Japanese Style Sardines (Iwashi Nitsuke)

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September 27, 2017

Japanese Style Sardines on plateI adore sardines mostly because they have so many health benefits. They fight against mood disorders and depression. They reduce inflammation in the body, and they're packed with calcium and vitamin D. This is one of my favourite ways to prepare them as they have such a beautiful complex flavour. I've demonstrated steps on how to use them with a pressure cooker for optimal taste results, but do read the last step if you'd like to try it without one, using a pan.


Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes with a pressure cooker, or 1 hour with a pan


  • 6 headless whole sardines
  • 3 small sheets of dried kelp* (kombu)
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp sake, white wine or sherry
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
Japanese Style Sardines ingredients

You can find the dried kelp (kombu) at most health food stores, Asian markets, or order online from Amazon or Walmart.


  1. Place dried kelp sheets at the bottom of your pressure cooker. Add sardines. Peel and slice ginger, place on top of sardines. Pour in vinegar, sake, sugar, soy sauce, and water.
  2. sardines in pan
  3. Secure top on pressure cooker and cook on high until it starts to steam (about 2 minutes), then shift heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Serve.
  4. cooked Japanese Style Sardines

  5. If you'd like to use a pan in lieu of the pressure cooker, add an extra half cup of water, cover the contents of the pan with parchment paper, cover and cook for one hour.
  6. Japanese Style Sardines on plate
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