Do you want to add authentic Japanese flavor to your dishes? This Niboshi dashi (or Iriko dashi) is soup stock made from dried sardine and brings a nice umami-rich flavor. Let's learn how to make it!
Dashi is Japanese soup stock, and it's the foundation and essential ingredient for our cooking.
This niboshi dashi is made from dried fish and has a strong aroma and umami (depth of the taste) that enhance the dish's flavor compared to other dashi types.
- This recipe is for you if:
- You want to know about niboshi dashi.
- You are looking for a niboshi dashi recipe.
- You want to know what dishes to make with niboshi dashi.
Are you curious about it? I will explain in detail, so please stay with me to the end. Or you can jump to the recipe card if you want to check the instructions right away!
About this recipe
- Japanese niboshi (Iriko) dashi recipe
- What is niboshi dashi
- Recipes using niboshi dashi
- More dashi recipes
You will need only two ingredients to make niboshi dashi:
I will explain in detail about dried sardines in the following section.
What is Niboshi (Iriko)?
First of all, what is niboshi?
Niboshi (or Iriko) is Japanese dried fish made by boiling and drying.
Various kinds of fish are used for niboshi, such as sardines, Japanese horse mackerel, flying fish, etc.
But sardine niboshi is most common in Japan, so speaking of niboshi refers to dried sardines.
You might wonder, what is iriko then?
Some people call it niboshi, some iriko, but both are the same because how to call it is different in the region. It's called niboshi in eastern Japan and iriko in western Japan.
By the way, niboshi is a good source of vitamin D, calcium, and DHA, and it's great ingredient for children's growth.
The flavor of niboshi dashi
Compared to other dashi, such as katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and kombu (kelp), niboshi dashi has a unique flavor and intense aroma of fish.
The dashi brings a rich flavor since the niboshi contains more than one umami element (depth of the taste).
I like to use it for miso soup because miso also contains umami elements, so it enhances umami's richness when combined with miso.
How to Pick Niboshi
Please check these points when you buy niboshi:
- Silver color: Beautiful silver color means good that they are processed while fresh and contain plenty of flavor and nutrition. If it turns yellow, it is oxidized, and the flavor has decreased.
- No cracks on the belly: The belly may crack during the manufacturing process, and the umami may flow from there. So better to pick niboshi with smooth berries.
Where to buy
You can find it at an Asian grocery store or an online store. If you live in the US, you can find it on Amazon.com: Nagasaki Dried Sardines.
You can also substitute it with a dashi granular type to save time.
Let me walk you through how to make it. You can also watch this video.
- Remove head and gut of niboshi: Take the head and gut (the black part in the belly) out and cut down the smell and bitterness, and the taste better. If you want to save time, you can use it as it is.
- Bring to a boil: Put niboshi and water in a pot, and bring to a boil.
- Simmer: Lower the heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Strain: Strain through a sieve. Please use a paper filter if you don't want any small pieces in the dashi.
It's tedious to remove the head and gut every time making dashi, so I finish it for a whole package at one time and put them in a jar, and keep it in the fridge (it would be oxidized at room temperature).
If you like eating niboshi, you can keep them in the dashi without draining. I like eating niboshi, so I do it when making miso soup.
There is another way to make niboshi dashi.
Put water and niboshi in a jar, keep it in the fridge overnight, and then strain through a sieve to take niboshi when using.
It would be less flavor than simmering, but this is the easiest method.
It will last in the fridge for three days and in the freezer for one month. It would be convenient to use an ice cube tray when freezing.
Recipes using niboshi dashi
Niboshi dashi is excellent for various dishes.
Since it is dashi based on fish, it especially goes well with vegetable dishes than fish dishes.
The most commonly used dishes are:
- Miso soup: Daikon miso soup
- Simmered dishes: such as Hijiki seaweed salad
- Noodle soup (such as ramen, udon, and soba): Kake soba (soba noodle soup)
I almost every day make miso soup with niboshi dashi. Cook it with plenty of vegetables, and it will be a hearty umami-packed soup.
After making dashi, you might wonder what to do with this leftover niboshi.
We don't want to waste them, so why don't we make a crunchy snack?
Here are the ingredients and instructions:
- Leftover niboshi
- 1 teaspoon Oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoon Maple syrup
- 10 pieces of Almonds (chopped)
- a little Salt
Squeeze niboshi well and dry with a paper towel. Mix all the ingredients and spread on a baking tray, then bake for 10 to 13 minutes at 180C/356F.
This dish is a super healthy and nutrient-rich snack. I hope you will love the idea!
Thanks For Stopping By
I hope you are ready to make this flavorful dashi and enjoy Japanese recipes!
Niboshi dashi is so powerful but easy to make. I hope this recipe is helpful!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡ If you've tried this recipe(or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!
Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
More Dashi Recipes You Might Like
Niboshi Dashi (Dried Sardine Stock)Print Pin Rate
- 20 g Niboshi
- 800 ml Water
- Remove head and gut of niboshi: Take the head and gut (the black part in the belly) out and cut down the smell and bitterness.
- Bring to a boil: Put niboshi and water in a pot, bring to a boil.
- Simmer: Lower the heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Strain: Strain through a sieve.
- Storage: It will last for 3 days in the fridge and one month in the freezer.
- Step 1: If you want to save time, you can use niboshi as it is.
- Step 4: If you don't want any small pieces in the dashi, please use a paper filter.
- Recipe using niboshi dashi: Miso soup, Simmered vegetables, Noodle soup (Ramen, udon, soba), etc.
- You can also make it by cold brew. Just put water and niboshi in a jar and keep it in the fridge overnight, then strain through a sieve to take niboshi when using.
- You can make a niboshi snack with leftovers ( see the section above).