Monaka Suimono: Unique Japanese Soup Base in Wafers
When people think of Wagashi confections filled with Anko (餡子) or sweet red bean paste, many probably picture Manju (饅頭), Daifuku (大福), or Monaka (最中).
Monaka is a traditional Japanese confection or Wagashi consisting of sweet red bean paste covered in 2 crisply baked rice wafers.
The filling is traditionally Anko, but now, it is varied, including vanilla/matcha ice cream, Shiratama Dango dumplings, and further, it even comes with savory or salty foods.
Such non-sweet Monaka can rarely be seen, but today, I have a representative example on hand.
The other day, my family got a gift from a neighbor, and the box contained 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 with salt and soy sauce.
Specifically, the gift had
- 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
- 1 Monaka for Yuba (tofu skin) Suimono
And this time, I chose the Monaka for Yuba Suimono. When I removed the upper wafer, I found the soup base for Yuba Suimono inside.
How to Make Osuimono from the Monaka
I made Yuba Suimono from that Monaka, following the directions on the accompanying leaflet.
The making was simple as follows. First, place the Monaka in a bowl. Then, pour 160ml of boiling water.
The rice wafer block quickly dissolves in the water. So after stirring the ingredients lightly with chopsticks, you can enjoy the soup.
I ate this type of Osuimono for the first time. But the Yuba Suimono soup was packed with umami from Katsuobushi or bonito and tasted pretty good!
Where to Buy
This Monaka Suimono soup base is from Hayashi Kyuemon Shoten (林久右衛門商店), a long-established Katsuobushi maker in Hakata, Fukuoka.
Based on some online sources, department stores like Isetan (伊勢丹) and Mitsukoshi (三越) carry the product.