2-3 tablespoons or 1-2 tablespoons if you prefer your sauce to be less sweet
Shiso leaves, daikon radish sprouts, or julienned cucumber
These are the sardines.
Cut the head off.
I believe that "kabayaki" means that fish should be butterflied from the back of it, so I cut the back open (I used my fingers to open it). You can off course open from the bottom.
Take the guts and spine out, rinse well, and pat dry with paper towels.
Coat the fish with katakuriko.
Add oil to a skillet and pan-fry both sides of the fish. Cook the "meat" side first.
Once it is done cooking, take it out from the skillet.
Combine the ingredients for the kabayaki sauce.
Add the sauce mixture from Step 8 in a skillet and bring it to a boil.
Add the sardine from Step 7 in the skillet, and take care to dip only the flesh of the fish into the sauce. Then you're done.
This amount of the sauce should be enough for 4 sardine fillets.
The sauce maybe too concentrated for small children. Adjust the taste by not letting it simmer too much at Step 10 or adding more water to the sauce.
Large-sized sardines have big bones, so you should remove those. You can also ask the grocer to fillet the fish for you.
Story Behind this Recipe
I made this as though I was going to eat eel kabayaki, but since eel is expensive, I substituted with sardines.
It is easier and tastes better if you prep until Step 7 and pour on the sauce right before you eat it. It's perfect for a busy house maker. I normally serve the fish with the skin side down, so I cook the other side first.