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+ servings
bonito sashimi

Katsuo no Tataki: Seared Bonito Sashimi with Garlic

Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4
Author Lucy Seligman


  • 1 lb fresh bonito fillets with skin intact*, may replace with yellowtail or tuna
  • Salt
  • Large bowl of ice water
  • Homemade or bottled Ponzu dipping sauce, a vinegary mixture of soy sauce and sudachi or yuzu, types of Japanese citron


  • 5 tbsps or more minced or chopped garlic
  • 5 tbsps or more minced scallion
  • 3 tbsps or more grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh shiso (perilla) leaves, cut into slivers

Garnishes (optional)

  • Whole shiso leaves
  • Kaiware (radish sprouts)
  • Edible flowers


  • Combine the condiments in a small bowl and set aside.
  • If using unseared bonito: Cut away any very dark parts of the bonito. Wash and pat dry. Spread out the fish and insert skewers--long metal ones are easiest to remove--parallel or fanning out to support the whole fillet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Omit this step if you have bought seared bonito.
  • Quickly sear both sides of the fillets evenly over a very high heat. The outside of the bonito should turn white; the inside should look like rare steak. Omit this step if you have bought seared bonito.
  • Remove from the heat and plunge immediately into ice water. Gently remove the skewers by twisting them. Pat dry. Place the fillets on a cutting board, skin side up, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  • Decorate a serving platter with the bonito slices, overlapping them in rows. Add a thick layer of the condiment mixture, patting down firmly, and drizzle liberally with ponzu sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Just before serving, remove from the refrigerator and take off the plastic wrap. Garnish if desired. Serve additional ponzu sauce in individual bowls, adding extra condiments if you like.


*I was able to buy already seared bonito at my local Japanese market here in the Bay area. It made for a faster preparation for this dish.
**If desired, make additional condiment mixture to mix into ponzu sauce at the table while dining.