20 Popular Soups From Japan To Warm Up Your Soul

There are many variations on Japanese soups including popular ramen but also clear soup and soups involving udon noodles. If you are keen to create a few Japanese soups you should look to create a batch of dashi from scratch.

This can be prepared the day before and is relatively easy to do. After that, it may only take a few minutes to create a delicious soup so try to pick your favorite ingredients too as there are many to choose from. 

20 Popular Soups From Japan To Warm Up Your Soul

In this guide, we will detail 20 popular soups from Japan to warm up your soup. There will also be a bonus section dedicated to miso soups. 

1. Nabeyaki Udon

Nabeyaki Udon is a special one-pot meal that is ideal to warm up the soul during winter. It is also served and cooked in an individual clay pot which lends its name to the dish.

You can expect thick and chewy udon noodles and toppings like chicken, fish cake, or a poached egg. There are also a couple of greens including leek and spinach which bring color and nutrition to the dish. 

2. Beef Udon (Niku Udon)

Though it may sound simple, Niku Udon is a complex dish. There is a udon broth made from dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and Kosher salt. Then there is fried, thinly sliced beef with negi, more sugar, and more soy sauce.

Udon noodles are cooked then covered in the hot broth and served with the beef, green onions, mitsuba, and narutomaki for a deliciously tasty dish.

3. Kitsune Udon

In terms of iconic Japanese noodle soups, you should really try Kitsune Udon. Cooked udon noodles are prepared and then served in a bowl and then covered with a hot broth.

A lot of the flavor from the dish comes from the broth which includes dashi, sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and salt. For toppings, try narutomaki (fish cakes) and inari age (seasoned tofu) to bring some bulk to the meal. 

4. Cold Nyūmen (Sōmen Noodle Soup)

You may prefer your Japanese soup to be served cold, like this Sōmen Noodle Soup. Sōmen noodles are cooked first then rinsed in cold water.

In a serving bowl, the cold soup is made from chilled water, soy sauce, and shiro dashi. Add the noodles then add your toppings which could be prawns, green onion, or carrot slices.  

5. Japanese Dumpling Hot Pot (Gyoza Nabe)

There is a comforting notion associated with a Japanese Dumpling Hot Pot. Time is taken making the Gyoza from ground pork and potato starch with a lot of flavor coming from the sake and ginger.

Dashi is then combined with sake to then cook off shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, and nira. Serve the soup in bowls and then create a miso-vinegar dipping sauce for even more intense flavor.

6. Japanese New Year Mochi Soup (Ozoni)

To mark a new year, try a batch of Ozoni which is a Japanese Mochi Soup. The soup is created by combining sake, soy sauce, kosher salt, and that crucial ingredient which is featured in so many Japanese soups, dashi.

First though, marinade chicken pieces in sake and blanch komatsuna (though you can use spinach if that is easier to find). The chicken is boiled in the soup and then served with toasted mochi and topped with yuzu and mitsuba.

7. Okinawa Soba

A soul food well-known to Okinawans is their own Okinawa Soba. This includes noodles which are soaked in a dashi broth and served with tasty pork belly pieces.

Try to focus on preparing the stewed pork belly with a couple of tablespoons of black sugar, awamori, soy sauce, and water.

When it comes to assembling the dish, pour the pork and soup broth over noodles then add the stewed pork belly slices, fish cakes, red pickled ginger, and green onions.

8. Shoyu Ramen

A batch of Shoyu Ramen is certainly memorable and can be so rewarding, though it does come with an extensive list of ingredients.

For the chicken dashi, chicken broth is combined with shiitake mushrooms, kombu, and katsuobushi.

Perhaps most of the flavor comes from pork belly which is marinated in mirin, soy sauce, water, sake, granulated sugar, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and scallion.

You can also prepare marinated eggs using cold eggs and chashu-tare liquid. 

To assemble the ramen, slice up the prepared pork belly and pour over some of the pork-marinade over cooked and peeled eggs. You will also need a chili oil by simmering garlic then stirring in chili and sesame seeds.

