Sembei jiru is a soup of seasonal vegetables and mushrooms cooked in chicken stock and seasoned with soy sauce. This soup includes a unique ingredient called Nambu sembei. Nambu sembei is a crispy wheat cracker that is a popular snack in the Nambu region. A special type of Nambu sembei is made for sembei jiru that does not fall apart when steeped in the soup. The Nambu sembei soaks up the umami-rich dashi giving it an al dente texture that is popular with locals.
Sembei jiru is popular from the Hachinohe city area down to the northern part of neighboring Iwate prefecture. In some parts of Aomori saba mackerel is used instead of chicken. Nambu sembei has a long history, not only as a popular local snack, but it is also eaten different ways making the cracker a celebrated part of the local food culture. Meat or seafood contributes a rich umami to the soup. Vegetables and soy sauce add extra layers of umami to the traditional sembei jiru.RECIPE_HEADEND