Baby Sardine Tsukudani is a classic Japanese preserved food that makes the best companion to rice. It is prepared by slowly simmering baby sardines in a sweet-savory sauce. Deliciously crunchy and addicting, you can also enjoy it as a topping on tofu, or as a snack to go with sake!
Quickly rinse the dried baby sardines under running water. This helps to clean and to remove excess saltiness from the fish. Drain the baby sardines well and transfer them to the saucepan.
Add mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce in the saucepan.
Mix all the ingredients and turn the heat to medium heat.
Bring the sauce to boil. Once boiling, skim off the foam and reduce the heat to low.
Cover the baby sardines with an otoshibuta (drop lid) and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
Once the sauce has thickened and you can see the bottom of the pot, turn off the heat. Transfer the Tsukudani to a glass container. Optionally, add the sesame seeds and mix well.
You can keep the Tsukudani in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or the freezer for 2-3 months.
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 in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.