An iconic dish of Japan, tempura was introduced to the island nation by missionaries from Portugal in the sixteenth century. The Japanese refined this foreign dish, serving it with a dipping sauce. Here, the sauce calls for bonito flakes. These delicate, buff-colored, almost translucent flakes are shaved from a bonito fish that has been dried and smoked. The shavings have a subtle fish taste and aroma, and are one of the principal ingredients in dipping sauces and bonito stock, or dashi.
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