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Semi Dried Whiting Fillets (Whiting Bunkaboshi)
Prep Time
40 mins
Drying Time
2 d
Total Time
2 d 40 mins

Semi Dried Whiting Fillets are packed with umami and the flesh is still soft and moist when grilled. All you need to do is to brine the fillets and leave them in the fridge uncovered.

Drying is a great way to keep the fish longer in the fridge and to preserve good flavour when frozen.

Prep Time includes filleting 5 whiting but does not include the time to dry, which can be 24-28 hours.

Recipe Type: Appetizer, Main, Side
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: dried whiting, whiting, whiting fillet
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 5 whole whiting about 400g/0.9lb in total (note 1)
Brine (note 2)
  • 150ml/5.1oz water
  • 8g/0.3oz salt
Filleting Whiting
  1. Place a knife just behind the pectoral fin, perpendicular to the fish, and chop the head off. Try to place the knife at a slightly diagonal angle so that more gut area will be cut off.

  2. Slice open the abdominal cavity and remove guts.

  3. Starting from the head-end, make a long deep incision along the belly side, as close to the bones as possible.
  4. Turn the fish around and make a deep incision along the dorsal side in the same way.
  5. Insert the tip of the knife between the flesh and the bone near the tail, with the blade facing to the tail, and slide the knife to remove the tail end of the fillet off the bone.
  6. Hold the semi-detached fillet on the dorsal side with your left hand (for right handers) and use the tip of the knife to remove the flesh in the middle off the bone, working through from the tail end to the head-end.

  7. When the knife reaches the rib bones, cut the bones with the knife and remove the fillet.

  8. Place the knife where the rib bones start, facing the blade towards the bottom of the belly. Slide the knife just below the rib bones in a scraping motion to remove the bones. Try to take as little flesh with the bones as possible.

  9. Repeat on the other side of the fish to make the second fillet.
  10. Rinse the fillets and pat dry them with kitchen paper.

Brining and Drying Fillets
  1. Mix the Brine ingredients well until the salt is dissolved completely.

  2. Put the brine in a shallow tray or a zip lock bag and add the fish filets to it, ensuring that all fillets are submerged in the brine. Leave for 30 minutes.

  3. Drain and place each fillet on the rack without overlapping. Leave it in the fridge uncovered for 24-48 hours (note 4).

  4. Wait for the next post, Grilled Whiting Fillets, to learn about cooking these fillets.

Recipe Notes

1. My whiting was red spot whiting, which is much smaller and cheaper than sand whiting. The whole whiting was about 15-18cm/6-7" long from head to tail, but when filleted the length of each fillet was 10-12cm/4-4¬ĺ" long.¬†Alternatively, you can buy whiting fillets if they are very fresh.

2. The saltiness of the brine can be anywhere between 5-15%. For oily red meat fish, you will need saltier brine, but for white non-oily fish like whiting, 5% salt brine is adequate.

3. The tray should be large enough to place 10 fillets without overlapping.

4. It is up to you how long you want to dry the fillets for. After 24 hours of drying, the surface of the fillet should be dry but overall the meat should still be pretty soft when pressed. After 48 hours of drying, the edges of the fillet become dry and the tail-end hardens a bit.

5. Nutrition per fillet assuming that the amount of brined soaked up by the fillets is 10% of the weight of the fillets.

serving: 30g calories: 27kcal fat: 0.4g (1%) saturated fat: 0.1g (0%) trans fat: 0g polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g monounsaturated fat: 0.1g cholesterol: 20mg (7%) sodium: 80mg (3%) potassium: 75mg (2%) carbohydrates: 0g (0%) dietary fibre: 0g (0%) sugar: 0g protein: 5.5g vitamin a: 0.6% vitamin c: 0% calcium: 1.1% iron: 0.6%