Soup is an important part of most Japanese meals.Clear soup (osumashi) is usually served at the beginning of a meal. This delicately flavored soup can be varied by the addition of many different kinds of garnishes. The slightly thicker, sweeter soups flavored with red or white soybean paste (misoshiru) are generally served toward the end of a formal Japanese meal. Both kinds of soups can be made with dashinomoto, a powdered soup base available at specialty grocery stores.


Basic clear soup (left).eggdrop soup(top).bean paste soup(right)accompany many Japanese meals.

Basic Clear Soup/Osumashi

3c. water
1 heaping tsp. dashinomoto
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
4 mushroom slices for garnish
chopped chives for garnish

1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.

2. Stir in dashinomoto, salt, and soy sauce.

3. Remove immediately from heat. Pour into 4 small bowls and garnish each with a mushroom slice and a pinch of chives.

Preparation time: 10 minutes


Cooking time: 2 minutes


Serves 4


Eggdrop Soup/Tamago Toji


1 egg
2 tbsp. scallions, finely chopped
3 c. basic clear soup (see recipe above)

1. Beat egg and scallions together in a small bowl.

2. In a saucepan, bring basic clear soup to a boil.* Swirl egg mixture around the inside of the pan in a small stream, making a circle.

3. Remove soup from heat and pour into 4 small bowls to serve.

Preparation time: 5 to 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 to 10 minutes
Serves 4

*Try adding a couple of sliced mushrooms or a few snow peas to this soup for a special taste treat. Simply add the extra veggies to the basic clear soup a minute or two before the boiling point.

Bean Paste Soup /Misoshiru

3c. water
2 tbsp. dashinomoto
1/2 c. miso*
1/2 c. cubed tofu
2 scallions, chopped into thin rounds for garnish

1. In a saucepan,bring water to a boil and stir in dashinomoto and miso.

2. Add tofu and bring mixture to a boil again.

3. Remove from heat, pour into 4 small bowls, and garnish with scallions.

Preparation time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves 4

*Miso is available in a variety of colors, from creamy white to red or dark brown. A yellow or golden-colored miso is the most common and can be used for the recipes . However, each variety has its own distinct flavor, and as you continue to explore Japanese cooking you may want to experiment with different types of miso.