Japan

Japanese Clear Soup

January 25, 2017

Made with a flavorful dashi stock base, this Japanese Clear Soup features shiitake mushrooms, daikon, carrot, and sweet potato. Perfect as an appetizer before the main meal or as a light meatless lunch!

This Japanese Clear Soup uses a flavorful dashi stock as a base and also features shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of veggies! A perfect appetizer or a light lunch! | cookingtheglobe.com

Let me start this post by saying that I love recipes that require advance preparation. Particularly when hard-to-get ingredients or equipment are involved. I already expressed my love to grocery shopping in some of the earlier posts. Not those boring store visits to get some staples but strolling through, let’s say, Asian or Indian sections or getting some exotic fruits and veggies.

It’s even more exciting when I need ingredients that are impossible to find in my country. Not in my local store, not in my town, in the whole freaking country! That’s definitely not a rare occasion given the size of Lithuania. Thanks to globalization, I can easily order products I need with a few clicks of the mouse. That was the case with this Japanese Clear Soup.

This Japanese Clear Soup uses a flavorful dashi stock as a base and also features shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of veggies! A perfect appetizer or a light lunch! | cookingtheglobe.com

I first encountered this delicious soup at the local Asian restaurant somewhere a month ago. It was simple yet utterly satisfying. After getting back home I immediately started looking for the recipe. It wasn’t a problem – one of my books had it (Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen in case you are interested). The problem was elsewhere. The list of ingredients included 3 (!) items I wasn’t able to find in local grocery stores. Local internet shops didn’t have them either.

Those ingredients were: Kombu (edible seaweed), Katsuobushi or Bonito flakes (dried and shaved into fine flakes tuna), and Mirin (sweet rice wine). The first two, unheard to me before, are needed to make a famous Japanese stock used in many recipes called dashi. Sweet rice wine, on the other hand, caught my eye many times before (it’s an essential condiment of the Japanese cuisine) but I always either skipped it or substituted with something else.

I wanted to make Japanese Clear Soup really badly so I ordered all these exotic ingredients online. A month later I had them on hand and here I am sharing this beautiful recipe with you today, guys!

This Japanese Clear Soup uses a flavorful dashi stock as a base and also features shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of veggies! A perfect appetizer or a light lunch! | cookingtheglobe.com

A few words about the clear soup tradition in Japan. Suimono – that’s how this type of soup is called in the land of the rising sun. It can be of two types: a few ingredients swimming in a sea of broth or a more filling one like we are used to in the Western world. I’ve chosen the latter because I always have that fear to use a small number of ingredients in the recipe.

This Japanese Clear Soup uses a flavorful dashi stock as a base and also features shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of veggies! A perfect appetizer or a light lunch! | cookingtheglobe.com

There is no one list of ingredients for the Japanese Clear Soup. Some add shrimp or fish or even chicken or pork, others prefer a meatless version. Some add tofu, others skip it. Mushrooms can be also added or left out. Veggies – any can be used for this soup. Daikon, snow peas, carrots, bok choy, bamboo shoots, and the list goes on and on. The only ingredient common to all clear soup recipes is dashi, a stock I talked about earlier.

The version of soup I made includes daikon (thanks to my local store for at least having this veggie available because I’m not sure you can order veggies for international shipping), carrot, shiitake mushrooms (the original recipe used naméko but I wasn’t able to find them; not a biggie, I guess), and, surprisingly, sweet potato. If the author of the Japanese book included a non-Japanese veggie, it means that you can use anything you like for this soup.

This Japanese Clear Soup uses a flavorful dashi stock as a base and also features shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of veggies! A perfect appetizer or a light lunch! | cookingtheglobe.com

A light version of Japanese Clear Soup is usually served after the appetizer as the first course of a full meal or alongside sushi dishes. If the soup is more substantial (like our version), it can be served as a side dish to complement fish or meat. I just had it as a light but quite filling lunch. It depends on the size of the serving, though. The book offers to serve this recipe for 4 people, while I would say it’s more like for 2.

