Creamy Salmon Miso Soup (Sake No To-nyu Jiru)

Ton-nyu jiru

With feathery blooms peaking out from their wintered bark, and allergens aloft in the cool air, spring is rapidly approaching. Perhaps this change of season is the culprit behind my chef’s block the past week. Half of me isn’t quite ready to let go of the robust, slow-cooked dishes of winter, yet the other half is lamenting the fact that the farmers markets aren’t abound with the bounties of spring.

This rich, velvety soup is reminiscent of a New England clam chowder in its creaminess, yet it doesn’t contain a drop of dairy. Its lush texture and earthy aroma come from the soy milk and miso broth, while big chunks of salmon belly add the fat that will have you convinced this soup is brimming with butter and cream.

Salmon soymilk soup

Served with a bowl of rice, or a thick crusty baguette, this hearty blond stew will take the chill off even the coldest day. I really like the melt-in-your mouth tenderness and the extra oil that salmon belly lends to the soup, but if you want a lighter version, it would also work well with a less fatty cut of salmon; just be sure to adjust the cooking time.

Leftovers can either be reheated or turned into a porridge by adding some cooked rice to the soup and cooking until the rice is very soft.

1 qt soy milk
1/4 C katsuobushi
4″ sheet kombu
3 small carrots cut into chunks
3 small turnips cut into 6 wedges
3 Tbs white miso
1 Tbs sugar (omit if there is sugar in the soymilk)
1/2 lbs salmon belly cut into square pieces
2 scallions sliced thin
salt to taste

Put the bonito flakes in a disposible tea bag, or a double layer of cheese cloth and tie with twine. If you don’t have either, you can steep it in the soy milk, but you will need to strain it out.

Add the soymilk, bonito satchel and the kombu into a pot, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the kombu and satchel then add the carrots and turnips. Cover and maintain a gentle simmer until they are tender.

Laddle some of the soymilk into a bowl and whisk in the miso and sugar to dissolve. Pour this mixture back into the soup and salt to taste. Add the salmon belly and cook for about 10-15 minutes; because it has a very high fat content, salmon belly benefits from the extra cooking time. If you are using regular salmon, you only need to cook it for a few minutes, otherwise it will get dry.

Add the scallions and serve with rice or crusty bread.

  • http://www.recipegirl.com/blog RecipeGirl

    This looks really, really good… even though it’s quite sunny outside today!

  • http://www.recipegirl.com/blog RecipeGirl

    This looks really, really good… even though it’s quite sunny outside today!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    That looks like heaven in a bowl. Interesting, too, with the addition of soy milk. Could one use regular milk? Or do you think the taste and texture are better with the soy version instead?

    • marc

      Good question, I’ve never tried it with milk, but the soy milk does add a little something. Let me know if you try it with milk.

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    That looks like heaven in a bowl. Interesting, too, with the addition of soy milk. Could one use regular milk? Or do you think the taste and texture are better with the soy version instead?

    • marc

      Good question, I’ve never tried it with milk, but the soy milk does add a little something. Let me know if you try it with milk.

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ chef E

    I love the froth on the soup…just saw this on Gordon Ramsey and thought about trying it sometime, I have been eating soup like this since Thursday…allergies got me!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com chef E

    I love the froth on the soup…just saw this on Gordon Ramsey and thought about trying it sometime, I have been eating soup like this since Thursday…allergies got me!

  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.blogspot.com/ Gina

    It looks beautiful. It has never occurred to me to use just the salmon belly in a recipe. I love that fatty part of the fish, too. Thanks for the idea!

  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.blogspot.com Gina

    It looks beautiful. It has never occurred to me to use just the salmon belly in a recipe. I love that fatty part of the fish, too. Thanks for the idea!

