Easy Traditional Japanese Clear Soup Recipe

Traditional Japanese Clear Soup Recipe | This Clear Soup with Carrot and Daikon Flowers originates from the publication, “For the Japanese Table: New & Traditional Recipes” by Lesley Downer. Usually when I make Japanese soups, I am going for the thicker, heavier ones, but this blog was so pretty, I were forced to try it. Since Regional Recipes, the monthly event hosted by my good friend Joanne of Eats Well With Others, is centered on Japan this month, the timing was perfect.

Traditional Japanese Clear Soup Recipe

Traditional Japanese Clear Soup Recipe

About soups (shirumono), in Japan, the publication says, “Soups are an essential area of the visual feast that is definitely Japanese cooking. The two main main types, clear soups, that are served at the outset of lunch, and thick soups, usually constructed with miso, served for the end.” And, “The first course to show up in a good banquet is obvious soup (suimono), a miniature flower arrangement floating in a fragile translucent broth.”

Downer says “That is a classic and exquisite clear soup, the place that the elements–noodles, white and red “flowers” and some brilliant green watercress–compliment the other person in color, texture, and taste.”

Clear Soup with Carrot and Daikon Flowers
“At the Japanese Table” by Lesley Downer
(Serves 4)


  • 4 oz egg somen noodles
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 2-inch slice daikon radish, peeled
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 5 cups Dashi–see recipe below
  • 3-4 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sake
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp mirin
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Noodles: Separate the noodles into 4 bunches and tie each bunch securely along the base with thread. To cook, bring lots of water with a rolling boil in a huge saucepan. Add the noodles, bring the into the boil, then top it track of 1/2 cup cold water. Repeat this procedure 2 or 3 times before the noodles are al dente. Rinse them in cold water, drain and hang aside.

To help with making carrot and daikon flowers: cut the carrot into a straight 3-inch cylinder. Make 5 symmetrical V-shaped cuts all the way up down the cylinder and round them off to make a petal shape. Then shut down 1/2-inch slices of carrot in making flowers. If you’d rather, it is possible to pare away part of each one petal to make a more realistic flower. Repeat while using the daikon in making 4 daikon flowers. Then simmer the carrot and daikon flowers in water or dashi until tender; drain.

Watercress: Separate watercress into bunches of 4 or 5 stalks each; shut down the long, tough stems. Blanch them in rapidly boiling water for a few seconds until wilted, then drain and hang aside.

To Cook: Bring the dashi only to the boil. Turn heat to low and season with soy sauce, sake, mirin, and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.

To Serve: Warm 4 soup bowls, then arrange a number of noodles, a carrot flower, a daikon flower, and a number of watercress in each. Carefully ladle in enough hot dashi to fill the bowls 3/4 full and serve immediately.

Iciban Dashi (Dashi 1 or Light Dashi)
(Makes 5 Cups)

1 piece (4-6 inches) dried kombu, wiped
2-3 packets (0.175 oz each) dried bonito flakes

Put 5 cups cold water in to a large saucepan, add the kombu and warmth slowly, skimming off any scum that forms for the surface. Previous to the lake boils, eliminate the kombu. Raise heat and just like the water begins to boil again, include the bonito flakes. Give an entire boil, then immediately eliminate the pan from heat and let the flakes to settle. Strain gently through muslin (do not squeeze).

This is definitely a delicate and tasty soup which makes a superb starter or is great for whenever you want something really light but comforting. Everybody there are plenty of steps but offered together easily and fairly quickly. I made my dashi stock the day before and did everything as I got looking forward to the stock to reheat together with the noodles to cook. My vegetable flower cutting skills do not win any awards–my cuts are too big and my only carrot in the drawer was small , “wonky” on the one hand, nevertheless it was fun to attempt to It is my opinion makes a pretty presentation. I would make this soup again, especially when cooking a Japanese meal (or grand banquet!) 😉

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