Suimono (Clear Soup) (吸い物)

Suimono is a kind of soup of Japanese cuisine consisting of suiji (soup stock flavored with soy sauce and salt), wandane (a main, solid ingredient), tsuma (a garnish lending a touch of color), suikuchi (a fragrant garnish) and so forth. It is served in a lacquer bowl. It is also called 'sumashijiru' or 'otsuyu'. Originally, "suimono" is an accompaniment to a drink while "shiru" including sumashijiru is served with boiled rice; however, they are often confused with each other.

The taste of suimono depends on the soup stock; therefore, it is more important than anything else to prepare good soup stock. Having a light, simple taste, suimono is also served on a formal occasion when a Japanese-style meal is served.

It does not leave a salty aftertaste if cooked with slightly light seasoning,
In Japan, many kinds of instant suimono are on the market; moreover, suimono accompanies sushi, etc. delivered to order.


A main, solid ingredient of suimono is called wandane. When using raw animal food such as fish, shellfish and chicken, it is necessary to boil it without fail to solidify water-soluble protein and thereby to prevent it from dissolving in water; otherwise, the stock will become cloudy and unpleasing to the eye.

Sea bream

Soft roe


Asiatic hard shelled clam

Surf clam


Awabi (abalone)


Tofu (bean curd)

Dried bean curds

Thin noodles



Eel liver: Clear soup with eel liver is specifically called 'kimosui'.

Sea eel


Hanpen (a cake of ground fish combined with starch and steamed)

Fu (breadlike pieces of wheat gluten)

Steamed egg custard


Tsuma makes wandane look better and lends a touch of bright color. Select a food material with a pleasant mouth-feel that does not make the stock cloudy.

Udo salad: Udo salad cut into rectangles or shaped into a twist may be used.

Mitsuba (Japanese honewort): Mitsuba with its stems tied into a bundle may be used.

Nameko mushroom: Nameko mushroom may be parboiled, beforehand, for the removal of slime.

Water shield: Water shield given a preparatory boil may be used.

Brassica Rapa (a kind of Chinese cabbage): Brassica Rapa cut after being boiled in salty water may be used.

Daikon (Japanese radish): Daikon cut into rectangles may be used.

Suizenjinori (freshwater blue-green alga whose scientific name is Aphanothece sacrum): Suizenjinori soaked in water may be used.

Shiitake mushroom: Shiitake mushroom boiled beforehand may be used.

Wakame seaweed: Wakame seaweed soaked in water beforehand may be used.


A fragrant food material is used as suikuchi. Suikuchi should be added to suiji immediately before the lid is put on a bowl so that its fragrance will not fade.

Yuzu (aromatic citron): Grated rind of yuzu may be used.

Young leaf of the Japanese pepper tree: One leaf may be floated on suiji in a bowl.

Wasabi (Japanese horseradish): A touch of grated wasabi may be added to suiji in a bowl.

Ginger: Either thinly sliced ginger or ginger juice may be used according to circumstances.

Mioga ginger: Mioga ginger cut in round slices and soaked in water beforehand may be used.

Yuzu kosho (a spicy, hot Japanese condiment made from yuzu rind, chili, and salt): A touch of Yuzu Kosho may be added to suiji in a bowl.

Shichimi togarashi (a mixture of red cayenne pepper and other aromatic spices): A touch of shichimi togarashi may be added to suiji in a bowl.


Soup stock colored and flavored with soy sauce, salt, and other seasoning is called 'suiji.'
Suiji is also called 'suiji happo' (literally, all-purpose soup stock) in that its taste matches well with any solid ingredient; however, 'suiji happo' refers in some cases to soup stock seasoned somewhat strongly that is used to season wandane.

[Original Japanese]