Niboshi Dashi: dried sardine broth

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Niboshi are baby sardines (anchovies in some translations) that have been boiled once then dried. Compared to katsuobushi, stock made with niboshi has a fishier flavor. They vary in size from about 1.5″ to over 3″long, with the smaller ones having a milder flavor. This stock is used in both Korean and Japanese cooking for miso soup, hot pots (nabemono), and strongly flavored noodle dishes. Some bloggers note that niboshi dashi is more common in the Tokyo area than in Osaka/Kyoto; and katsuo dashi is used more in the summer, niboshi in the winter.

When you open the bag, you should notice a nice fish smell, somewhat like opening a can of good quality tuna. There are people who eat the baby fish as a snack straight out of the package. It took some courage for me to put one into my mouth! They are high in calcium… Some people eat the fish strained from the broth. And if the fish are especially small, some people don’t strain them out: just eat them with the other things added to miso soup.

I have read that niboshi are among the symbolic foods of Japanese osechi during New Year. Sounds like something to try! Tazukuri (fried sweet and savory sardines for New Year’s) are made by frying the dried sardines and then adding a mixture of shoyu, sugar, mirin, and roasted white sesame seeds. Korean fried sardines often include small amounts of ginger, garlic, and chili paste as well.

Niboshi Dashi Recipe
makes 4 cups

about 15 small niboshi (dried anchovies or sardines) (1 ½” long)
small piece of kombu (optional)
4 and 1/4 cups water

Preparation:
Clean the niboshi: remove the heads and guts, which will make the stock bitter. Put water in a deep pot and soak niboshi for 30 minutes to one hour. Some people add a piece of kombu to the pot and remove it before the water boils. On medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, skimming off any foam rises to the surface. Stop the heat. Strain the broth through a kitchen cloth. Use immediately, or refrigerate or freeze.

Korean Anchovy Stock

1 cup dried anchovies
2 ounces kelp (kombu/dashima/dasima)
10 cups water
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, cut into thick slivers

Preparation:
Toast the anchovies over low heat for a minute or two. Put the kelp and anchovies in cold water to soak for 2 hours.
 Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Bring to a slow simmer over low heat.
 Simmer 5 minutes then strain the broth. Discard solids.
Use for Korean soups and stews.

dried anchovies for dashi
dried anchovies for dashi
mikey likes anchovies
mikey likes anchovies
mikey likes anchovies
niboshi dried anchovies for dashi

updated 8 February 2014
see page 2 for printable recipes

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2 thoughts on “Niboshi Dashi: dried sardine broth

  1. Pingback: Tenobe-Dango-Jiru « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

  2. Pingback: 味噌汁 Miso Soup by Mr. Tess « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

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