Denbu Oboro Soboro



Shredded fish preparations (denbu)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various
***** Category: Humanity


A preparation of boiled and then mashed fish, flavored with sugar, soy sauce and mirin. For consumption, this mix is added to sushi or norimaki sushi.
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If the fish is colored with food red (shokubeni しょくべに【食紅】), the dish is called "cherry blossom denbu", sakura denbu さくらでんぶ. Sakura denbu gives a nice color to the sushi.
It is even sold at amazon.com : Sakura Denbu - Ground Seasoned Codfish

Tai sea bream and tara cod are used most often.


tara denbu 鱈田夫(たらでんぶ, 鱈田麩) with cod fish
kigo for spring


Oboro おぼろ (朧)

This word comes from thin clouds and mist
Spring haziness, Spring mistiness , haze, hazy : oboro 朧
kigo for spring

For food, we have oboro of fish (see above the denbu), oboro of konbu seaweed, oborodoofu of tofu and others.

White fish and small shrimp are first boiled and then mashed and flavored.
These preparations are also sold online.

ara oboro 粗おぼろ roughly prepared oboro


oboro konbu おぼろ昆布
shredded konbu kelp seaweed

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High-quality konbu are softened in vinegar and then shredded into very thin pieces.
They can be eaten in sumashi soup or used for aemono dressing, placed into onigiri rice balls or eaten like this with a bit of additional flavored vinegar or sanbaizu vinegar.

Most oboro come from Tsuruga 敦賀, Fukui. There was even an old road connectiong Tsuruga with Kyoto to transport the freshly shredded oboro konbu (oboro kaidoo おぼろ街道).
The oboro must be shredded by hand, which is quite a delicate job.
Tesuki Oboro Konbu (hand-sliced tangle seaweed) is produced after dampening it with vinegar and soften it.Today, 85% of the Japanese hand-sliced silk-like tangle kombu is produced in Tsuruga.
This tradition dates back to the Kitamaebune ships, which brought dried konbu from Hokkaido.

In Osaka, they are placed on kakeudon noodle soup or prepared into a thin soup with additional soy sauce and salt.


oborodofu, oborodoofu おぼろ豆腐
oboro-style tofu

This is a handmade preparation, where the tofu is preserved just before it gets really hard. It is scooped out by hand in special cups.
Normal tofu is then skimmed into special wooden molds and pressured with a weight to get rid of some water.

oboro is also called kumidoofu くみ豆腐. It can be served in special cups or baskets.
It is very soft and has a slightly sweet natural flavor.
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Readymade preparations of Oborodofu soup are also available.


Seasoned meat or fish mince(soboro そぼろ)

CLICK for more soboro photosMinced meat or mashed fish is flavored with rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and other spices like ginger juice. While boiling the water content of the mash can be reduced. This kind of preparation with fish is also called oboro, see above.

Oboro is a favorite on o-bento lunchboxes or a simple rice dish.

buta sorobo, minced pork meat
niku soboro, minced flavored meat 肉そぼろ
sake soboro, finely shredded sake salmon
tamago soboro, crumbled egg
tori sorobo, minced chicken 鶏そぼろ

sanshoku soboro bento 三色そぼろ弁当 with three differently colored soboro preparations

soboro don (soboro donburi) bowl of rice with some soboro as topping

RP for chicken

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Ooyama no oboro doofu ya waka kaede

this famous oboro tofu
at Mount Oyama ...
young maple leaves

Yano Fumiko 谷野文子
Tr. Gabi Greve

Oyama is a mountain with a famous temple near Odawara. I have been there myself and eaten the famous tofu in the local tea house on the way, surrounded by the green leaves. It is a phantastic atmosphere, and again, in autumn, when the leaves are red, it is a good time to come again.

Oyama and the famous Fudo Temple

Related words

***** Codfish tara denbu and other cod fish food

***** Soups




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Anonymous said...

Thank you, gabi san for sharing with a taste of Japan with this wonderful translation. I hope you translate more of this person's haiku.
robert d. wilson

Anonymous said...

Yum! A culture and sensibility that savors every morsel the senses have to offer. I can see
you in situ.
Thanks Gabi!
Best, Michele

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kitamaebune 北前船 North-bound trade ships
“Kitame-bune” “Kitamae-bune”

Matsumaebune 松前船 Matsumae trade ships to Hokkaido
the Details !