Lesson Four

Fish Dumpling Soup

Two Variations on a Theme (No-Waste Cooking)

Even a skilled fishmonger leaves some flesh clinging to the bones when filleting a fish; novices are likely to leave quite a bit more. No need to be wasteful as you practice your knife skills. Make tender-plump dumplings from the fish scraps and poach them in a rich sea stock made with the bones and head. 


There are two classic fish dumpling soups in the Japanese kitchen:

Tsumire dumplings are usually marble-sized and made from a paste of ground sardines or other oily DHA-rich “blue” fishes such as mackerel or bonito; tsumire are most often seasoned with miso and/or served in a miso-thickened broth.

Shinjo dumplings tend to be made from a paste of mild, white-fleshed fishes such as flounder or snapper; shinjo often incorporate chunks of vegetables or seafood and are more substantial in size. Shinjo dumplings typically nestle in a clear broth.

Tsumire-Jiru Miso-Jitate 


Mackerel Dumplings in Miso Broth

 Shinjo Wan


Snapper Dumpling in Clear Broth

The Language of Food

Surimi                   Neri Seihin

すり身      練り製品

SURI (from the verb suru "to grind" or "to mash") and MI (literally "flesh") combine to describe a pasty substance, usually made from fish and/or seafood. Various dumplings and sausage-like products made from surimi are collectively called neri seihin or fish-paste products.

Sometimes the surimi is steamed (kamaboko, below left, is made this way), sometimes grilled (chikuwa, below right, is made this way), sometimes fried (Satsuma age, below center, is made this way), and sometimes blanched and simmered such as the TSUMIRE and SHINJO dumplings in the recipes above.

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