What is Osuimono (Japanese Clear Soup)?
Osuimono (お吸い物) is a Japanese dashi-based clear soup dish that is seasoned with soy sauce and salt.
Incidentally, this type of soup is sometimes referred to as Sumashi-jiru, but the difference is that Sumashi-jiru does not emphasize on enjoying the ingredients (so often very plain and minimal ingredients). On the other hand, Osuimono is a dish in which the ingredients, as well as the broth, are enjoyed equally.
Strictly speaking, Osuimono uniquely consists of three types of ingredients:
- Wandane (椀種): ingredients such as meat, seafood, tofu, and fish cakes.
- Tsuma (つま): vegetables and seaweed that complement the bowl.
- Suikuchi (吸口): Japanese wild parsley (mitsuba), yuzu citrus, Japanese ginger (myoga), and green onions that enhance the aroma.
In this recipe, kamaboko is the Wandane, shiitake mushrooms are the Tsuma, and mitsuba and yuzu are the Suikuchi. Therefore, it is more appropriate to call it Osuimono than Sumashi-jiru.
But it’s just a technicality in Japanese; in English, both Osuimono and Sumachi-jiru can be called clear soup.
How I Developed This Recipe
When creating a Japanese clear soup recipe, I debated between Osuimono and Sumashi-jiru. While both are considered clear soups, I felt a soup with fewer ingredients would better embody the essence of a ‘clear soup.’
My personal preference leans towards a soup with ingredients, so I followed that inclination, but I made sure that the soup itself was as clear and simple as possible, reflecting traditional Japanese transparent aesthetics.
If you’re looking to make an authentic clear soup, I encourage you to try making this at home, embracing its simplicity and purity of flavor!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Dashi Broth: The quality of dashi is crucial for a clear soup. For the best flavor, I recommend homemade katsuo dashi, awase dashi, or vegan dashi. However, instant dashi granules or packets are acceptable alternatives if you’re short on time.
- Salt: High-quality sea salt is recommended. Its purity enhances the dish’s flavor subtly without being overpowering.
- Light & Dark Soy Sauce: A combination of two soy sauces is preferred for this recipe, as dark soy sauce alone can cloud the soup’s appearance. For more details on the differences, check out my soy sauce guide.
- Sake: Only a small amount is needed. If you don’t have sake, it’s okay to omit it from the recipe.
- Yuzu: I use yuzu peels primarily for their aesthetic appeal and aroma. They add a refreshing touch to the dish.
- Toppings: Garnish with kamaboko fish cakes, mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley), fu (dried wheat gluten), and shiitake mushrooms. These toppings add both flavor, texture diversity to the soup as well as improve the presentation and make the dish more colorful.
Curious about the exact brands and products that bring my recipes to life? Discover the brands and ingredients behind my recipes at the Sudachi Amazon Storefront. Explore my handpicked pantry essentials and find your next kitchen favorites!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Osuimono at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
First, let’s make our soup base. Grab a saucepan and add dashi, sake, and shiitake mushrooms. Turn the heat to medium and let it heat up until it’s just about to boil.
This is the perfect way to gently cook the shiitake mushrooms. Once it’s on the verge of boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the shiitake for 3 minutes before turning off the heat.
Now, stir in light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and salt.
Before we pour the soup, let’s prepare our bowls. Place the shiitake mushrooms, slices of kamaboko fish cake, and fu in the bowl. I like to arrange them neatly beforehand for a nice presentation.
Finally, carefully pour the hot soup into the bowl. To finish, sprinkle mitsuba and thinly sliced yuzu peel on top. These add a fresh, zesty aroma to the dish.
Enjoy as a side soup with a variety of Japanese dishes!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
Clear soup is a dish where the dashi broth is the main component, and we savor dashi’s aroma and flavor. Thus, it’s essential to use high-quality dashi to prepare clear soup. On the other hand, miso soup is a soup flavored with miso paste, made by dissolving miso in dashi broth created from bonito flakes, kelp, dried sardines, and other ingredients.
The white stuff on the surface of the clear soup is dried wheat gluten, known as “fu (麩)” in Japanese. There are several varieties of fu, ranging from simple white to colorful ones.
The term “clear soup” in English generally refers to Sumashi-jiru (すまし汁) or Osuimono (お吸いもの) which are two types of clear soup with subtle differences in ingredients.
I hope you enjoy this Japanese Clear Soup recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Japanese Soup Recipes
- Chicken Miso Soup (Torijiru)
- Ozoni (New Year’s Soup with Mochi)
- Corn Potage (Japanese Corn Soup)
- Kenchin Jiru (Traditional Japanese Vegetable Soup)
Want more inspiration? Explore my Japanese Soup Roundup Post for a carefully selected collection of tasty recipe ideas to spark your next meal!
Japanese Clear Soup (Osuimono)
- Pour 500 ml dashi stock into a pot and add ¼ tsp sake and 3 fresh shiitake mushroom(s). Heat over medium and once the dashi is on the verge of boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes before turning off the heat.
- Add 1 tsp light soy sauce, ½ tsp dark soy sauce and ½ tsp salt, and mix.
- Take your serving bowls and add 2 slices of kamaboko, 1 cooked shiitake mushroom and a few pieces of dried wheat gluten to each bowl.
- Carefully divide the soup between serving bowls and garnish with yuzu peel and Japanese wild parsley.