Pacific Saury "Tsumire" Fish Ball Soup

Tsumire refers to any meat or fish that's been minced, seasoned and rolled into bite-size balls. Pacific saury fish ball soup is full of umami until the very last bite (and spoonful)!

Pacific Saury "Tsumire" Fish Ball Soup
Photographed by Taku Kudo

Recipe by
Hideko Noguchi




Soups & Stews



Calorie count is per serving.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • [Fish balls]

    • 2 Pacific saury
    • Red miso

      *Should equal 1/10 the amount of the ground fish.

    • 1/2 beaten egg
    • 1 Japanese leek (minced)
  • 5 cm carrot
  • 7 cm daikon radish
  • 1/2 block konnyaku
  • 1/2 gobo burdock root
  • 8 green beans
  • 1 konbu kelp (8 cm x 10 cm)
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt



Make the [Fish balls]. Cut off the heads of the fish and remove the guts. Thoroughly wash out the belly, then fillet. Slice away the ribs and chop up the fillets. Mince the fish with a knife. Transfer the minced fish to a suribachi grinding bowl and grind until sticky. Add the miso and continue to grind together. Add the beaten egg and minced Japanese leek.


After removing the heads and guts, place the fish on the cutting board so that the belly is towards you and the tail is facing left. Insert your knife from the head end and draw the blade along the backbone as far as the tail to separate the top fillet. Turn over and repeat the process to remove the bottom fillet. Once the fish is ground until smooth and sticky with no clumps, the beaten egg will be enough to hold it together without having to add any starch.


Peel the carrot and daikon, and cut into rangiri pieces. Cut the konnyaku into rangiri pieces and blanch in boiling water. Scrape off the gobo peel using the back of your knife, and cut into rangiri pieces. Soak in water to remove the bitter taste.


Boil the green beans in lightly salted water and cut diagonally into 3-4 cm lengths.


Pour 1200-1400 ml of water into a pot, add the konbu, carrots, daikon, konnyaku and gobo, and place over heat. When it comes to a boil, remove the konbu and, with a spoon, form the fish paste into bite-size balls and gently add to the soup. When the fish balls float to the surface, add 3 tbsp of soy sauce and season with salt.


Serve in individual bowls and garnish with green beans.


[What is a suribachi?]
A suribachi is equivalent to a mortar. Japanese mortars have radial patterned dents on the inner side to grind ingredients or make paste.