Sarasa jiru is a soup that is associated with the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival. The Kunchi Festival has a rich history dating back 380 years. The whole city of Nagasaki celebrates this autumn festival of the Suwa shrine.
The citizens of Nagasaki have passed down through the generations the unique Kunchi cuisine. Dishes include azuki beans cooked with rice, a simmered dish of vegetables called nishime, pomegranate seeds with pickled daikon and carrots, amazake a naturally sweet beverage, and sarasa jiru soup. The colorful soup includes three colors: pink kamaboko – steamed fish cake, white chikuwa – grilled fish cake, and green onions. The soup is finished with a delicate shiro (white) miso.
During the Edo period (1603-1868) the island of Dejima in Nagasaki was a busy trading port. Colorful fabrics were imported into Japan via Dejima island. The origins of the word sarasa can be traced back to the Javanese word that means a printed cotton. The colorful soup fits suitably for a festival or special event. An essential part of the Japanese meal is the umami-rich dashi stock for sarasa jiru. The umami brings out the flavor of the colorful ingredients even better.RECIPE_HEADEND