Elizabeth Andoh: A Taste of Culture – Ichiya-boshi 一夜干し (Overnight-Dried Fish)

A mainstay of the Japanese home kitchen, ichiya-boshi, literally “one-night dried” are fresh fish that have been dipped in brine and then air-dried. The generic term is himono, literally “dried thing.”

In the old days, mineral-rich sea water was routinely used to wash freshly caught fish after splitting them down the back (seibiraki style) or belly (hara-biraki style) and gutting them. The fish were then air-dried; ventilation being the key to retarding spoilage. Stretches of windy seashore were ideal locations.

Nowadays, commercially produced himono are usually washed in fresh water then “bathed” in a 10-12% saline solution for about an hour (ocean water is about 35%) before being laid out on racks set in front of high-powered fans.

As with all dried foodstuffs (fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, grains, tea, seeds and nuts), removing moisture extends the foods’ shelf life and intensifies its flavor.

Himono are typically broiled briefly and served with lemon and/or grated radish. Often served for breakfast at home-style minshuku or ryokan inns, himono makes a simple-and-quick dinner for busy business folks and families.


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Elizabeth Andoh A Taste of Culture Culinary Arts Program Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0095, Japan


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