Your cart is empty
Shop products

Shared by Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel

Bonito-Cured Lox

Yield: 8-10 servingsTime: 30 min + 3 days inactive

Shared by Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel

Chef preparing bonito-cured lox.
Photographer: Penny de los Santos. Food Stylist: Christopher Barsch. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Bonito-Cured Lox

Yield: 8-10 servingsTime: 30 min + 3 days inactive

Family Journey

Hiroshima, Japan and Long Island, NY
Brooklyn, NY

The recipe for Brooklyn-based restaurant Shalom Japan owners Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel’s bonito-cured lox is relatively simple, but there’s a catch — it takes two days to cure.

Starting with gravlax, the couple achieves a version of the smoked Jewish classic using bonito flakes, which “adds an amazing smoky, umami flavor to the salmon,” Aaron explains. 

“It’s like a cheat way to make smoked salmon,” he says.

They recommend sustainably farmed fish, citing its higher fat content, and note that “there’s a long tradition of curing and smoking all kinds of fish in Japan.”

Read more about Sawako “Sawa” Okochi and Aaron Israel’s family story in The Couple Behind Shalom Japan and the Dish That Started It All.


  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, toasted and coarsely ground
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 ½- to 2- pound skin-on salmon fillet, preferably king salmon or steelhead, pin bones removed
  • ½ small bunch dill, rinsed and dried
  • ½ small bunch curly parsley, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup bonito flakes


  • Step 1

    To make the curing salt, in a bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, coriander, black pepper, and garlic, rubbing the garlic in with your fingertips until well incorporated.

  • Step 2

    Place the salmon skin-side down in a large container with a tight-fitting lid, or on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Rub a little more than half of the curing salt evenly onto the flesh side of the salmon.

  • Step 3

    Place the dill, parsley, and bonito flakes on top. Carefully flip the salmon over. Rub the remaining curing salt evenly over the other side. Cover with the lid or wrap the baking sheet in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days to cure.

  • Step 4

    Rinse the salt, herbs, and bonito flakes off the salmon. Thoroughly pat dry using paper towels. Wrap in parchment paper, then in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight before cutting. This helps the salt distribute evenly throughout the fillet.

  • Step 5

    Line a small baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.

  • Step 6

    To cut the lox, use a long, sharp slicing knife. Start cutting at the head side, which is the thicker end of the fillet. Hold the knife at a 45-degree angle to the cutting board and slice away from your body using a gentle back-and-forth sawing motion. Make sure to follow all the way through until the slice is completed. Try and make the slices as thin as you possibly can while maintaining your angle—ideally,you want to see the blade through the slice while you’re cutting. You’ll need to make a few cuts before you’re able to establish the angle and get slices that are consistent.

  • Step 7

    Transfer the slices to the lined baking sheet, placing them so they overlap slightly. When you’ve covered the whole piece of parchment with lox, place another sheet on top. Continue slicing until you have cut

    the entire fillet, or leave some unsliced and use it for Shiozake. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and wrap tightly in plastic. The lox will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or up to 1 month in the freezer.