Monaka Suimono: Unique Japanese Soup Base in Wafers
When it comes to Wagashi confections filled with sweet Azuki red bean paste called “Anko (餡子)”, “Manju (饅頭)”, “Daifuku (大福)”, and “Monaka (最中)” are especially famous.
Among them, Monaka is a traditional Japanese sweet or a type of Wagashi consisting of Anko bean paste sandwiched in between 2 crisply baked rice wafers.
The filling is traditionally Anko, but in modern times various ingredients are prepared for it, which include vanilla or matcha ice cream, Shiratama Dango dumplings, and further, savory or salty foods can also be used.
Such non-sweet Monaka can actually rarely be seen, but now I have a representative example.
The other day, my family got a gift from our neighbor, and the box actually contains assorted Monaka Suimono soup bases.
For the unfamiliar, “Suimono (吸い物)“, or “Osuimono (お吸い物)” is a traditional Japanese soup whose broth is lightly seasoned typically with salt and soy sauce.
Specifically, the gift is made up of 2 Monaka for Fukahire (shark fin) Suimono, 1 Monaka for Fugu (pufferfish) Suimono, 1 Monaka for Matsutake (mushroom) Suimono, 1 Monaka for Hotate (scallop) Suimono, and 1 Monaka for Yuba (tofu skin) Suimono,
And this time, I chose the Monaka for Yuba Suimono. When the upper wafer is removed, you can see the soup base for Yuba Suimono placed inside the wafers.
How to Make Osuimono from the Monaka
I made Yuba Suimono from the Monaka, following the directions printed on the accompanying leaflet.
The making was really simple and easy as follows; First, place the Monaka wafers in a bowl, and then pour in 160ml boiling water.
Both the outer rice wafers and the inner ingredient block quickly dissolve in the water, so stir the ingredients lightly with chopsticks, and you can enjoy the soup.
Actually, this is the first time I had this type of Osuimono. With the broth made with “Katsuobushi (鰹節)” bonito flakes, the Yuba Suimono soup was packed with umami and tasted quite good!
Where to Buy
This unique Japanese soup base, Monaka Suimono is produced by “Hayashi Kyuemon Shoten (林久右衛門商店)”, a long-established Katsuobushi maker in Hakata, Fukuoka Prefecture.
Based on some online sources, the product is sold mainly in department stores like “Isetan (伊勢丹)” and “Mitsukoshi (三越)”.