Suiton (すいとん)

    Suiton on black with maple leaf bowl

    Explore the delightful world of Suiton in Japan, a traditional dish made with flour and water, simmered into tasty bite-sized pieces in savory soup. With various regional names and unique recipes, Suiton reflects Japan’s diverse culinary heritage. This article unfolds the story behind Suiton’s history, regional nuances, and cultural significance, offering a flavorful journey that’s sure to captivate your taste buds and curiosity. Join us in discovering the simple yet fascinating allure of Suiton!

    What is Suiton?

    Suiton wooden bowl

    Suiton is a dish originating from Gunma prefecture, created by turning flour dough into small pieces through methods like shredding, rolling, or scooping with a spoon, followed by boiling in soup. To make Suiton, locals added water to flour, creating a dumpling-sized dough that is then boiled in soup. Locals made this type of dumpling with gluten-containing grains or nuts ground into powder, mixed with water, and dropped into hot water or soup. How it’s served varies based on the cook’s effort, ingenuity, or local customs. There are different variations, including simple ones resembling dango made by kneading with water and dropping into hot water, and zoni-style ones prepared with miso soup or clear soup.

    Suiton History

    Suiton soup

    The word “Suiton” has theories suggesting it originates from “taking and throwing” flour in water or “dad stirring the pot.” Also known by other names like “Tsumerikko,” “Otsuyu Dango,” and “Nejikko,” each reflecting the unique culture of different regions. The term “suidan” first appeared around the Nanbokucho period, but its exact culinary meaning remains unclear. The preparation method for Suiton evolved, and the hand-made wheat flour format we know today emerged in the late Edo period. During the Edo period to the pre-war era, there were specialized stalls and restaurants for Suiton, making it a popular taste among the common people. In the mid-Taisho era, the number of Suitonya decreased, but after the Great Kanto Earthquake, Suitonya emerged in the burnt-out areas, reflecting the challenging food situation at the time.

    In Gunma, a region known for practicing double crops of rice and wheat, the production of wheat flour has a long history, leading to the popularity of various flour-based dishes like okirikomi and Manju as local cuisine. One such dish is “Suiton,” made by dissolving flour and water. Although Suiton is made throughout Gunma, the ingredients and names may vary by region. For instance, Ota City’s version often uses rice flour, while in Fujioka City, it is called “Tochanagejiru” despite being made with wheat flour. 

    Name

    Zoom in suiton in red bowl with different veggies

    The term “Suiton” locals used across Japan, but its name changes depending on the region, such as “Hittsumi,” “Hatto,” “Tsumeri,” “Tottenage,” “Tochanage,” “Odansu,” “Hinnobe,” and “Dagojiru.” Each region has unique ingredients, soup stock, and cooking methods, making these suiton-like dishes distinct local specialties. Even within the same region, households may have different cooking methods and dish names. In general, suiton dishes can be broadly categorized into soy sauce or miso flavors, and variations in flavor can also arise from different water amounts or preparation techniques, such as using a spoon, tearing by hand, shaping manually, or otherwise.

    Peace Learning Day at Suiton 

    suiton with cabbage and cauliflower

    Established by Suiton no Kai, engaged in grassroots peace activities in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture, the Peace Day has its roots on August 15, 1945 (Showa 20), marking the beginning of enduring peace. This significant day serves as an opportunity to educate about peace, especially for children. The organization discusses the senselessness and sorrow of war and atomic bombs while sharing a meal of “Suiton,” a substitute food during wartime, to illustrate food shortages and emphasize the importance of peace. Japan Anniversary Association officially recognized the anniversary. Across Japan, on this day, people indulge in wartime sweets and participate in events to remember past wars.

    Suiton FAQ

    Seasons for eating suiton

    Suiton became a go-to choice when rice was scarce, particularly during times of food shortages. Compared to other local wheat flour dishes, it gained popularity as an easy-to-enjoy everyday meal since there’s no need for complicated kneading or cutting of the dough. People loved it not only for its simplicity but also because it was effortless to make – just by mixing flour with water. 

    How to eat suiton?

    To enjoy Suiton, start by adding vegetables you have at home, cut into bite-sized pieces, to a broth made from dried sardines, and let it simmer. Adjust the flavor with soy sauce or miso. Next, mix flour dissolved in water with a spoon, shape it into a ball, and boil it for a few minutes – that’s it! Feel free to customize it by adding your favorite vegetables. 

    Suiton Recipe

    Suiton with some carrots and green onions on top

    Suiton Ingredients

    Ingredients of Suiton for 4 personsMeasurements
    Flour150g
    Water 150g
    Japanese white radish 60g
    Carrot 40g
    Satoimo46g
    Shiitake mushroom 50g
    Green onion 6g
    Fried tofu 30g
    Soy sauce 35g
    Sweet sake 14g
    Dashi soup60g

    How to make Suiton?

    STEP
    Prepare the flour

    Knead the flour with water (so that it is hard enough to be scooped out with a spoon).

    STEP
    Cut the vegetables and boil

    Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and boil them in dashi stock. Pour the stock into a pot, add the vegetables and bring to the boil.

    STEP
     Add the tofu

    When the vegetables are about 70% soft, add the fried tofu.

    STEP
    Season to taste and serve

    When it boils, add mirin and season with soy sauce.

    Where to buy Suiton?

    Usaburo Chaya (茶屋 卯三郎)

    suiton from Usaburo Chaya

    Chaya Usaburo is a well-loved restaurant known for its delicious rice and mochi rice cake dishes. They use a special sticky rice called “Nasu Shiratori Rice,” carefully cultivated by local farmers in the Nasu area. The restaurant has a cozy and nostalgic atmosphere, resembling a countryside home, making visitors feel like they’re at their grandparents’ place. One of their standout dishes is “Baaba no Suiton,” featuring a hearty mix of vegetables and chunky suiton. True to its name, this dish captures the gentle and comforting taste of the countryside, perfectly complementing the suiton.

    Address: 2727-344 Takaku Otoyudo Higashi, Nasu-cho, Nasu-gun, Tochigi Prefecture 325-0303
    Phone number: 11:00 – 15:00 (LO) *Weekdays 14:30 (LO)
    Hours open: 11:00 – 15:00 (LO) *Weekdays 14:30 (LO)
    Website: https://usaburou.com/

    Suiton on black with maple leaf bowl

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