Cook the ramen then drain while you warm up the broth, discarding the shiitake mushrooms, then place in a bowl with the tare and noodles.

Top it all with the marinated eggs, scallion, nitamago, chashu, and a drizzle of chili oil.  

9. Miso Ramen

A Miso Ramen may be even more flavorful as it still uses chili oil, chashu, and ramen egg. The ramen soup itself is also complemented by garlic, ginger, ground pork, and a spicy chili or broad bean sauce known as doubanjiang.

The miso also works really well with sake and a chicken broth. For toppings, you could use corn kernels, blanched bean sprouts, a sheet of nori, or red pickled ginger.

10. Shio Ramen

Another ramen that you may want to try is Shio Ramen which uses a shio-tare base from dashi, sake, mirin, and salt. The ramen soup is then made from garlic, ginger, scallions, shio-tare, torigara soup powder, and water.

Cook the ramen noodles to al dente, then drain and top with ramen soup and a range of toppings. These could include half of a boiled egg, tori hamu, corn kernels, or Naruto fish cakes.

11. Tonkotsu Ramen

For a simple yet time-consuming broth, you should create a batch of Tonkotsu Ramen. Place pork bones in a stock pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.

Remove from heat, dump the water then repeat though add mushroom slices and a halved onion but make sure that the mixture is covered by water at all times.

After 12 hours, remove the bones and keep the broth to use in a soup by adding your favorite noodles, sliced meats, and toppings. 

12. Shabu Shabu

Shabu Shabu can be really quick to prepare and you can have some in just ten minutes. Create a dipping sauce by combining equal parts of ponzu and goma dare.

Bring dashi and water to a boil while you chop up cabbage, carrot, scallion, enoki, and shiitake mushrooms.

Plate up the prepared vegetables, pork, and udon noodles then add them in order starting with carrot and cabbage then noodles, mushrooms, pork, and scallion which is important as certain ingredients take longer to cook than others. 

13. Sukiyaki

While some Japanese soup recipes are comfort foods, Sukiyaki is more of a meal to serve for guests. Here, marbled beef is seared then cooked with several vegetables and cooked in a broth with soy sauce.

For the vegetables, you could use Napa cabbage, shungiku, enoki mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms. You can even use a mix of shirataki noodles and udon noodles. 

14. Mille-Feuille Nabe

Not to be confused with the French pastry, the intricate layers of this soup come from thinly sliced pork belly, and green onion.

The pork belly slices are placed between Napa cabbage leaves which are then packed tightly in a pot.

A soup comes by combining dashi, sake, soy sauce, ginger, and Kosher salt. The dish is served hot with Japanese seven spice (shichimi togarashi) in a dipping sauce with ponzu.  

15. Japanese Clear Soup

Japanese Clear Soup is a particularly soothing comfort food that looks so good on the eye though it may be called Japanese Onion Soup or Miyabi Soup.

Sear the vegetables, garlic, and ginger in the pot then pour in beef broth, chicken broth, and water then bring to a boil. Simmer, remove the vegetables then ladle into bowls with sliced mushrooms. 

16. Japanese Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is a nourishing dish, especially during winter. It may only take ten minutes to create as boneless, skinless chicken thigh is cooked with Dashi, soy sauce, sake, and salt.

Once the soup is hot and at the desired consistency, serve it with sliced green onions. 

17. Japanese Enoki And Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Be careful when cutting the enoki and shiitake mushrooms as you want to use the caps of the shiitake mushrooms and the bottom part of the enoki mushrooms need to be removed.

Sauté the mushrooms and, once tender, add chicken broth, noodles, and green onions. Make sure that you season the soup and add the desired flavor with sake, soy sauce, and salt.

18. Japanese Vegetable Soup (Kenchinjiru)

Kenchinjiru is a clear Japanese soup which is cooked with root vegetables. You could even create a vegan version using tofu, carrot, daikon radish, taro, konnyaku, and gobo.

