©Photo by iStock: Satoshi-K

Recipe: Sumashi-jiru

Japan's Umami Filled Clear Soup

By The Savvy Team
September 1, 2023
Food & Drink

This umami-filled Japanese soup was originally intended to be served hot, but it is equally satisfying cold, especially during summer when most people can't fathom eating a hot soup.

Sumashi-jiru, also known as o-sumashi or clear soup, is a traditional Japanese soup that is characterized by its clear and light broth. Similar to the well-known miso soup, sumashi-jiru is often served as a side dish in Japanese cuisine and is commonly found in various types of meals, including kaiseki (traditional multi-course meals) and home-cooked dinners. It’s often enjoyed at the beginning of a meal to whet the appetite or as a palate cleanser between courses in more formal dining settings.

Recipe: Sumashi Jiru© Photo by iStock: kuremo

The soup is typically made using dashi, which is a Japanese stock made from ingredients like kombu (kelp) and bonito flakes. The dashi forms the base of the clear broth, which is then seasoned with soy sauce and salt. The broth is often garnished with various ingredients, which vary based on personal preference, regional differences and seasonal availability. It can be enjoyed hot during colder months or served chilled in summer.

Common ingredients found in sumashi-jiru include:

  • Tofu
  • Mushrooms
  • Green onions
  • Wakame (seaweed)
  • Seasonal vegetables
  • Minced meat or fish balls
  • Yuzu (Japanese citrus) or lemon zest

Sumashi-jiru is meant to be a light and delicate soup, allowing the flavors of the ingredients and the umami-rich dashi to shine through. There is no need to go heavy with the ingredients—as little as one to three ingredients is sufficient.

The simplicity and elegance of sumashi-jiru reflect the emphasis on balance and seasonal ingredients in Japanese cuisine. See below for a simple sumashi-jiru recipe to enjoy during the hotter months.

Simple Summer Osumashi

Recipe: Sumashi Jiru© Photo by Pixta: 遥花

Serves two.

What You Need

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of dashi powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 myoga (Japanese ginger)
  • 1 shiso leaf

What to Do

  1. Pour the water into a pan and add the dashi powder, salt and soy sauce.
  2. Simmer over medium-low heat until just before it boils.
  3. Pour it into a bowl or container and allow it to cool in the fridge.
  4. Slice up cucumber, myoga and shiso finely.
  5. Take out the cooled dashi soup from the fridge and pour it into serving bowls.
  6. Top each of the bowls with the sliced cucumber, myoga and shiso.
  7. Enjoy it on its own, with a bowl of rice or as a side dish.

Have you made sumashi-jiru before? What are your favorite ingredients to add? Let us know!


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