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FUNDAMENTALS 101 Vol. 37 No. 3 Autumn 2023

Kenchin-jiru Vegetable Soup

Our ongoing look at Japanese soups introduces the very filling kenchin-jiru.

Kenchin-jiru is a clear soup made with various root vegetables like daikon, carrot, burdock root and Japanese taro, along with konjac and tofu. Often made at home, the vegetables are first sautéed in sesame oil, cooked in dashi stock, then seasoned with soy sauce. The idea for this hearty soup arose from kenchin rolls, originally made for monks at Zen Buddhist temples. Similar to spring rolls, kenchin deep-fried yuba beancurd-skin rolls are filled with stir-fried vegetables and tofu, and inspired the concept for this nutritious and satisfying soup.


  1. 1 Wrap a block of firm tofu in paper towels. Place a weight on top for 30 minutes to force out moisture, so as not to dilute the soup. Hand-tear into bite-sized chunks. Scoop konjac with a teaspoon*1 and parboil for 2-3 minutes to remove distinct smell. Pour boiling water over abura-age thin deep-fried tofu to rinse off surface oil. Squeeze out water and cut into thin strips.
  2. 2 Peel and slice satoimo taro. Rub salt on the slices, leave for 15 minutes, then rinse well. Scrub burdock root and cut into small chunks, soak in water for 5 minutes. Peel and cut daikon into quarter slices. Peel and slice carrot. Cut Japanese long onion into small slices (see photo).
Clockwise from top left: tofu, konjac, abura-age, satoimo, Japanese long onion, carrot, daikon, burdock root
  1. 3 Heat sesame oil and sauté konjac and burdock root. Add satoimo, daikon and carrot and sauté until oil coats all ingredients. Add dashi stock, simmer for 5 minutes. Add tofu, abura-age and salt; simmer until vegetables become tender. Add Japanese long onion and soy sauce to taste. Serve in bowls sprinkled with coarse ground black pepper or with shichimi-togarashi seven-spice chili pepper, as preferred.
  • * 1 Rough surfaces of tofu and konjac better absorb soup flavors.
Vol. 37

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