Miso Soup with Sardine Fish Balls (いわしのつみれ汁; iwashi no tsumire jiru)

Sardine fish balls are nutritious and full of umami. When matched with the sweetness of Chinese cabbage, you've got a delicious miso soup that's nothing short of culinary magic!

Miso Soup with Sardine Fish Balls (いわしのつみれ汁; iwashi no tsumire jiru)
Photographed by Hideo Sawai


Recipe by
Yoshiharu Doi

Difficult

Seafood

Vegetables

Soups & Stews

270kcal

30minutes

Calorie count is per serving.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 5 sardines (large) (500 g)
  • [A]

    • 20 g ginger (grated; unpeeled)
    • 25 g red miso
    • 3 tbsp flour
    • As needed sansho pepper
  • 250 g Chinese cabbage
  • 1 Japanese leek
  • 1 konbu kelp (8 cm square)
  • Sansho pepper, to taste
  • 30 g miso
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Directions

1

Scrape off the scales from the sardines with a knife. Cut off the heads and slice open the bellies. Scrape out the guts and wash under running water. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Advice

Before preparing the sardines, cover the chopping board with paper to easily dispose of the guts. Wash away all traces of blood and entrails.

2

Chop the Chinese cabbage into easy-to-eat pieces. Cut the leek diagonally into 2 cm slices.

3

Thinly slice the sardines, starting from the head end, then finely chop.

4

Put the chopped sardines into a suribachi grinding bowl and grind thoroughly. Combine [A] in the order in which the ingredients are listed and grind to a smooth paste.

5

Pour 800 ml of water into a pot, add the konbu and place over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, add the Chinese cabbage. When it returns to a boil, use a spoon to form the sardine paste into bite-size balls and gently add to the soup.

6

Simmer briefly and skim off the surface scum. Add the leek and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Advice

There's no need to remove the konbu.

7

Dissolve the miso and simmer for another 2-3 minutes to allow the ingredients to absorb the miso flavor. Drizzle the sesame oil in a circular motion just before serving. Pour into individual bowls and sprinkle with sansho pepper to taste.

Tips

[What is a suribachi?]
A suribachi is equivalent to a mortar. Japanese mortars have radial patterned dents on the inner side to grind ingredients or make paste.