Iriko Dashi (Anchovy Stock) いりこだし

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Iriko Dashi (Anchovy Stock) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Today I want to share how to make an anchovy stock called Iriko Dashi (いりこだし) in Japanese.  To create authentic Japanese flavor, making dashi is an inevitable step for Japanese cooking.

I know, “dashi” sounds unfamiliar and you may feel reluctant to try…

But!  Check this out.  Typical dashi recipes require:

  • 1-2 ingredients (at most)
  • total of 20 minutes for active prep/cook time

It’s much faster than making vegetable or chicken stock, right?  :)

So far on Just One Cookbook, I’ve covered Awase Dashi (combination of Katsuobushi + Kombu) as well as vegetarian dashi such as Kombu Dashi and Shiitake Dashi.

We make different types of dashi depending on types of food that it goes well with.  I know, it may sound a little bit complicated but there is no rule for which dashi you use.  For my daily cooking, I use mostly Awase Dashi which is a basic all-purpose stock that goes well with most Japanese recipes.  To read more about details in dashi topic, please check my main Dashi page.

Iriko Dashi (Anchovy Stock) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Iriko Dashi is most commonly used for making miso soup as the bold miso flavor goes well with strong fish aroma (but does NOT taste fishy in flavor).  As dried iriko are more affordable in price than katsuobushi or kombu, and Japanese drink miso soup almost every day, using iriko dashi for miso soup is a very common choice.

Anchovy stock is also a basic stock for Korean cuisine, and the process of making stock is very similar to one for Japanese cuisine.  For those who cannot find katsuobushi, you can try finding these dried baby anchovies/sardines from a Korean grocery stores to make Iriko Dashi.

Here’s a short video on How To Make Iriko Dashi.  It’s very simple, as you can see in the video.  I hope you enjoy!

Iriko Dashi (Anchovy Stock)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3½ cup
Ingredients
  • About 1 cup (1.4 oz., 40 g) iriko (dried baby anchovies/sardines)
  • 4 cups (1000 ml) water
    Iriko Dashi Ingredients
Instructions
  1. This is an extra step and not everyone follows this method, but I highly recommend to remove the head and tummy parts to reduce bitter flavor in iriko dashi.
    Iriko Dashi 1
  2. Soak the iriko in the 4 cups of water for 20-30 minutes, preferably overnight.
    Iriko Dashi 2
  3. Transfer the water and iriko into a small saucepan and slowly bring the water to a boil.
    Iriko Dashi 3
  4. When boiling, skim and reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
    Iriko Dashi 4
  5. After 10 minutes, remove from the heat and drain into a sieve in a bowl lined with paper towel. Gently squeeze the paper towel to drain all liquid and now the dashi is ready for use. Any extra dashi needs to be refrigerated and used within 3 days or freeze for later use.
    Iriko Dashi 5
  6. You can make Tazukuri (Candied Sardine) with leftover iriko. If you don't make it right away, you can freeze the iriko and defrost to make it later on.
Notes
Dried baby anchovies/sardines can be found in Japanese/Korean/Asian grocery stores.

Inactive time (soaking iriko) is not included to Prep/Cook time.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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  1. I made anchovy dashi a long time ago, but somehow it was too strong for me (compared to the katsuobushi one). Maybe I shouldn’t have used it in miso soup… I have to experiment with it more.

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    • Hi Angie! I use iriko dashi to make miso soup sometimes (just to change flavor once in a while, but my family’s favorite is always Awase Dashi), but I don’t use Iriko Dashi much. Which is why it took me a long time to make a post. =P If you enjoy this flavor of dashi, you can use it for most of the recipes that says “dashi”. However, I suggest to avoid using it for fish dish (too much fish in flavor). Hope this helps!

