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Sakura denbu recipe

Sakura denbu - the cutest fish flakes for many bento, snacks & sushi toppings

The most beautiful topping ever to amplify your bento, lunch pack, sushi, rice dish.... with a lovely shade of pink. It tastes kinda sweet with bit of saltiness and can compliment any dish easily.
Course Topping
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Author Victoria


  • 1 lb white fish fillet: cod, tilapia, halibut, bass, grouper...
  • 2 tsp minced white onion
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dashi powder
  • 2 Tbsp mirin use aji mirin for non-alcoholic
  • 1 Tbsp sake or rice vinegar + extra sugar + pea size ginger
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • natural food colorants e.g beet or berry color powder


  • Wash, pat dry fish fillets. Cut into smaller blocks for easier to handle if need.
  • In a heat safe bowl, mix all ingredients (except color) together.
  • Steam for 10 minutes or until fish can be flaked with fork.
  • Transfer the fish fillets into a clean bowl, use a fork, smasher or stick blender to smash and flake them. For the juice (from the steamed fish dish), strain out all the solid (onion) and reserve this fish juice.
    Smash and flake steamed fish
  • With a wok or large sauce pan on low heat, add the flaked fish fillets and stir constantly.
  • Keep stirring and flaking to break all the clumps.
  • Dissolve color powder or food color with the preserved fish juice. Pour this juice into damp fish flake. Less for lighter pink or more for deeper hue.
  • Keep stirring and applying pressure to break up clumps so that flakes look finer. Adjust taste if need.
  • When the flakes become so fine and dry, you can now stop.
    Fine and dry fish flakes
  • Let air cool at room temperature before storing.