Japanese Salmon Broth

11 Jul

(serves 6)
This is a westernized version of the salmon and vegetable broth which is served in many Japanese restaurants. It is paricularly rich from the gelatine in the salmon trimmings and yet retains a refined taste as it makes use of tofu and ginger to temper the strong flavour of the trimmings. As it is not hard to prepare, this soup is perfect for casual settings, but at the same time its suitable for more formal occasions when a light soup is called for.
  1. Salmon Head or Trimmings (400g)
  2. Leafy Mushrooms (20)
  3. Carrot (1)
  4. Napa Cabbage (1)
  5. Tofu (250g)
  6. Leek (1)
  7. Grated Ginger (2t)
  8. Hon Dashi Pellets (4T)
  9. Sake (0.25 cup)


  1. Put eight cups of water to boil in a large pot. When the water is at a strong boil, add the salmon trimmings. This can consist of any combination of head, fins or tail. Simmer for about 1 hour. You may leave it covered overnight for best results.
  2. In the meanwhile, cut the napa cabbage into cylinders, two inches thick near the stalk and three inches thick nearer the leafy end. In addition, slice the carrot diagonally into very thin oval slices. Do the same for the leek.
  3. Grate some ginger until you get 2t of it. Keep any liquid which drips out with the grated ginger.
  4. When the simmering is done, remove the larger pieces of fish and then pour through a strainer into a second pot. You may dispose of all the meat (or debone it for some other dish). Skim the resulting stock for oil if you wish.
  5. Put the new pot of stock to boil. Add 4T of Hon Dashi pellets and the cut vegetables and then simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool while covered.
  6. Just before you are about to serve bring to a second boil.
  7. Pour away the water the tofu is soaked in and cut it into 3/4 inch cubes. The best way to do this is in your hand, over the pot, using a butter knife, otherwise the tofu will likely get smashed.
  8. Put the 1 t of sugar, 0.5 t white pepper, the tofu, grated ginger and sake into the soup and boil for ten minutes.
  9. After tasting, do a final seasoning with salt if needed and serve.


  • Some cooks will add fresh chunks of salmon (i.e. not the fish you used to boil the stock) into the pre-serving boil.
  • If you have any Mirin, you can trying adding one T or two of that at the end.
  • Not all the ingredients are readily available outside of North Asia, so feel free to experiment with substitutes.

Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Japanese, Recipe, Seafood, Soups


3 responses to “Japanese Salmon Broth

  1. Tes

    July 12, 2010 at 12:34 am

    It sounds nourishing and delicious!
    It looks easy to make, too.
    I’ve never try salmon broth before. I think I will try it soon over the next weekend.
    Thanks for sharing,

  2. john gregory

    November 5, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Thankyou. I had no idea what to do with the trimmings from the whole salmon I bought and the bottle of saki sat in the cupboard for ages. This looks great. The fish stock is on the boil now and the leeks, carrots and ginger cut/grated ready for the morning. just need to get some tofu and mushroom in the morning and substitute the Hon Dashi.

    • kobayash1

      November 9, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Sounds as if you haven’t tasted it yet, but if you end up liking it, you might also enjoy my Bretton Fish Stew recipe.


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