Recipe for ‘Shijimi-jiru’ from the ‘Midnight Diner’

This shellfish chowder is recommended by the owner of the late-opening restaurant in the manga to fight fatigue and cure a hangover.

22.09.2022

WordsClémence Leleu

SHINYASHOKUDO NO RYORICHO ©2015 Yaro ABE/ Nami IIJIMA/SHOGAKUKAN

What if the staple dish of miso soup was replaced with something else? This is what the chef at the Midnight Diner, devised by mangaka Yaro Abe, offers his clients. The protagonist runs an izakaya in Tokyo’s Kabukicho district. 

This clam chowder, named shijimi-jiru, is generally made from clams found in Lake Shinji, located north-east of Shimane prefecture. Although the activity is experiencing a slight decline nowadays, clam harvests were so abundant in the mid-20th century that the shellfish were sold by elderly women pulling a cart through the streets of Matsue, the largest city bordering the lake. 

The chef at the Midnight Diner recommends this dish to overcome fatigue or recover from an evening of heavy drinking, but shijimi are most succulent in summer, when they are especially large and their flesh is plump. 

For the uninitiated, each short story in the Midnight Diner is based around a character sitting at the bar in the establishment and the dish they order. All the shady goings-on of the Tokyo nightlife then scroll around them. Yaro Abe’s manga has been emulated by others. It was adapted into a series with the feel of a Japanese drama, Midnight Diner, aired on Netflix. A cookery book based on the manga has now been created, in which four Japanese chefs have transcribed 75 dishes straight from the kitchen of the owner of the diner in the manga and from Yaro Abe’s imagination.

Serves 2

Ingredients

250 g shijimi (with sand removed)

5 cm Japanese spring onion, chopped

1 piece ginger, finely chopped

1 to 2 sprigs coriander, chopped

1 tsp shrimp, dried and chopped

1⁄2 tbsp sake

1⁄2 tsp nam pla (fish sauce)

Pinch of salt

1⁄2 tbsp sesame oil

Method

In a saucepan, heat the Japanese spring onion, ginger, coriander and shrimp over a low heat with the sesame oil. 

When the mixture starts to become fragrant, add the shijimi and brown it.

Add the sake, then two cups of water. 

Let it boil and skim. 

Add salt and flavour with nam pla if desired.

 

 La Cantine de Minuit : Le livre de cuisine (‘Midnight Diner: The Cookbook’) (2019), a recipe book by Yaro Abe and Nami Iijima published by Le Lézard Noir (not currently available in English).

SHINYASHOKUDO NO RYORICHO ©2015 Yaro ABE/ Nami IIJIMA/SHOGAKUKAN