7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!

I’m an avid cook, with an interest in languages, so the subject of Japanese soups got me thinking. The kanji 汁 can be read as ‘shiru’ or ‘jiru’, depending on the context, and is usually translated as ‘soup’. But ‘jiru’ can also mean ‘juice’ ? everything from lemon juice to the juice from a can of tuna is ‘jiru’. Isn’t language fun! Maybe we adopted the word ‘soup’ as a kind of linguistic convenience. Certainly, Japanese soups are not prepared the same way as Western soups, nor are they served and consumed in the same way. However, let’s not get pedantic about semantics… ‘soup’ is as good a word as any, so here are seven delicious Japanese soups you should try.



 

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!

 

1. Miso-shiru

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!misoshiru

Of all the Japanese soups, miso-shiru is the most widely consumed and has an important place in the Japanese diet. It also aptly demonstrates the Japanese soup etiquette, so I will deal with it in length.Miso-shiru is served with just about every Japanese meal… dinner, lunch and even breakfast! There are no starters or main courses in Japan; every dish arrives at the table at more or less the same time.

 

2. Osuimono

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!osuimono

I mentioned powdered dashi before, but real dashi is actually a broth made from kombu (edible kelp) and katsuobushi (cured tuna) and the strained liquid forms the base for many Japanese soups and broths. Osuimono refers to a class of simple, clear soups of a more delicate nature than miso-based soups, as befits the subtle Japanese aesthetic.

 

3. Egg-drop Soup

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!Egg-drop Soup

This is an example of osuimono. Lightly beaten egg is swirled into a clear dashi broth containing wakame to make a classic egg-drop soup that is light and delicious.

 

4. Tonjiru or Butajiru

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!tonjiru

Tnjiru is Japan’s hearty soup. Made by stewing sliced pork with vegetables in a dashi broth, then adding miso-paste, this robust soup has long been a favourite with skiers in Nagano.

 

5. Satsuma-jiru

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!Satsuma-jiru

Similar to tonjiru, this warming miso soup uses chicken or pork but gets its real character, and its name, from sweet potato which adds body and sweetness that is ideal in winter.

 

6. Shottsuru-jiru

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!Shottsuru-jiru

Shottsuru is a seasoning from Akita made from sailfin sandfish. As a soup, the shottsuru broth contains vegetables and poached sandfish. This soup offers a unique taste experience.

 

7. Unagi no Kimosui

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!Unagi no Kimosui

Unagi (grilled eel) is very popular in Japan, especially at the start of summer. Unagi no Kimosui, or eel liver soup, might not sound very appetizing, but it is absolutely delicious. A clear soup is made from the head and bones of the eel and the liver is cooked in this. Treat the liver like the worm in tequila and swallow it whole! Unagi liver contains many nutrients for sustaining stamina or recovering from fatigue.

 

Conclusion

Are Japanese soups healthy? Many might balk at the high salt content of miso, or point out that its vitamin B12 content is debatable, but this all misses an important point: that Japanese cuisine is as much about balance and harmony as is our cultural aesthetic. Many people still eat rice and miso-shiru three times a day, yet Japan has one of the lowest rates of heart disease and obesity in the world, as well as the highest life expectancy, so we must be doing something right!

 

7 Japanese Soups recommended for your health!

1. Miso-shiru
2. Osuimono
3. Egg-drop Soup
4. Tonjiru or Butajiru
5. Satsuma-jiru
6. Shottsuru-jiru
7. Unagi no Kimosui