Those vegetables are fried and then shiitake mushrooms are added with tofu then dashi before being brought to the boil.

The water is exchanged to keep it clear before sake and salt are added with soy sauce once the vegetables are tender.

19. Corn Potage

Though it may not appear or seem strictly Japanese, Corn Potage is definitely one to try as it is so easy to create. Simply cook corn cobs in boiling water, cut off the kernels and blitz with soy milk in a food processor.

Once creamy, pour through a fine-mesh sieve and serve either at room temperature or cold from the refrigerator. 

20. Japanese Soup Stock (Awase Dashi)

Finally, you should learn how to make the soup stock from scratch so you can create your own tasty Japanese soup. Create some slits in a piece of kombu which is dried kelp to help release the flavor.

Allow the kombu to steep in water then bring almost to the boil and remove any foam before removing the kombu and adding katsuobushi to return to the boil.

Pour it through a fine-mesh sieve and then store.

Bonus Section: Miso Soups

Miso soup is one of the staple dishes of Japanese cuisine and there are several miso soups to create. You can make your own at home and create your own flavor variations. 

Pork And Vegetable Miso Soup (Tonjiru)

This Japanese soup is also called butajiru and is loaded with fiber, minerals, and B vitamins for a nourishing meal. Find yourself some sliced pork belly and you may want to use some pork loin too.

Make sure that the gobo and taro are prepared well too so you get all the flavor but none of the dirt. Be gentle with the pork too as you do not want to overcook it to become chewy as this is such a balanced, tender dish.

Vegan Miso Soup

For a vegan take on miso soup, create dashi from kombu, water, and shiitake mushrooms. When creating the soup, use the broth with white or yellow miso paste, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.

The vegetables are important too, including scallions, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy greens. To top it all off, tofu is added right at the end.

Homemade Miso Soup

In just 20 minutes, you can make your own batch of miso soup. You will still need to prep the dashi in advance with water, kombu, and katsuobushi.

Add a tablespoon of miso for every cup of dashi though you may want to discard the rice koji or keep it in. Add cubed tofu to the soup then dried wakame seaweed and reheat until just right. 

Are there any traditional Greek soups that are similar to Japanese soups?

With its rich culinary history, traditional greek soups offer a distinct taste and warmth. However, when it comes to similarities with Japanese soups, there are a few contenders. One such soup is Avgolemono, a classic Greek dish that shares resemblances with Japanese soups due to its citrusy flavor and use of eggs as a thickening agent. This hearty and tangy soup stands as a culinary bridge between the two cultures.

Are There Any Mexican Salad Recipes That Incorporate Japanese Soup Ingredients?

Looking for easy mexican salad recipes you need? Believe it or not, there are ways to incorporate Japanese soup ingredients into your Mexican salad creation. Experiment with ingredients like miso, tofu, seaweed, or even ponzu dressing to add a unique twist to your salad.

Final Thoughts

Should you need a flavorful meal to warm up your soul then you should look to Japan. That could mean a complex ramen with a range of toppings or just a simple miso soup.

If you want an authentic, homemade take on Japanese soup then create your own dashi from scratch which should be prepared the day before but can be stored in the refrigerator.

Whichever Japanese soup you decide to make, ensure that you prepare the vegetables properly and take your time over it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Most Popular Japanese Soup?

Perhaps for its simplicity, or maybe its versatility, but the most popular Japanese soup tends to be Miso Soup. Some even call it one of Japan’s staple dishes so you should try to find some miso paste to make your own batch.

What Can You Use As The Base For A Japanese Soup?

A lot of Japanese soups use dashi as the base which you can make yourself. Another soup base is known as Mentsuyu and is typically used in udon and soba noodle dishes.

The base is made from mirin, sake, kombu, soy sauce, and katsuobushi which are dried bonito flakes.

20 Popular Soups From Japan To Warm Up Your Soul

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