Japanese cuisine is quite unique and incorporates a variety of flavors. This is also seen in the different soups that are traditionally prepared all over Japan. However, people who are unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine might find it difficult to navigate through the large number of options available. This guide explains the different categories of Japanese soups and the ingredients they contain. For times when you want to eat something healthy as well as delicious, and want to explore Japanese food, these options are perfect.
Japanese soups are known as shirumono and they are cooked by using dashi broth as base. They include a variety of ingredients such as fish, seaweed, prawns, shellfish, tofu and vegetables. They are of two types- miso soups and clear soups.
These are also known as clear soups. To make these soups, salt and soy sauce is added to dashi. Flavorful ingredients such as fish and clam are used. First, the ingredients are placed in a bowl, then hot stock is poured over them and then something aromatic is added to provide more flavor.
This is a stock, which is used as a base for making a variety of soups, such as miso soups and noodle soups. It is made by heating water and kelp, along with fish such as anchovies or sardines. Shitake mushrooms are also used sometimes.
To make these soups, dashi is mixed with miso paste. To make these soups more nutritious and filling, other ingredients such as tofu, seaweed and seasonal vegetables are also added. Instant varieties of miso soup are also widely available.
It is a very rich and flavorful paste which is made by fermenting soybeans. If they are fermented for a short period of time, it forms white miso which gives a light and sweet taste. However, if the fermentation takes place for a long time, red miso is formed. This is tangy and salty in taste, and more flavorful. Mixed pastes are also available.
This is similar to miso soup. However, pork and vegetables are added to it along with the other ingredients. The vegetables commonly added include carrots, potatoes, spring onions etc. Because of this, it is more substantial and flavorful.
These soups have several regional varieties that have different toppings and use different kinds of noodles. Ramen which makes use of egg noodles and is served with boiled egg, pork, bamboo shoots and seaweed is extremely popular. Udon soups use thick wheat noodles, while soba soups make use of thin buckwheat ones.
This is a vegetable soup, which uses root vegetables such as carrots and tofu. The stock for this is also prepared by using mushrooms and seaweed. It originated as a part of the diet of Buddhist monks. It is a very good option for vegetarians and vegans who want to try Japanese cuisine.
This is traditionally consumed on the Japanese New Year’s Day. It is considered to be a very important and auspicious dish. The main ingredient is mochi rice cakes, which are added to a stock. Chicken, fish, meatballs and leafy vegetables are also commonly added.
This soup is generally served to those who are unwell or recovering from illness. It is mild in flavor and is made by mixing rice and water with soy sauce or miso. The other ingredients which can be added include meat, mushrooms and vegetables.
This is a specialty of the Ainu people. It does not include miso or soy sauce. It is flavored by fish, meat or animal bones. Seaweed and vegetables are also commonly added to this soup.
This soup comes in a large number of varieties, and it can be sweet as well as savory. It is most commonly prepared with the help of taro root and meat. Soy sauce is also added. It is a popular outdoor food.