Japanese Clear Soup: Sumashi-Jiru vs Osuimono
In the previous post, I explained how the Japanese clear soup “Suimono (吸い物)”, or “Osuimono (お吸い物)”, is different from miso soup.
As I wrote in the article, the primary difference between miso soup and Suimono is that miso soup is a type of “Shirumono (汁物)” that is seasoned with miso soybean paste and is eaten with rice,
Shirumono is the collective term for the soup dishes that are served with cooked rice in Japanese cuisine, and in addition to miso, it can also be flavored with soy sauce, salt, or a mixture of these seasonings.
Hence, there also exist clear soups that are classified as Shirumono, and among those, “Sumashi-Jiru (すまし汁)”, also known as “Osumashi (おすまし)”, is the most common variety.
Sumashi-Jiru (Osumashi) vs Osuimono
Then, what is the difference between Sumashi-Jiru or Osumashi and Osuimono? Here, let me talk about that.
As I mentioned above, Suimono, or Osuimono, is a Japanese clear soup typically seasoned with soy sauce and salt, but it can also be flavored with miso and may have a browny hue.
On the other hand, Sumashi-Jiru, or Osumashi, is also a clear soup made from Dashi soup stock mainly seasoned with soy sauce and salt in the same way as Suimono.
Soup Bowl and Ingredients
Both Osuimono and Sumashi-Jiru soups are often served in a lacquered soup bowl and can contain various ingredients ranging from seafood and meat to vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, and eggs.
So these 2 types of clear soup dishes often look like the same things, which is why many of us Japanese can’t clearly tell the difference between them.
Actually, the primary difference between Suimono and Sumashijiru comes from the classification. Osuimono is a type of Sakana and is eaten as an accompaniment for Sake rice wine, while Sumashi-Jiru is a type of Shirumono and is served with cooked rice.
Therefore, in the traditional Japanese course dinner “Kaiseki Ryori (懐石料理, 会席料理)”, Suimono isn’t the soup for “Ichiju Sansai (一汁三菜: literally one soup and three side dishes)”, the basics in Kaiseki Ryori, but it can be the side dish called “Wanmori (椀盛り)” or “Nimonowan (煮物椀)”.
In contrast, Sumashi-Jiru is a soup that can be included in Ichiju Sansai and may be served with cooked rice in Kaiseki Ryori.