dashi stock. It gives more intense flavor than katsuobushi.
Remove head and guts, and toast in a frying pan without oil for several minutes (or microwave without cover for 60 seconds) and simmer 10-15 minutes, or soak entire niboshi in cold water overnight (at least several hours).
Just as with any dashi source ingredient, can be ground and added as instant dashi.
Katuobushi bonito flakes
For dashi use, select large flakes of bonito, which are called hana katsuo. Some katsuobushi contains other fish which can taste rough as dashi.
Sababushi mackerel flakes
The photo at left shows the mixture of thickly shaved mackerel and bonito flakes I use for soba buckwheat noodle soup.
Shirasu dried young sardines
As shirasu are not completely dried, they are found at refrigerated or frozen food sections at grocery stores.
Chirimen jako / iriko dried young sardines
Drier than shirasu, and usually found on dried food shelves at stores.
Shirasu and chirimen jako (or jako) are used interchangeably depending on the region in Japan. The same is true for chirimen jako and iriko, and for iriko and niboshi. Generally speaking, niboshi is the largest in size, followed by iriko and chirimen jako.
Chirimen jako is often sauteed and added to salad as a crunchy topping, or fried or cooked with other ingredients to add flavor and texture, as it works like instant dashi stock.