A clear vegetable soup, Kenchinjiru (also spelled Kenchin-jiru), this traditional Japanese dish is a delicious choice for a winter meal. This soup contains tofu, root vegetables, and tofu and is a popular dish in many parts of Japan. This soup is often made vegetarian and is believed to have originated at the Zen Buddhist temple of Kamakura. The original Japanese Winter Vegetable Soup recipe is said to have been created there and is rooted in the shippoku style of cooking.
Japanese Winter Vegetable Soup Recipes
Japanese Vegetable Soup
- Preheat the oven to 390F.
- As oven warms, chop carrots and parsnips in small pieces. Toss the pieces in a little olive oil. Lay in one layer on baking sheet. Roast in oven for up to 30 minutes, till they have softened.
- Make miso soup using instructions on packet.
- Shred kale leaves. 5. Divide veggies in four miso servings. Drop them in. Serve.
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Alternative Method: Slow Cooker Simplicity
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 turnips, diced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup of napa cabbage, chopped
- 1 cup of tofu, cubed
- 2 tablespoons of miso paste
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice preference)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Green onions and seaweed for garnish
- Cooked soba noodles
- Begin by placing the chopped vegetables (carrots, turnips, onion, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, and napa cabbage) into your slow cooker.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the miso paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger, and red pepper flakes. This forms your flavorful soup base.
- Pour the vegetable broth into the slow cooker and add the tofu cubes.
- Carefully pour the miso mixture over the vegetables, ensuring even distribution.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remember, you can always adjust the seasoning later.
- Cover the slow cooker and set it on the low setting. Allow it to cook for 6-8 hours. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and the vegetables to become tender.
- About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the cooked soba noodles to the slow cooker. This ensures they’re heated through and absorb the delicious flavors.
- Serve your slow-cooked Japanese Winter Vegetable Soup hot, garnished with green onions and seaweed. Enjoy a hearty, comforting meal with minimal effort.
Tips for making Japanese Winter Vegetable Soup
- Quality Ingredients: Start with the freshest vegetables you can find. The quality of your produce will significantly impact the flavors of the soup.
- Miso Paste: Remember that miso paste is quite salty, so be cautious when adding extra salt to your soup. You can always adjust the saltiness at the end.
- Don’t Boil Miso: Avoid boiling miso paste, as high heat can destroy its delicate flavor. Instead, whisk it into a small amount of the hot broth before adding it to the pot.
- Customize Veggies: Feel free to customize the vegetables to your liking. You can add ingredients like snow peas, baby corn, or bamboo shoots for extra depth.
- Soba Noodles Separately: Cook soba noodles separately if you’re planning to have leftovers. This prevents them from soaking up too much broth when stored.
- Garnishes: Top your soup with fresh green onions and a sprinkle of seaweed. These simple garnishes add a burst of color and flavor.
- Sides: Consider serving this soup with some simple sides like a fresh salad or a plate of gyoza (dumplings). The contrast of flavors is a fantastic culinary experience.
- Soba Noodles: While the noodles cook in the slow cooker method, you can also serve them separately. Have a bowl of cooked soba noodles at the table, allowing everyone to add their desired amount to their soup.
- Beverages: Pair this soup with a cup of hot green tea or a light Japanese lager to complement the flavors.
- The Bento Way: In a true Japanese fashion, consider making a bento box with sections for the soup, soba noodles, and a variety of pickles and snacks.
Frequently Asked Questions about Japanese Winter Vegetable Soup
- Can I freeze Japanese Winter Vegetable Soup? Yes, you can! However, it’s best to freeze the soup and noodles separately. Thaw, reheat the soup, and then add fresh-cooked soba noodles when serving.
- How can I make this soup spicier? If you prefer some heat, you can increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a dash of your favorite hot sauce during cooking.
- Can I use other types of miso paste? Absolutely. While white miso is more commonly used for this soup, you can experiment with red or brown miso for deeper, richer flavors.
- How long will leftovers last in the fridge? Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. Remember to store the soba noodles separately to maintain their texture.
- Can I make this soup vegan or gluten-free? Yes! Ensure you’re using gluten-free miso and soy sauce for a gluten-free version. For a vegan option, stick to vegetable broth and choose a tofu brand that suits your dietary preferences.
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I'm James F Anderson, a noted sous chef from London and a Le Cordon Bleu alumnus. My career began in a Michelin-starred Parisian eatery, where my blend of classic and contemporary cooking, using seasonal ingredients, earned accolades. Recognized in culinary publications and on cooking shows, I’m committed to mentoring aspiring chefs and delivering memorable dining experiences, marking me as a standout talent in the culinary world.