Ebi-Shinjo in Clear Soup

Ebi-Shinjo (shrimp ball) in Clear Soup is a traditional dish served in the most elegant Japanese restaurants. The clear soup is light and brings out the wonderful flavor of the Ebi-shinjo.

I was first introduced to Ebi-Shinjo in Clear Soup when I went to a kaiseki restaurant. Kaiseki style meals in Japan consists of many small plates and they are usually show off the skills and techniques of the chef. Kaseki often uses seasonal ingredients and the menu at a restaurant may change daily, depending on the availability of those ingredients. Kaiseki is an experience to enjoy; it is usually served by kimono clad staff on beautiful handmade ceramic.

Kaiseki-ryori, which translates to “cuisine for a gathering”, is not only prepared at elegant restaurants. It is also a common style at Japanese ryokans, parties, and family gatherings.

Kaiseki ryori - many small dishes of food and drink served on a tray
Kaiseki ryori

Ebi-Shinjo served in clear soup is often served in Kaiseki because it is a simple delicious soup that is light and not filling. It took me several tries to get this dish just right – although the taste and aroma of the soup seem very sophisticated, it is surprisingly easy to prepare.

Ebi-Shinjo in Clear Soup

Ebi-Shinjo, or shrimp balls, are easy to prepare and this recipe uses only four ingredients for the shinjo; shrimp, potato starch, salt and hanpen. Hanpen  is a white fish cake that can be purchased at most Asian grocery stores either frozen or refrigerated. It has a soft and spongy consistency and a very light taste. Hanpen is made with mountain yam, surimi (also known as “krab” or imitation crabmeat), salt and kelp broth.

Hanpen
Hanpen

The clear soup is made from konbu dashi (kelp stock) which can be purchased in granulated form and used like bouillon. It can easily be found on line or found at most stores that carry Asian food.

PREP COOKING YIELD
30 mins 4 bowls
PREP 30 mins
COOKING
YIELD 4 bowls

Ingredients:

Ebi-Shinjo

  • 1 package of hanpen (about 120g)
  • 1/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (120g)
  • 1 TBSP katakuriko or cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 cups konbu dashi
  • medium shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and cap sliced into 2 halves

Clear Soup

  • 4 cups konbu dashi
  • 2 TBSP cooking sake
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 mitsuba leaves

Instructions:

Prepare Ebi-Shinjo

  • Chop the shrimp into a paste using a food processor.  Remove and add it to a mixing bowl.
  • Chop the hanpen into a paste using a food processor.  Add to the mixing bowl.
  • Add katakuriko and salt to the bowl.
  • Using a fork, mash the ingredients until it is the same color throughout and all white lumps are gone.
  • Using your hands, form the mixture into four evenly sized balls.  Be sure to wet your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking.
  • Bring 4 cups of dashi to a vigorous boil in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the four balls into the dashi using a spoon.
  • Boil the meatballs in the dashi for 4 minutes.  Add the shiitake and continue boiling for one more minute.
  • Drain the dashi out and set the Ebi-Shinjo the shiitake aside.
Ebi-Shinju (Shrimp Balls)

 

Prepare the Clear Soup

  • Bring 4 cups of dashi, the cooking sake and the salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat.
  • Boil for 2 minutes, lower the heat to medium-low and add the shinjo to the soup.  Cover and cook on medium-low for 3 minutes to ensure that the shinjo is hot all through.
  • Serve in 4 bowls.  In each bowl first ladle out the dashi, add a shinjo and a shiitake mushroom.  Top with a mitsuba leaf.

 

Notes:

  • Mitsuba, or Japanese parsley, has a unique peppery taste.  If you cannot find any try substituting some fresh watercress or Italian parsley.
  • Katakuriko is potato starch.  Cornstarch can be substituted.

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