Tazukuri (Soy Sauce Sugar-Glazed Sardines)
Makes 4 servings
2 ounces gomame (dried baby sardines)
1/3 cup dashi (or water)
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 takanotsume (Japanese “hawk claw” pepper) (or substitute 1 dried red chile pepper)
1. Pick out any broken fish. To pan toast: Cook the fish in a dry pan over medium-low heat until fragrant, lightly toasted, and crispy (about 3 minutes). To microwave toast: Spread the fish in a circle on a plate lined with a paper towel and microwave on high for 2.5 minutes, making sure the fish don’t burn.
2. Mix the dashi, soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and takanotsume together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Then add the toasted fish and simmer for a couple of minutes until the mixture has reduced and is thick and syrupy.
3. Spread the fish out on a large plate to cool.