Zosui is a comforting Japanese rice soup cooked in a savory dashi broth with vegetables, eggs, mushrooms, and sometimes meat or seafood. It’s a nourishing meal that helps refuel your energy. With pantry ready ingredients, you can easily make it in no time!
The new season is almost here. While we’re in the transitional phase, healthy soups still make up most of our diet. Since my family has just recovered from a long cold, I wanted to share another belly-warming and nourishing recipe – a Japanese Rice Soup called Zosui (雑炊).
With minimal ingredients, which can be any small scraps of vegetables or mushrooms left in the refrigerator, you can make this meal fairly quickly. The bowl of warm rice soup will immediately reenergize and restore your energy.
What is Zosui
Zōsui (雑炊) is a Japanese rice soup made from pre-cooked rice and dashi broth that’s seasoned with soy sauce. Some may describe it as the Japanese version of congee, except Zosui is more robust in texture. The rice grains are intact while submerged in the soup broth.
It is generally served to those who are sick or under the weather. Therefore, Zosui is often cooked with simple and easy-to-digest ingredients, such as a small amount of vegetables, mushrooms, and eggs.
If you want to make it more hearty, you can add a protein like meat and seafood as I did in this recipe. It can also be totally vegan by using Kombu Dashi and vegan-friendly ingredients.
Zosui is not a common restaurant menu, but some places offer it at the end of a hot pot meal as an option. The restaurant staff will make it right at the table by re-using leftover soup from the hot pot. It’s an instant fill-me-up kind of dish.
Watch How to Make Zosui
Zosui is made from 3 elements:
- Dashi broth – Unlike chicken broth or vegetable broth, dashi can be made pretty quickly, even from scratch. In this recipe, I used a dashi packet, which makes it even easier but tastes a lot better than an instant dashi powder. And if you happened to have some leftover hot pot broth, you can definitely use it to make Zosui.
- Vegetables, mushrooms, eggs, chicken – or whatever that’s available in your refrigerator.
- Cooked rice – Most Japanese keeps the leftover rice frozen, and here’s how to store cooked rice.
Zosui is a comforting Japanese rice soup cooked in a savory dashi broth with vegetables, eggs, mushrooms, and sometimes meat or seafood. It’s a nourishing meal that helps refuel your energy.
What is the Difference between Zosui vs. Ojiya?
If you’re familiar with Japanese food, you may have heard of Ojiya (おじや), another popular rice-based soup during the cold season.
Since rice is simmered in a dashi broth in both dishes, Zosui and Ojiya have a lot in common.
Many people use the words Ojiya and Zosui interchangeably, and usage varies by region and household. However, there are some common differences between them:
- Cooked rice is rinsed under water first to remove excess starch.
- It does not get cooked too long so the shape of the rice is retained.
- The broth is seasoned only with soy sauce.
- Rice is never rinsed.
- Ojiya can be cooked for a longer time and the rice can be mushy (and no visible shape of the rice).
- The broth is seasoned with miso or soy sauce, but not overly flavored.
Believe it or not, this Japanese Rice Soup takes less than 30 minutes to cook! It’s not only warm and delicious, but it’s also full of nutrition to give us the strength to recover from sicknesses.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Zosui (Japanese Rice Soup)
- 6 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs (could be 1-2 pieces depending on the size)
- 1 inch carrot (1.4 oz, 40 g)
- 2 shiitake mushrooms (2.8 oz, 80 g)
- 2 green onions/scallions
- 1 ½ cup cooked Japanese short-grain rice (10.6 oz; 1 rice cooker cup (180 ml / 150 g) yields 330 g of cooked rice, which is about 2 rice bowls; here we have about 1 1 ½ rice bowls.)
- 1 large egg (50 g w/o shell)
- ½ tsp toasted white sesame seeds
- ⅛ tsp white pepper powder
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare the Dashi
- In a large pot (I used a donabe), add dashi broth. If you are making dashi from scratch, here’s the direction (https://www.justonecookbook.com/how-to-make-dashi/). In this recipe, I show you how to make dashi using a dashi packet. Add water and a dashi packet in the donabe.
- Cover the lid and slowly bring water to boil on low heat. After a few minutes, open the lid and shake the bag to release more flavors.
- Close the lid and continue to heat the broth. Once boiling, cook for 3 minutes and discard the dashi packet. Keep the lid closed and set aside.
To Prepare the Ingredients
- Remove the excess fat from the chicken and cut it into small bite-sized pieces.
- Discard the tough stem of shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice the caps.
- Cut the carrot into quarters lengthwise and thinly slice them.
- Cut the green onions into thin pieces and put them in a small bowl. We use them as a garnish at the end.
- If you’re using cold cooked rice, put it in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse the rice under running water to remove excess starch. Shake and drain well. If you’re using freshly made rice, you can skip this process.
To Cook Zosui
- In a hot dashi broth, add the chicken.
- Close the lid and bring it to boil on medium-low heat. Once boiling, skim the scum and foam on the surface.
- Add the carrot and cook covered until tender, about 4-5 minutes.
- Once the carrot is tender, add soy sauce and salt to the broth.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms and well-drained cooked rice. Cover to cook for 10 minutes.
- Beat the egg in a bowl.
- Slowly drizzle a small amount of the beaten egg over the soup surface, which will create a fluffy texture.
- Add some of the green onion and sesame seeds. Sprinkle white pepper powder at the end.
- Cover with the lid and bring the pot to the table to serve into individual bowls.