This Japanese creation is delicate, elegant and light. It's a very well though out food and is used extensively in Japanese cuisines for many different genre foods.

Ikan serunding is another fish floss and created I presume by the Indonesians at some time. The flavour is more definite and the appearance less dainty. Flavour wise fantastic. Ikan Serunding recipe is here.

  • 300 g / 10.5 oz fresh cod or other friable, low-fat white fish, filleted
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for poaching the fish
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • red food coloring

  1. Cut the fish into pieces so that it fits comfortably in the pan. cover with water, and add a pinch of salt. Bring up to a boil over medium-low heat, then turn down the heat to low.
  2. Scoop off the foam that rises to the top of the cooking liquid and discard. (This helps to keep the fish as white as possible when you flake it.) The fish is cooked when it flakes apart easily,.
  3. Drain the fish into a colander. You can keep the cooking liquid if you like to make soup.
  4. When the fish has cooled enough to handle, wrap it in several layers of kitchen towel and squeeze gently to take out a lot of the excess moisture.
  5. At this point, remove any brown bits of fish. Inspect the fish carefully and remove any bones.
  6. Moisten a kitchen towel with cold water, wring it out and fold it up; put it on the counter next to your stove.
  7. Put the pan back on the stove over medium-low heat. Add the sake, mirin, sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the fish and start to mix vigorously with chopsticks or a fork.A stick blender on low speed, will break up the flakes quickly.
  8. Add a little of a weak solution of artificial red food colouring to produce the cherry blossom pink (Sakura) which is the traditional colour of this product. Add the colour sparingly as an overshoot is not able to be corrected.
  9. Keep on stirring with chopsticks (using 3 or 4 held together makes it go somewhat faster) to flake the fish, as the moisture evaporates. You may also use the stick blender if you prefer.
  10. The fish will stick to the pan bottom if it gets too hot. In this case remove the pan from the heat and press the base onto the damp towel to cool it.
  11. After a few minutes, you’ll have a fluffy, silky mass of fish flakes. Taste it and add a bit more sugar or salt if as you feel.

The colouring

Traditionally the product has a very pale pink colour reminiscent of the cherry blossom of spring. It is quite difficult to identify a natural food colouring that doesn't impart an unwanted flavour to the fish floss. The use of an artificial food colouring is the most common colourant for this purpose.
Keep stirring the fish until you end up with a finely flaked floss.

Storing denbu
  • Store sakura denbu in an airtight container.. It is not as robust as the equivalent meat flosses and has only a short storage life refrigerated. Typically 2 to 3 days. This is dependent on the residual moisture content so if you have a commercial food dryer then this will allow you to store it for much longer. (time unspecified) You can freeze it, and take out as much as you need by scraping it off with a fork. Microwave it for a few seconds to regain that fluffy texture.
About the sake and mirin
  • You can leave out the sake and mirin if you don’t have them. They prevent the fish tasting bitter and unfresh and improve the flavour. You may substitute 2 tablespoons of Chinese Shao Hsing wine, or dry sherry. You may need to add a little more sugar as well.