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      • Thanks, it certainly does! I was curious because the Chinese (that includes me) use anchovies in our stock but we don’t soak them first. I will try it your way. Keep posting! 😉

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        • We avoid cooking anchovies for a long time because it creates bitter taste. In Japan, we even consider making iriko dashi with just water only (no cooking) for mild flavor dashi. When we use just water, we don’t remove the head and tummy. Just soak and slowly let the flavor come out. Maybe because Japanese food flavor is light and it’s overwhelming when iriko dashi has strong flavor…

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  2. I always learn so much from you! Removing the heads and tummy portions of the anchovies must be a bit tedious, but I know you know what you’re talking about, so I’d do it! Good post — thanks.

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  3. Oh my goodness, I’ve always wanted to try making anchovy stock for some Korean stews so this is perfect. Thank you so much for sharing and the awesome step by step photos – I can’t wait to give this a try :)

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  4. Jessica

    Hi Nami- I am so glad I subscribed and was welcomed with your inspiring Iroki Dashi video. I love the taste of Miso soup especially with the mild anchovy flavor in the background. I can’t wait to try this. Any other soup suggestions for me? I imagine this stock would be a great base for soups. Thanks!

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    • Hi Amira! Fish sauce is a completely different thing. While this is more like mild flavor stock, fish sauce is a condiment to season food (strong flavor). So it can’t be a good substitute. This stock is used to cook food, or base for noodle soup and miso soup. It’s kind of like chicken/vegetable stock in Japanese cooking. :)

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  5. 勉強になりました。いつも鰹節の出汁を作っておりますが、次回是非いりこ出汁を作りたいです。

    偶然に、最近うちの主人と日本の友達と話していましたが、アメリカへ輸出鰹節、いりこは安全だと思いますか。主人は福島厳罰の影響を心配していますが、確かに政府の規制を信用できますでしょう。(この悩みはなぜと言うと舞版猫が鰹節を食べています。)忙しいところですみませんが、なみさんの意見を頂けませんでしょうか。

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  6. I was so intrigued with dashi after reading it from your blog a year ago that I even went out to buy dashi stock from a Japanese supermarket! 😛 I didn`t know there was an anchovy version as well!

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  7. Didn’t realize that anchovies were made to make a Japanese dashi. Glad to read that it doesn’t have a fishy taste because I’m not much of a anchovy fan, but I am a huge dashi fan. Thanks for sharing this Nami.

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    • Thank you MJ! Dashi has several kinds (5 kinds), and anchovy one is just one of them. Usually when you eat at restaurants, I’m pretty sure the restaurants use combination dashi of bonito flakes and kombu. It’s most flavorful, and used in many dishes (used as all purose dashi). For miso soup, they would use the combination dashi or anchovy dashi. :)

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  8. 3 ingredient stock… can’t beat that. It’s a lot of work to remove all the heads and tummy parts… but I think my kids would prefer them not in the stock too. :)

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  9. Nathaniel

    Thanks for your recipe! I’ve used it many times and it’s been great. Would you recommend using the iriko from making the dashi to reuse it for any dishes? If so, what dish would you make with it?

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  10. Ari

    Hi Nami.
    First, thank you for this instruction.

    I’m wondering abut ebi, can i use ebi as anchovy subtitute?

    One more question,
    Is Iriko Dashi suitable for ramen?
    I mean, can i combine chicken stock and Iriko Dashi to be ramen soup?
    I’ve been trying to make a ramen soup which has umami taste, but i did not get that.
    I live in Indonesia, it is so hard to find kombu here.
    So i think Iriko Dashi can help me to give more savory taste.

    Thank you very much

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    • Hi Ari! Typically Japanese food doesn’t use shrimp stock in our dishes and we use dried shrimp in some of the dishes (more Chinese influence dishes I would say…). Do you plan to use raw shrimp or dried shrimp for broth? I personally think shrimp stock is a bit strong to replace other kinds of dashi. But it’s up to you. You can use shrimp if you like. For ramen, yes you can use anchovy – it’s more Japanese style clean dashi. :)

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