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    The air here is positively yellow; I know what you mean about the allergens. And I seem to still be in braising mode myself. This soup might just inspire me to cut loose. It’s kind of like a step down program from winter meals to spring meals. It’s the Culinary version of Nicoderm CQ;)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    The air here is positively yellow; I know what you mean about the allergens. And I seem to still be in braising mode myself. This soup might just inspire me to cut loose. It’s kind of like a step down program from winter meals to spring meals. It’s the Culinary version of Nicoderm CQ;)

  • http://chefholly.typepad.com/holly_hadsell_el_hajji/ Holly

    My kids love miso soup, it is my go to dish when they are starving (a word I hear a lot) and my picky middle one will eat salmon so this recipe is going to be used. I use soy milk in soups a lot for my vegan client and it works great. Is this a traditional Japanese soup? BTW have you seen Elizabeth Andoe’s book?

    • marc

      Hi Holly, This isn’t a “traditional” dish, but it’s kind of a cross between two traditional soups: To-nyu Nabe (soy milk hot pot) and Sake Jiru (salmon soup). As for Elizabeth Ando, I’ve heard of her cooking workshops but wasn’t aware she had a book.

  • http://chefholly.typepad.com/holly_hadsell_el_hajji/ Holly

    My kids love miso soup, it is my go to dish when they are starving (a word I hear a lot) and my picky middle one will eat salmon so this recipe is going to be used. I use soy milk in soups a lot for my vegan client and it works great. Is this a traditional Japanese soup? BTW have you seen Elizabeth Andoe’s book?

    • marc

      Hi Holly, This isn’t a “traditional” dish, but it’s kind of a cross between two traditional soups: To-nyu Nabe (soy milk hot pot) and Sake Jiru (salmon soup). As for Elizabeth Ando, I’ve heard of her cooking workshops but wasn’t aware she had a book.

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/ _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    Oh, I hadn’t thought of adding soy milk to miso! Will have to try this one!

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    Oh, I hadn’t thought of adding soy milk to miso! Will have to try this one!

  • http://noobcook.com/ noobcook

    Love the idea of adding soy milk, how creative! ^^

  • http://noobcook.com noobcook

    Love the idea of adding soy milk, how creative! ^^

  • http://www.bouchonfor2.com/ Mel

    Soy milk and fermented soybeans. What an innovative idea. I must try this soon. mmm :)

  • http://www.bouchonfor2.com/ Mel

    Soy milk and fermented soybeans. What an innovative idea. I must try this soon. mmm :)

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/ Kalyn

    Sounds fantastic. I know what you mean about making the transition from winter cooking. Always love to see spring come, but I love cooking soups and stews!

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Sounds fantastic. I know what you mean about making the transition from winter cooking. Always love to see spring come, but I love cooking soups and stews!

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    I’m so with you on the bumpy transition between seasons. I’m bridging the gap with fennel and beet salads, but I’ll really be in business when the favas start showing up in the markets.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    I’m so with you on the bumpy transition between seasons. I’m bridging the gap with fennel and beet salads, but I’ll really be in business when the favas start showing up in the markets.

  • Kirby!

    This soup looks really good!! I’m wondering if I can use some other type of seaweed besides kombu and get similar results?

    • marc

      Most seaweeds (hijiki, wakame, nori, etc) don’t have a high concentration for glutimates (the compound that gives dashi it’s good flavour), so unless the seaweed is meant for making stock, that’s one thing I wouldn’t substitute. That said, you could probably get away with just using the bonito or using shiitake mushrooms instead (though the flavour will be different).

  • http://http//kirbyvonscrumptious.blogspot.com Kirby!

    This soup looks really good!! I’m wondering if I can use some other type of seaweed besides kombu and get similar results?

    • marc

      Most seaweeds (hijiki, wakame, nori, etc) don’t have a high concentration for glutimates (the compound that gives dashi it’s good flavour), so unless the seaweed is meant for making stock, that’s one thing I wouldn’t substitute. That said, you could probably get away with just using the bonito or using shiitake mushrooms instead (though the flavour will be different).

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    thank you for this recipe marc! just the other day i was wondering if i could add double cream to miso soup for a chowder-like soup…thankfully i didn’t do it because i bet it would have gone very wrong. loving this though :) x

    p/s. feel the same way about leaving winter behind for spring. as much as i like the sun and the impending warm weather, i’m an autumn/winter girl deep down.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    thank you for this recipe marc! just the other day i was wondering if i could add double cream to miso soup for a chowder-like soup…thankfully i didn’t do it because i bet it would have gone very wrong. loving this though :) x

    p/s. feel the same way about leaving winter behind for spring. as much as i like the sun and the impending warm weather, i’m an autumn/winter girl deep down.

