Discover Japanese Food #9: Atsuko’s "Iwashi no nitsuke, simmered sardine in soy sauce" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Atsuko’s Kitchen)


Sardine is a common fish in Japan and here in the UK. It is well known as a source of Omega-3.
If you cook any fish you should be very careful not to handle it too much, to prevent damage.
There are many useful grandmother’s hints to help when cooking fish.

For this recipe, the small pieces of sardine will be very fragile when you simmer the fish. Adding umeboshi helps to stop the fish from breaking. Place a bamboo sheet in the bottom of the sauce pan, and simmer the fish gently on top of the bamboo. After the fish is cooked, remove it from the seasonings by lifting the bamboo.

Ingredients: serves 4-6
6 sardines, A finger sized piece of ginger, 1 umeboshi (salted plum)
Seasonings:
150ml shoyu, 120ml mirin, 4 tbsp sake, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 bamboo sheet ( if available – you will find it in asian super market or Japanese grocery shop )

Preparation
1. Wash the sardine in cold water to remove any scales.
2. Cut sardine into 3 cm length then soak in salted water made with 2 tbsp of salt to 1 liter of water for 10 mins.
3. Soak the dried bamboo sheet in cold water to soften.
4. When the fish becomes firm, use chop sticks to remove the guts.
Then wash in cold water, strain.
5. Slice the ginger then cut it into very fine strips.

Method
1. Put the sardine pieces in a sauce pan then cover with water, bring it to the boil.
2. When it starts boiling then the sardines are cooked. Drain the water. This helps to remove the smell of the sardine.
3. Cool the sardines down then remove the back bone. It is easily removed from head side, pull the bone out carefully so as not to break the fish.
4. Put the bamboo sheet in the sauce pan,then add the sardines, a cup of water, ginger and umeboshi, and bring it to the boil.
5. Add sake, sugar, mirin and shoyu to the sauce pan then simmer for 20 mins until the seasonings have half evaporated.
6. Leave it to cool down to allow the flavour to soak into the sardines.
7. Lift both sides of the bamboo sheet to avoid breaking any sardines while transferring to the dish. Serve in on the bamboo for presentation!

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