as a member of a team of research scientists and physicians researching prevention and remediation, I may be overly-informed.


Did you know that tobacco that's had a mineral phosphate fertilizer applied will uptake radioactive particles from the soil and air? Now, where's my cigar? lol


Pardon my miniscule rant. I was about to say, Natto? The reason I am having miso every day is not to live forever (that'd be OK, though), it's because of the radio-protective qualities and ALL the other long list of beneficial properties AND the fact that it's SO satisfying and delicious! That I could eat the same thing 14 out of 15 days (with some variations) for this long blows me away. Every day we agree out loud, "yup - that's yummy!" The breakfast concoction sounds interesting, wow, THREE fermented products!....but I'll pass.


There are studies that show the enzyme in natto, nattokinase, can actually dissolve blood clots. This is a big deal because the mainstream allopathic community says "there's nothing that can be done; let your body dissolve them," while they administer fast-acting heparin (Lovenox?) and eventually effective warfarin (Coumadin) anticoagulants. Nattokinase is good for the circulatory system. I prefer the capsules since I have not acquired the taste.


Thank you SO much for exploring all this with me.




Dr Carl (aka drcarl)


Here's an unrelated shot I took in Hawaii when I lived there a few decades ago...



post #15 of 18

... I like the photo

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

UPDATE:  I've been doing some experimenting. Every day is a kind of experiment, right?


MOST helpful were the comments on the two things going on; the umami thing, and the salt/smoked sea thing. I have made wonderful dashi with niboshi now, as well as a follow-up dish with the anchovy and kombu leftovers which I froze while collecting enough for the dish: "tsukudani"


Like the real Big Band sounds that used to be popular, I feel like I missed an era and that actually obtaining a brick of (non-radioactive) katsuo will remain a dream.


Niboshi is not always available at my genuinely awesome market. It's Japanese-owned and has an excellent selection of all manners of Asian foods. A recent trip to Florida taught me how lucky we are here on the west coast. I scoured the area for a decent market and found none. These was Whole Foods, but it was an hour away (one-way). My partner and I had visions of opening a "real" market there, but I'm not sure the locals would understand the difference. Transplants and travelers with discriminating tastes would as it's pretty obvious once you know the difference. If I lived there, I'd frequent the local farmer's market and I'd befriend some farmers and ranchers, too. I have seen ONE market that scored higher marks than our local store. If you are of the organic persuasion and find yourself in Missoula, Montana (of all places), check out the Good Foods Store. OMG. 'Nuff said.


OK, back to dashi. Without niboshi, I have tried tossing a few frozen shrimp into a pan of water. When they come to a boil, they are essentially ready for a cold bath and then slicing into little bits. I know I am missing the smoke thing...sure tastes good. I also have been making shiitake/kombu umame dashi cubes. After the hour at about 150 degrees, I slice the shrooms into smaller bits and make little squares out of the kombu. I reserve the kombu and fill three ice trays with kombu shroomame and mushroom bits. I make enough for 6 days. 


When it's miso time, I drop 6 cubes onto a pan and bring the water level up to a mark I've made on a chopstick-dipstick (4 Cups). As the dashi heats I add some wakame to the dashi and cook the shrimps in a separate pan. Shrimp water gets 'skimmed' and goes into the dashi. I make some "glass noodles" in advance. These sweet potato starch noodles join the shrimp, some kombu, the wakame, the mushroom pieces and some nori in my miso bowls. All that's left is whisking the miso (I use barley and red) and adding it back to the dashi...after harvesting a couple spring onion tops from the yard or windowsill, I ring a little counter bell and we eat! YUMMY!


What I am understanding now, thanks you your suggestions and tutoring is that I am not making miso soup...I am making a soup (dashi) and adding miso to it!





post #17 of 18

Have you or anyone tried Norwegian stockfish bits (unsalted) as a replacement for katsuobushi in the preparation of Japanese style dashi?

post #18 of 18

Hi Dr carl,


I happened to see your posts today. I know its a old posting. But, I want to ask you few question, as you seem to be very knowledgeable. I am also sailing in the same boat as yours in Miso soup - I want to be safe, still want to enjoy miso.


1) Did you end up finding a bonito flakes producer seller in USA/ EU.


2) Which Sea weed seller do you recommend, considering purity of water/ radioactivity in Sea.


3) How do you manage the increased Iodine intake, which is significant side effect of Kombu, particularly when you don't even use cruciferous vegetables in Miso.


4) What about the option of trying to use canned skipjack tuna instead of shrimps/ bonito flakes in your method.



Expecting your reply soon.


Thank you for your time



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