This Japanese Clear Soup uses a flavorful dashi stock as a base and also features shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of veggies! A perfect appetizer or a light lunch! | cookingtheglobe.com

Was it worth getting all these rare ingredients to make this soup? You bet. I can’t even explain that wonderful taste. Dashi stock is so flavorful. Slightly smoky, mildly sweet, unique! If you have never tried dashi before, you have to. The soup is also full of mushroom flavor with all the veggies complementing it wonderfully. A definite must-try! This Japanese Clear Soup uses a flavorful dashi stock as a base and also features shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of veggies! A perfect appetizer or a light lunch! | cookingtheglobe.com

 

5 from 7 votes
This Japanese Clear Soup uses a flavorful dashi stock as a base and also features shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of veggies! A perfect appetizer or a light lunch! | cookingtheglobe.com
Print
Japanese Clear Soup
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This low-calorie Japanese Clear Soup makes a perfect appetizer before the main meal or a delicious light lunch!

Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 2 people
Calories Per Serving: 119 kcal
Author: CookingTheGlobe
Ingredients
For the dashi stock:
  • 15 square inches (40 square cm) kombu
  • 4 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
For the soup:
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 oz (60g) sweet potato , cubed
  • 4 oz (115g) daikon , cubed
  • 2 oz (60g) carrot , cut into half moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 oz (100g) fresh shiitake mushrooms (dried can also be used)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon mirin
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • chopped green onion , for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. To make the dashi stock, soak the kombu in a pot with water for 10 minutes. After that, turn on the heat and wait until just starting to boil. Remove from heat and add the katsuobushi. Wait for 3-4 minutes and pour the stock through a strainer discarding the solids.

  2. In a skillet, add the sesame oil and spread the sweet potato cubes in a single layer. Cook for 1 minute, then shake the skillet to flip them and cook for a minute more. Set aside.

  3. In a 2-quart pot, bring the stock to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the daikon, carrot, and salt. Simmer for 2 minutes or until the veggies are barely tender. Skim away any froth if it appears.

  4. Add the shiitake mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the soy sauce and mirin. Add the sweet potato cubes.

  5. Mix the cornstarch with water to get a paste and stir it into the soup, on a high heat. Continue stirring for about a minute, until the soup thickens. Sprinkle with the chopped green onions and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh

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20 Comments

  • Reply Sarah January 26, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Yum! What a flavorful bowl of soup for a freezing winter day! Perfect!

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:41 am

      It’s really packed with flavor!

  • Reply Kate | Veggie Desserts January 26, 2017 at 11:34 am

    What a gorgeous soup. I need to get my hands on some Bonito flakes!

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:41 am

      It’s so worth it 🙂

  • Reply Angela January 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

    This soup looks fantastic, I love soups like this, so warming and comforting.

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Yeah, it’s impossible not to love them 🙂

  • Reply Platter Talk January 26, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    This soup looks so light and healthy! Great for this time of year. Is it OK if I slurp?

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:45 am

      It’s perfectly ok, my friend 😉

  • Reply Mark, CompassandFork January 26, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    I love making Japanese soups like this using some of the ingredients in your list. It is such a healthy way to eat, I love it. Nice job.

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Thanks, Mark!

  • Reply Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy January 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Your photos are stunning, and the soup looks and sounds delicious. Japanese cuisine is so flavourful. Love shiitake mushrooms.

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:48 am

      I am happy you liked it, Gloria! Japanese cuisine is truly amazing and unique 🙂

  • Reply Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen January 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Brothy soups are my favorite, and this one with such a flavorful base and so many goodies packed in is totally calling my name!

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:51 am

      You have to try it, Heather!

  • Reply Amanda January 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    I love this soup. We have a large Asian population in Miami, therefore, we have a number of really nice Asian markets. It has been a long time since I made dashi, but it is completely doable for me by substituting gluten free soy or tamari for regular soy sauce. Thanks for reminding me of this soup.

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:53 am

      You are welcome, Amanda! I wish my town would have a proper Asian market. It would be a dream come true!

  • Reply The Food Hunter January 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I’ve never heard of this but I would love to try it

    • Reply Igor February 3, 2017 at 8:53 am

      I am sure you would love it!

  • Reply Eating Adventures February 4, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Nice Photos. I love Daikon, we use it in China quite a lot, and also to make Pho.

    • Reply Igor February 6, 2017 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks!

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