Easy and umami-filled, this Clam Miso Soup will be a new addition to your favorite soup!
Both tofu and wakame seem to be the mainstream combination in miso soup, but did you know there are literally hundreds of varieties of this everyday Japanese soup?
Today’s recipe Japanese Clam Miso Soup (あさりの味噌汁) is another popular choice in Japan, and you can use different kinds of clams for this recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Japanese Clam Miso Soup
- Flavorful and delicious.
- So easy to make!
- A fancier version of the ordinary miso soup.
- Additional protein and nutrition.
Simple 3 Ingredients to Make Clam Miso Soup
- Dashi – When I make my clam miso soup, I like to use Kombu Dashi instead of my regular Awase Dashi made with kombu and katsuobushi. The umami from kombu matches perfectly with the delicious essence from clam stock. It feels like an oceanic culinary experience.
- Miso – It works with any miso type you have.
- Manila clams – Use good quality, fresh clams for this recipe. I also suggest using nothing but clams as the only ingredient in the soup. That means no tofu or wakame seaweed. If you like to enjoy clam miso soup, you do not want to mix up the delicate clam flavor with other ingredients. Garnish it with some chopped scallion would round everything up beautifully.
How to De-Grit Clams
It’s important to de-grit and to clean the clams before using them for your recipe. No one wants to taste or feel the sand in your food.
There are various articles on the Internet on how to de-grit clams and they will probably all work. In the US, popular methods include the use of cornmeal to get the sand out of clams. Clams purge the sand and grit out by ingesting the cornmeal.
In Japan, however, the most common method is by using simple saltwater. Fishermen and housewives all use this method and it’s how I de-grit and clean clams, too. If you are interested in the Japanese way, here’s how we do it.
I hope you will give this easy miso soup a try! If you want a clear broth version without miso, check out the Japanese Clear Clam Soup (Ushio-Jiru) recipe.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Japanese Clam Miso Soup
For Degrit Clams:
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To De-Grit and Clean Clams
- De-grit clams by following my detailed How To De-Grit Clam post. Even though some packages may say “ready to use”, I highly recommend doing this process. Quick Summary: Add 1 Tbsp salt in 2 cups water in a bowl and let it dissolved completely. Tip: Place a sieve in the bowl so that any sand and grit the clams purge would stay on the bottom of the bowl instead of being consumed by the clams again.
- Add the clams inside the sieve without overlapping each other. The water level should be right around the clam’s mouth. If there isn’t enough salt water, make more using the same ratio (1 Tbsp salt for 2 cups water). Cover the bowl with aluminum foil to create a dark environment for clams and leave it in a cool place for 2 hours. This should give clams enough time to purge sand and grit.
- Wash the clams carefully with a brush. Clams are now ready to use.
To Prepare Clam Miso Soup
- In a medium pot, put the clean clams, 2 cups (480 ml) water, and kombu and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
- When boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Skim off the scum using a fine-mesh skimmer. Tip: Prepare a cup/bowl of water and dip the skimmer in the water to clean.
- When all the clams opened up, turn off the heat immediately and do not overcook it. Remove and discard the kombu.
- Use a ladle and dissolve 2 Tbsp miso. Each brand of miso has different saltiness so adjust the miso soup by adding more water or adding more miso (add a small amount at a time).
- Serve miso soup in individual soup bowls and sprinkle chopped scallion. When you need to reheat the soup, make sure you DO NOT BOIL miso soup because it will lose the flavor.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container or in the pot and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours.