Sometimes mistranslated as baby anchovies, niboshi — usually called “iriko” in western Japan — are actually dried baby sardines.
Niboshi typically range anywhere from an inch and a half to three inches. Generally speaking, the smaller they are, the milder the taste, while larger niboshi have a stronger ocean-y umami flavor. Just like with most fish, niboshi are high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and minerals, among other nutrients.
They have two main culinary uses: either as a base for dashi stock, or fried and eaten as a crunchy, salty snack.
Because of their usage in dashi, you’ll find hints of niboshi in tons of different Japanese soups, stews, batters, and more — after all, dashi is ubiquitous in Japanese cuisine, being an ingredient in everything from miso soup to okonomiyaki.
Whether you’re looking for niboshi to fry up as a tasty appetizer or to make homemade dashi, we carry them in our Grocery Department.