Sardine Miso Ball Soup

  • Serves

    serves 4


Sardines flavored with white miso are formed into delicate puffed balls for dashi broth in this recipe adapted from one served at K-ZO restaurant in Culver City, California.



  • 2 tbsp. sake
  • 1 tbsp. white miso
  • 2 tsp. potato starch
  • 8 fresh sardines, cleaned and filleted, skins removed, or 2 (4-oz.) cans boneless skinless sardine filets packed in oil, drained
  • 1 (2”) piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  • 1 (4”-square) piece kombu
  • 1 oz. bonito flakes
  • 3 oz. medium-firm tofu, cut into ¼” pieces
  • 2 tbsp. mirin
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 5 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch mitsuba, thinly sliced (optional)


Step 1

Make the sardine balls: Purée ingredients in a food processor until smooth; transfer to a bowl and chill until ready to use.

Step 2

Make the soup: Place kombu and 6 cups water in a 4-qt. saucepan; let sit until soft, about 15 minutes, then bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in bonito; let sit 5 minutes, then strain broth and return to pan. Bring broth to a simmer over medium heat. Using a 1-oz. scoop or 2 spoons dipped in water, drop sardine balls into broth. Cook, without stirring, until balls float, 2–3 minutes. Stir in tofu, mirin, soy sauce, and salt and ladle soup into bowls; garnish with scallions and, if using, mitsuba.

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