  • http://takeitlikeit.blogspot.com/ Brooke

    Yum~ I love almost all variations on miso soup, and yours looks extra creamy-delicious!

  • http://takeitlikeit.blogspot.com/ Brooke

    Yum~ I love almost all variations on miso soup, and yours looks extra creamy-delicious!

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com/ Giff

    creative and delicious. I need to experiment more with Japanese cooking.

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com Giff

    creative and delicious. I need to experiment more with Japanese cooking.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Sounds delicious, and the color is lovely! I like the use of turnips here.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com lisaiscooking

    Sounds delicious, and the color is lovely! I like the use of turnips here.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek from kitchensidecar

    Wow. I didn’t know that japanese food incorporated soymilk. Funny thing. I just posted about making soy milk. Homemade is the way to go.

    My friend who is used to drinking soymilk out of the carton made a bit of a funny face when he tried the unsweetened kind. It bodes better for chowders.

    Too bad I made tofu out of my milk, because it is raining today and all I want is some friggin’ soup.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek from kitchensidecar

    Wow. I didn’t know that japanese food incorporated soymilk. Funny thing. I just posted about making soy milk. Homemade is the way to go.

    My friend who is used to drinking soymilk out of the carton made a bit of a funny face when he tried the unsweetened kind. It bodes better for chowders.

    Too bad I made tofu out of my milk, because it is raining today and all I want is some friggin’ soup.

  • Shiv

    How many portions does this make? One, two? Are the other recipes the same portion size as this one?

  • Shiv

    How many portions does this make? One, two? Are the other recipes the same portion size as this one?

  • Dannica Torres

    How many servings does this recipe make?

    • marc

      2 meal sized portions or 4 smaller servings

  • Dannica Torres

    How many servings does this recipe make?

    • marc

      2 meal sized portions or 4 smaller servings

  • http://www.bestpressurecookerreviews.com/ Ann of Pressure Cooker Reviews

    Wow…this is a great recipe…my mom used to cook miso soup and I really miss it…I will try your version, it looks really good!

  • dolly

    Cool!!!

  • Watermelon Soup

    This is a different soup,hope it will reduce my tasty tender ..Excellent recipes to try ..Let me give a try this weekend ..i wish my kids love this..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufgy3yLebnA soy milk is a healthy one to drink ..it gives lots of protein to our boby ..

  • Watermelon Soup

    Water melon Soup…This is a different soup,hope it will reduce my tasty tender ..Excellent recipes to try ..Let me give a try this weekend ..i wish my kids love this..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufgy3yLebnA soy milk is a healthy one to drink ..it gives lots of protein to our boby ..

  • Anonymous

    I’m not exactly sure what’s the texture of turnips or if they are even available in my country. But for lack of turnips, can I use a any white radish or maybe daikon?

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.chi1 Karen Chi

    Beautiful, I made this and it’s reminiscent of Chinese savory soymilk soup in the morning which is dressed with soy sauce and sesame oil but is quite heavy in comparison. I simmered it with sliced onion and added a sliver of ginger to the bonito bag but I feel like your simple recipe on its own will also be amazing. I also used almond milk.

    Thanks chef :) This is delicious.

  • Michelle

    I was able to make this dish and it was delicious! However, the bottom of my pot is burned from soy milk, is there any tip to prevent this from happening again?!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      It sounds like your heat may have been up too high, try lowering it. The mixture should never be boiling. If it’s still a problem it’s possible your pan is too thin and there are hot spots that are causing certain parts to heat up too much. If this is the case, you could not cover it and
      keep stirring it. Hope that helps for next time:-)

  • Tonnsg

    Hi, I can only get red miso, will that be ok?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Tonnsg, red miso tends to be saltier and have a sharper taste than white or yellow miso, so it’s not an ideal compliment to the creamy flavor of this soup. That said, it should still work.

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