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Japanese Clear Soup with Chicken and Leeks

(Tori to negi no suimono)

Lovely to look at and more satisfying than you would expect from such slender ingredients because of the multi-sensory appeal, this delicate suimono soup makes an elegant first course...or final course for that matter. For more information on Japanese soup customs, click HERE. Serve hot as a first--or last--course to 4 people.

Salt the little chicken cubes lightly, then simmer in water until just barely tender. Remove from heat and reserve.

Bring the dashi to a simmer, then add the chicken pieces and shiitake mushroom slices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Strain out the chicken and mushrooms and arrange evenly and in patterns in the 4 soup bowls. Ladle the hot dashi over these bits, sprinkle each bowl with thinly sliced leeks, cover with lids, and serve immediately.