Mackerel Spine Karinto

Mackerel Spine KarintoBrian Clarke and Harry Weir

Karinto is a traditional Japanese snack. Normally, we use flour and yeast before deep-frying and coating with brown sugar. However, when I was filleting mackerel I didn’t want those bones to be thrown into the bin. Then I remembered I used to eat fish bone snacks when I was a kid. So I started making them in my restaurant to give to people as a snack. They loved them. This mackerel spine karinto is coated with cane sugar and sesame seeds. Try them – they’re addictive, full of calcium and promote zero waste.

Serves 4–8


  • 4 mackerel spines
  • 50g potato starch or corn starch
  • 1 litre oil, for deep frying
  • 40g cane sugar or so brown sugar
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 25ml water
  • 1 handful white sesame seeds


  1. Cut each mackerel spine into four pieces and lightly toss in the potato starch.
  2. Heat the oil of the deep fryer to 165°C.Add the bones and fry for a few minutes, until you don’t see any bubbles. Remove and leave to drain for five minutes.
  3. Heat up the oil to 180°C and then refry the bones for about 40 seconds. Leave those bones on kitchen towel paper.
  4. Place the cane sugar, caster sugar and water into a pan on a high heat. When it starts boiling, add the cooked bones. Stir well to caramelise them. Add white sesame seeds and mix well until caramelised.
  5. 5 Spread onto a baking sheet and allow to cool down for about 20 minutes. Enjoy.

Tip: I’ve tried this method with a few different types of fish spines – it works best with flatfish. Monkfish spine did not pan out.

For more tips on Japanese cooking and gorgeous recipes from Takashi Miyazaki, click here