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Japanese Recipe

Cold Miso Soup (Hiyajiru)

Containing more than 90% water and low in calories, the cucumber is a perfect vegetable for weight loss, and even better so for heat exhaustion. The vegetable cools the body temperature down from the inside and supplements a good amount of liquid. In Japan, people eat cucumber in many ways, and this time, Misako sensei introduces “hiyajiru”, traditional cold miso and sesame base soup topped with cucumber. The variety of cucumber eaten in Japan is unavailable in the U.S., but it can be substituted with the Persian cucumber. An authentic hiyajiru recipe involves grilling dried horse mackerel and flaking the meat for extra umami. However skipping the elaborate steps, Misako sensei creates an idea of using clam juice. Get over summer lethargy with this Hiyajiru.

[InGredients] (2-3 servings)
– 2 tbsp miso
– 5 tbsp sesame seeds
– 2 tbsp clam juice
– 1 Persian cucumber thinly sliced
– 8-10 shiso leaves thinly sliced into strips
– 2 cups water with ice cubes
– 1 sheet sushi nori seaweed (crumbled by hand into small pieces)
– 2 tbsp grated ginger
– 1/4 cup chopped scallions
– 2-3 cups cooked rice (preferably room temperature)

1. Roast sesame seeds until slightly brown and aromatic.
2. Spread miso on aluminum foil and broil until golden brown. (miso burns easily, so watch closely)
3. Grind sesame seeds in the “suribachi” mortar until they become slightly wet and pasty.
4. Add roasted miso and grind with sesame paste until both are mixed well.
5. Add clam juice slowly and mix well with miso and sesame paste.
6. Add ice water gradually while mixing to avoid any lumps of miso.
7. Add ice cubes.
8. Add cucumber and half the amount of shiso leaves.
9. Put rice in each bowl and sprinkle nori seaweed on top.
10. Add sliced cucumber.

11. Pour the cold miso soup mixture over the rice and top it with the remaining shiso leaves, scallions and ginger.
12. Serve before the ice cubes melt.

Pick-up Ingredient: Miso

Miso is one of the staple seasonings in Japan, which every household stocks.  Made with soybean, koji and salt, this fermented soybean paste comes in a variety of flavors and colors depending on the type of koji (rice koji, barley koji, bean koji) used, the length of the aging period and the aging method. The most common dish made is a miso soup, but it’s so versatile it can be used for simmered and sautéed dishes, salad dressings, marinade and dipping sauces, glazes and many other dishes.

TIP: Perfect summer dish to keep you nice and cool! You can also add some tofu, grilled and flaked fish and/or other vegetables.


Misako Sassa Japanese cooking instructor/food consultant
Misako teaches authentic Japanese cooking, focusing on simple, delicious, and healthy home-style cooking using seasonal and local ingredients.
Cooking video: