Japanese Style Sardines (Iwashi Nitsuke)

Category Fish
This is a page about Japanese style sardines (iwashi nitsuke). Sardines are believed to have numerous health benefits, when eaten as part of a healthy diet. Here is a great Japanese-style sardines recipe to try.


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I 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

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. 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.
  3. 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.
Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 6


October 1, 20170 found this helpful

I may try this but I'm sure my son will as he loves all kind of healthy unusual foods.


I always look forward to your next recipe - in fact - since I now cook pretty much basic dishes (for 1 or 2 people) I may not even subscribe to TF's Recipe newsletter if not for your (and a few others) really nice recipes.
Thanks for taking the time to offer up another easy but tasty looking recipe.

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October 1, 20171 found this helpful

I'd be so excited for you and your son to try this. I can't tell you how many times people have heard "sardine" and ran straight to saying "nope!" They try this and they do a 180. Give it a try with a side of white rice. Lay the fish with its sauce right on it and it will go together amazingly. It's really awesome with a cold, crunchy side; even julienned cabbage with a light drizzle of lemon juice and soy.

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October 2, 20170 found this helpful

Sounds like a good plan. I had to learn at an early age - never discount food because you do not like the color or the "look" or the smell and especially if the taste was different.


Good advice I think and I carried it over to my family so food is often an adventure to us.

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