Thick Rice Soup with Crabmeat

Kani Zōsui

The Japanese enjoy thick rice soups, called zōsui, as midday snacks or at the end of a meal comprised of many little dishes. Zōsui is homey, soothing stuff and is a fine way to use rice left over from another meal. Adding crab enriches the flavor and dresses up the dish to make it welcome at any dinner table.

Ingredients

Broth

  • 4 cups dashi (basic sea stock)
  • 1 tablespoon saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • scant 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon usukuchi shōyu (light soy sauce) stems from fresh Shiitaké (dark oak) mushrooms, below
  • 1 teaspoon ginger juice (extracted from grated fresh ginger)
  • 4 fresh Shiitaké (dark oak) mushrooms
  • 2-3 ounces crabmeat (canned is fine, fresh is better)
  • 2-3 cups cooked rice (leftovers are perfect)
  • 1 bunch kaiwaré (radish sprouts) or 8 stalks flat-leafed parsley
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Method

  1. Prepare the broth: Combine the sea stock, rice wine, salt, light soy sauce, and mushroom stems in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim the froth away and discard the mushroom stems. Add the ginger juice.
  2. Wipe the mushroom caps clean and slice them into thin julienne strips. Add them to the broth and continue to simmer. Skim away any froth.
  3. Carefully pick over the crabmeat to remove any cartilage. Add the crabmeat to the broth and continue to simmer. Skim away any froth.
  4. Place the cooked rice in a strainer and pour cold water over it, breaking up any lumps and rinsing away excess starch. Drain the rice, add it to the broth, and simmer the soup for 2 minutes.
  5. Rinse the radish sprouts or flat-leafed parsley, and trim away any roots. Cut the sprout stalks in half or the parsley stalks into 1 -inch lengths, and set aside.
  6. Raise the heat slightly, stir the soup clockwise, and pour in the beaten eggs. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir the soup counterclockwise, to make shreds similar to those in egg drop soup.
  7. Divide the soup among four bowls, and scatter the sprouts or parsley over each portion. Serve while piping hot.

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