Kanako's Kitchen

Osuimono: Clear Broth with Fish

Posted in Recipe, soup, suimono, today's meal by Kanako Noda on October 18, 2009

osuimonoOsuimono is the other basic Japanese soup: the main alternative to miso soup when you’re making 1 soup-1 dish. At its best, osuimono is a very light broth: it should never be weighed down with too many ingredients, too much salt or – and this is a common mistake – too much soy sauce.

The basic ingredients are water, dashi, soy sauce and sake, but there’s a lot of room for variation with what you put into it. Dropping a beaten egg in it, for instance, works wonderfully. For this recipe, however, I used a filet of sole, some spring onion and lime rinds.

In Japan, I would use sea bream rather than sole, but we’re having trouble finding sea bream in Montreal, and frozen sole filets work well like this. Also, in Japan I would use yuzu rinds – which are soft enough to eat – rather than lime rinds – which you have to discard before serving. Living so far from home, you have to make some compromises.

Ingredients (for two)

for the broth

  • Water – 1.5 cups
  • Dashi – ¾ of a teaspoon
  • Soy sauce – ½ a teaspoon
  • Sake – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – just a pinch (less than ½ a teaspoon)
  • Konbu – one small section*

*For standard clear broth you can skip the konbu, but for this recipe with fish, it’d be better to add a bit.

  • ingredientSole – 1 filet
  • Spring onion – one
  • Lime rind – one small section


  • Cut sole filet into chopstick-friendly squares and salt it very lightly
  • Peel a bit of rind off of a lime
  • cut soleSlice spring onion in very thin


Make the broth

  1. Add konbu to 1.5 cups of cool water and bring to a boil
    (When you don’t have konbu, just boil the water)
  2. Add dashi
  3. Add sake, salt and soysauce and bring to a boil again
  4. Set fire on low and put on a back-burner
  5. Add lime rind

*For simple osuimono, steps 1 to 4 are all you need.

Prepare fish and finish

  1. Heat a non-stick pan – without adding oil – over a medium flame
  2. Lightly grill the sole filet pieces on the pan for a few minute on each side until it gets a little bit of color (handle the fish carefully to keep the segments from coming apart)
  3. Place grilled fish in the bottom of a large soup bowl and sprinkle spring onions on top of it
  4. Pick out the konbu and the lime rind, discard
  5. Ladle the broth onto the bowls over the fish

boil the water and add dashi Add lime rind grill the sole filet pieces

Sole gets a little bit of color Place grilled fish and put spring onions on top of it add broth

Serve up as soup in 1 soup-1 dish.

For today’s lunch we had osuimono, daikon-no nimono and a bowl of takikomi gohan, which is still going strong from the other night’s dinner.


18th dinnerItadakimasu!

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8 Responses

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  1. Jonny said, on March 7, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Those dull colours make it look like hospital/prison food!

    Sorry, Japanese food is largely bland in taste and colour. It’s not even particularly healthy – check out the stats for stomach cancer and diabetes due to the salty/sweet nature of most of the dishes.

    You’re living in Montreal, why not enjoy all the fabulously tasty French-inspired cuisine?

    • mana said, on May 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Different folks for different strokes, friend. They should eat whatever food they want, perhaps their palate is different from yours? If you like french-inspired cuisine, then you should eat it. If you like japanese food, eat it. If you don’t like japanese food, don’t. Don’t tell someone what they should eat because YOU don’t like it.

    • Isabella said, on June 2, 2014 at 4:15 am

      Oh my god! Who do you think you are? Are you some kind of gourmet nazi, or what?
      You can’t just poop like that in another person’s blog.

    • danny said, on October 30, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      They look dull because its not exactly the best example, rather i agree this one looks bland and like prison food. But really what you said kind of shows you don’t really know what real Japanese food is like, much less any health related stuff. Theres a reason why japan surpasses any country with the highest proportion of centenarians. Also it should not be bland unless your taste buds are already out of whack.

    • I-wrote-this said, on September 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Did you know that eating “bland” food means you eat less and therefore you don’t risk gaining weight? Perhaps japanese people get stomach cancer not because of their traditional diet, but because of the fast foods.
      And as far as i’ve sen, most japanese dishes look anything but “bland” or like hospital/ prison food. Did you even consider that maybe the light were bad? or the camera, angle? pffffft. Not everyone can take good pictures, you know? and that is fine!

    • Hien Nguyen said, on September 24, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      I don’t think the food looks like hospital/prison food at all. It looks yummy too me, just different from what Westerners are used to. I’m from Vietnam and we even have vegetable soup, we simply boil the vegetables, keep the water, add salt and lemon, and we still appreciate the taste of it. Just because you’re not used to seeing/eating this kind of food doesn’t mean you can go on to other person’s blog and write nasty things like this.

      Kanako-san, I know you’re busy with the new addition to your family, but I’m still looking forward to your new posts. Thank you for the inspiring recipes! 🙂

    • Captainr9k said, on October 18, 2016 at 11:07 pm

      I don’t think it’s fair to comment solely upon the color of the food (especially in a picture). There are certain foods that should look at certain way when prepared, but that’s typically a food safety/best possible product standard that cooks can use as a barometer. Example, my boyfriend didn’t realize that the way I cook tuna is technically correct for preservation of texture and flavor, he simply saw pink in the middle, put it in the microwave, and acted on decades of food safety instinct from handling copius amounts of poultry and pork. If your point is to enjoy French-inspired cuisine and you’ve attempted to make that point by being completely ignorant of Japanese-inspired cuisine, shame on you. Let people enjoy things. You’re effectively saying “I haven’t tried this soup you made, but you know what? I operate on toddler logic. Unfamiliar foods? IMMEDIATELY HATE THEM.” I’m sure everyone else in this thread that is irritated by your general rudeness has already said everything I would very much like to say about this garbage comment you posted.

  2. I-wrote-this said, on September 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    thanks for this recipe. 🙂

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