How To Make Niboshi Dashi (Dried Sardine Stock)

5 from 4 votes
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Do you want to add authentic Japanese flavor to your dishes? This Niboshi dashi, also known as Iriko dashi is a soup stock made from dried sardines and brings a nice umami-rich flavor. Let’s learn how to make it!

niboshi dashi-Japanese soup stock

Dashi is a Japanese soup stock, and it’s the foundation and an essential ingredient for Japanese cooking.

This niboshi dashi is made from dried fish and has both a strong aroma and strong umami (depth of the taste) that enhances 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 to learn more 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 broth recipes

📋 Ingredients

You will need only two ingredients to make niboshi dashi:

  • Niboshi
  • Water

I will explain in detail about dried sardines in the following section.

What is Niboshi (Iriko)?

niboshi for dashi stock.

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.

In Japan, when we mention niboshi, we are typically referring to dried sardines as they are the most common type used.

You might wonder, what is iriko then?

Some people call it niboshi, while others call it iriko. However, both terms actually refer to the same thing, and the difference in names is based on regional variations. 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 (fatty acids), which makes it a valuable addition to a child’s diet, supporting their growth and development.

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 enjoy using niboshi in miso soup because it complements the umami elements present in miso, enhancing the dish’s overall richness of umami flavors.

How to Pick Niboshi

niboshi for dashi stock.

Please check these points when you buy niboshi:

  • Silver color: Beautiful silver color means good as they were 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 manufacturing, and the umami may flow from there. So it is better to pick niboshi with smooth berries.

Where to Buy

You can find it at Asian grocery stores or online. If you live in the US, you can find it on Amazon.com: Nagasaki Dried Sardines.

You can also substitute it with a granular type of dashi to save time.

🔪Instructions

Let me walk you through how to make it. You can also watch this video.

how to make niboshi dashi step by step.
  1. Remove the head and guts of niboshi: Take the head and guts (the black part in the belly) out to cut down the smell, and bitterness and to improve the overall taste. If you want to save time, you can use it as it is.
  2. Bring to a boil: Put niboshi and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer: Lower the heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Strain: Strain through a sieve. Please use a paper filter if you don’t want any small pieces in the dashi.
niboshi dashi-Japanese soup stock.

To save time and effort, I find it convenient to remove the heads and guts of the niboshi all at once. I then store the cleaned niboshi in a jar and keep it refrigerated, as they can oxidize if left at room temperature.

If you like eating niboshi, you can keep them in the dashi without draining them. I like eating niboshi, so I do it when making miso soup.

Cold Brew

niboshi dashi-Japanese soup stock.

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 out when using.

While it may not have the same strong flavor as simmering, this method is the easiest way to prepare niboshi dashi.

Storage

It will last in the fridge for three days and in the freezer for one month. Using an ice cube tray for freezing the niboshi dashi would be a convenient option.

Recipes Using Niboshi Dashi

Recipes using niboshi dashi.

Niboshi dashi is excellent for various dishes.

Since dashi is fish-based, it especially goes well with vegetable dishes than other fish dishes.

The most commonly used dishes are:

I make miso soup with niboshi dashi almost every day. Cook it with plenty of vegetables, and it will be a hearty umami-packed soup.

Niboshi Snack

niboshi snack.

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 tsp Oil
  • 1 to 2 tsp 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 is a super healthy and nutrient-rich snack. I hope you will love the idea!

Thanks For Stopping By!

I hope you’re ready to prepare 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-Japanese soup stock.

How To Make Niboshi Dashi (Dried Sardine Stock)

5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 7 minutes
Servings: 800 ml
Author: Juri Austin
Do you want to add authentic Japanese flavor to your dishes? This Niboshi dashi also known as Iriko dashi is a soup stock made from dried sardines and brings a nice umami-rich flavor. Let's learn how to make it!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Remove head and guts of niboshi: Take the head and guts (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. 

Video

Notes

  • 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 brewing. 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).

Nutrition

Serving: 800ml | Calories: 66kcal | Protein: 12.9g | Fat: 1.2g | Sodium: 932mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: niboshi dashi
Did You Make this recipe?Please Leave a star rating!

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