All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Gobo to tsumire no misoshiru / miso soup with burdock root and ground fishballs

Ground sardine is a very common ingredient for miso soup. I don't even see fresh sardines here, so here is an alternative. Coarsely ground fish is combined with egg white for a fluffy soft texture that crumbles in your mouth. Cooked with dashi made of dried sardine, this is a refined version of an everyday miso soup I had all the time in my hometown.


1 niboshi young dried sardine
400 cc water
1 tbsp miso
10-15 cm gobo burdock root
1 green onion (green section)
1 fillet (100-150 g) fish (110 g halibut in photo)
1/2 tsp potato starch
2 tsp egg white (approx. 1/4 of egg white of 1 egg)
Pinch salt
Pinch sugar


Prepare niboshi dashi.
Remove head and belly part of niboshi, and toast (without oil) in a pot for several minutes.

Pour water, and soak for 30 minutes (at least 10 minutes).


Meanwhile, sasagaki diagonally slice gobo, and soak in water. Thinly slice green onion.
Chop fish into 1cm or smaller pieces.


Coarsely grind fish in mortar.

Add salt, sugar, potato starch and egg white, and continue mixing until smooth.

Keep refrigerated until cooking.


Put gobo in dashi, and cook on medium low to medium high heat until tender.

When starting to boil, reduce heat somewhat, and remove foam on surface along with niboshi.


When gobo is tender, form fishballs with two spoons, and quietly put in soup.

Cover, and cook on low heat until fish is done, 1-2 minutes.

Add miso.


Serve and top with green onion.

  • Removing head and belly of niboshi prevents a fishy taste and smell in dashi. Toasting niboshi first is for the same reason. Alternatively, niboshi (after removing head and belly) can be microwaved without cover for 1 minute.
  • Niboshi can be soaked overnight (in fridge) for good dashi. Remove niboshi from dashi if keeping it longer.
  • Egg white makes the fishballs fluffy, but adding egg white is optional.
  • Tsumire or tumiire is ground fish, or ground fish formed into crumbly balls. It also sometimes refers to ground meat, especially chicken.
  • If you prefer to have the texture of fishcake, add more salt (2-3% of fish weight) and ground/mix until very smooth. This type of ground fish is called surimi.

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