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Easy Japanese Recipes

Tonjiru (Pork & Vegetable Miso Soup) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

I’ve previously shared my Basic Tofu Miso Soup recipe and today I’d like to share my favorite miso soup recipe called Tonjiru (豚汁), literally meaning “pork (ton) soup (jiru)”.

Tonjiru (Pork & Vegetable Miso Soup) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Tonjiru is not as common as simple miso soup with tofu and seaweed, but some Japanese restaurants around San Francisco bay area do serve them and it’s one of popular miso soup in Japan.  Tonjiru usually have gobo (burdock root) and other root vegetables such as daikon and carrots, in a pork based soup stock.  The sauteed pork belly gives the soup nice umami flavor and the soup texture is different since it has so many ingredients.  Since it’s very flavorful, you can replace Dashi Stock with water if you like.  Personally I prefer dashi stock to add more flavor.

The weather in the Bay Area today is cold and cloudy/rainy so I hope a bowl of Tonjiru will warm you up a bit.  Enjoy!

Tonjiru (Pork & Vegetable Miso Soup) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Serves 4-6
  • 5 cups dashi
  • ½ Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ lb sliced pork belly, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp ground or minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 inch daikon
  • ½ gobo (burdock root)
  • 2 baby taro
  • ½ - 1 carrot
  • ⅓ block konnyaku (konjac)
  • 5 Tbsp. miso (I use awase miso)
  • ½ block tofu, cut into ½ inch cubicles
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  1. Make 5 cups of dashi stock. When dashi stock is ready, keep it aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cut all the ingredients into small pieces. If you are interested in Japanese way of cutting these veggies, you can follow Cutting Techniques page. Carrot and Gobo: Hangetsugiri (Semi-Circle) technique, Daikon and baby taro: Ichogiri (Quarter-Rounds) technique, Konnyaku: Tanzakugiri (Rectangles) technique, Onion: thinly sliced.

  3. In a frying pan, heat sesame oil on medium high heat and add the meat and ginger. Cook until nicely browned and set aside.

  4. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil on medium high and sauté onion until it is well coated with oil.

  5. Add gobo, daikon, baby taro, carrot, and other hard ingredients (like lotus root if you add any). Mix all together and then add konnyaku and soft ingredients (such as shimeji mushrooms if you add any). Stir until everything is well mixed.

  6. Pour dashi stock into the large pot.

  7. Add the meat and bring the soup to a boil.

  8. Right before it starts boiling, skim off the scum and fat from the soup. Simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 15-20 minutes depending on ingredients you put.
  9. Add miso using a strainer. If you don’t have one, use a ladle so you can make sure all miso is completely dissolved. Taste the soup before you add more miso. If you add tofu, it will dilute the soup a little bit, so you might want to add ½ Tbsp. more miso.

  10. Add Tofu and stir gently without breaking up the tofu.

  11. When you are ready to eat, reheat the miso soup on medium high heat. And please remember: NEVER LET THE SOUP BOIL because miso will lose flavor. Add green onion and serve immediately.

Editor’s Note: Pictures updated in June 2013.

Leave a Comment

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  • Min {Honest Vanilla} April 13, 2011, 2:10 am

    Mmmm delicious for a cold night in~ I love the addition of Konnyaku ♥ I’ve made dashi-jiru a few weeks back and thanks to your dashi recipe too as part of my reading references ;) Thanks again for sharing!

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 2:16 am

      Thank you Min! But nothing will beat your fish stock! I still can’t believe you cooked the homemade fish stock for the paella… Very dedicated work! Thanks for stopping by. It’s 2am here and time to sleep. Have a great evening there. :-)

  • Ellena April 13, 2011, 2:24 am

    Beautiful soup! This is something that I always want to learn. THanks for sharing this :)

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 11:24 pm

      You’re welcome & thanks Ellena! :-)

  • Allie April 13, 2011, 4:47 am

    Miso soup = yum! I love all of the pictures :)

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 11:24 pm

      Thank you Allie! :-)

  • Giulietta @ Alterkitchen April 13, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Wow, this soup looks wonderful! I love Japanese soup: they are very different from Italian one (also good)…

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 11:30 pm

      Hi Giulia! Thank you. Come to think of it… what’s the most authentic Italian soup?

  • Gourmantine April 13, 2011, 1:24 pm

    I’m a big miso soup fan, though I usually have the ones with spinach, I’m definitely going to try this one :)

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 11:33 pm

      Hi Gourmantine! My mom used to pack and freeze parboiled spinach when we have leftover, and added in miso soup when we are missing green color in dinner menu. Just remember that now. :-) Thanks for your visit!

  • Peggy April 13, 2011, 1:25 pm

    It’s pretty warm out right now, but I still wouldn’t mind a bowl of this soup! I love miso soups so much! =)

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 11:43 pm

      Hi Peggy! So nice your area is already warm. Here, it’s sometimes cold and then warm and back to cold.. going crazy! We drink a miso soup almost everyday if I cook Japanese food and each day different ingredients in it. Have you tried cold miso soup? It’s good too and my kids always prefer cold one.

  • Sandra April 13, 2011, 1:26 pm

    First of all, thank you for the cutting guide; that’s pretty awesome. I love, love, love the fact that you don’t shy away from pork. We love pork in our house. Hmm, pork and baked goods…oh well. Your soup looks wholesome and filling. Must check our teeny tiny international market for some of the ingredients. Love your sense of humor too:)

    • Nami April 15, 2011, 12:12 am

      Strange – I did leave a comment before but I don’t see it. Anyway I leave it again. Thank you Sandra! I’m glad you enjoyed looking at Japanese cutting techniques. I have trouble explaining in English sometimes so I thought “visual” guide would help. :-) I know… now I have to think of people who don’t have access to Japanese ingredients when I make recipes. I’ll try my best! I’m reaallly curious what you can find in the teeny tiny international market!

  • Mika April 13, 2011, 4:57 pm

    Perfect dish for a rainy day ; ) I was very suprised to find out that you put tofu in tonjiru.

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 11:45 pm

      Hi Mika-san! Eh? You don’t? I guess each region in Japan put different stuff… I’m pretty sure my mom put Tofu in it. Just extra healthy ingredient won’t hurt the taste. ;-)

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking April 13, 2011, 7:21 pm

    I love that you used pork belly, it looks like very tasty soup! Great and easy to follow tutorial ..thank you for sharing Nami!!!

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 11:54 pm

      Hi Sandra! Japanese use pork belly in many recipes. I always have a block of pork belly and/or sliced pork belly in my freezer. :-D

  • Manu April 13, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Sounds like a delicious soup! Love all the pictures too! :-)

    • Nami April 13, 2011, 11:55 pm

      Thank you Manu! Hope all the pictures were not too much… :-)

  • Beth Michelle April 13, 2011, 8:56 pm

    Yum! I love miso soup. This looks so good. I always love your photos, they are so inviting!

    • Nami April 14, 2011, 12:21 am

      Thank you Beth! I promise to improve my photo skills! ^_^

  • kat April 13, 2011, 11:16 pm

    I haven’t made this in a long time, maybe I’ll make this soon.

    • Nami April 15, 2011, 12:09 am

      Hi Kat! Just one more variety of miso soup. :-)

  • Adora's Box April 14, 2011, 2:27 am

    That must be the best tasting soup ever! I just love miso soup. Love pork, too. I can happily eat a big bowl of that with nothing else.

    • Nami April 15, 2011, 12:29 am

      Thank you Adora’s Box! I actually drink just this soup in a big Donburi bowl and I’m happy. I don’t even need main dish or a bowl of rice!

  • fooddreamer April 14, 2011, 3:33 pm

    Such a great recipe, it turns regular miso soup into a complete meal. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Nami April 15, 2011, 12:34 am

      Hi Carolyn! Thanks. It’s really a great miso soup. I wish Japanese restaurants here offered so everyone could try… too bad.

  • Firefly April 14, 2011, 4:56 pm

    YUMMY, my favorite soup. Any way you make it if it has miso in it I love it :) I’ll need to make this :) but first I need to get a few of those ingredients ;)

    • Nami April 15, 2011, 12:40 am

      Hi Suzana! Lately I realize these “ingredients” are the key for most people. I’m so used to live here where I can access Japanese ingredients so easily, and I have an assumption that my friends who see this website will be able to get the same thing. But now with all the foodie around the world, I should come up with some recipes that we don’t really need particular ingredinets… but kind of hard…

  • Manu April 14, 2011, 7:49 pm

    Nami… I LOVE pictures, to me they are never too much!!!! I am so happy I found your blog! I really really like it! I am giving you an award. You can retrieve it here: http://www.manusmenu.com/tuna-dip-antipasto-di-tonno :-)

    • Nami April 15, 2011, 12:42 am

      Hi Manu! Oh wow THANK YOUUUUUU! You are so sweet. I’m on my way to your site.

  • Biren @ Roti n Rice April 15, 2011, 10:56 am

    We love miso soup with pork as it is so hearty and tasty especially on colder days. Adding some konnyaku is a great idea. It looks so tasty and inviting. I would love to have some now with onigiri for my lunch. :)

    • Nami April 17, 2011, 3:04 am

      Hi Biren! You are eating Onigiri!!! You are funny. I know you cook a lot of Japanese food, but still, I would never imagined you make Onigiri for your lunch! Now I’m hungry…

  • Stephanie August 5, 2012, 3:07 pm

    I’ve always had basic miso soup before. Can’t wait to try this one! Love all the added veggies too!!

  • Angie December 20, 2012, 2:28 pm

    I made this for a “starter” for a dinner party the other night because we were going have sukiyaki and I wasn’t sure our guests could have waited for something warm, having just come in from the Montreal cold. It was a real hit despite the absence of konyyaku, gobo and satoimo. All had seconds or thirds! Thanks Nami! Just wanted to let you know that ginger is missing from your ingredients list.

    • Nami December 21, 2012, 2:08 pm

      I’m happy to hear you adjusted recipe and you all enjoyed Tonjiru! I’m going to add the ginger in ingredient list. Thank you for letting me know!

  • Vicki December 24, 2012, 12:38 am

    I am so glad I found this recipe! It is one of my favorite meals but never had the ‘guts’ to try it out and didn’t know how to make it..your post makes it work alright for me and beings it is cold and snowy here in Hokkaido I am going to enjoy making this! Now on to my shopping list for it! And Merry Christmas to you!

    • Nami December 26, 2012, 10:51 am

      Hi Vicki! I’m happy you like this recipe. I need to re-take pictures for this post so that it’s more appealing. I really love Tonjiru and make it often too. Ohhh it’s so cold in Hokkaido now, but having a nice soup like this (with good local vegetables!) must be wonderful!! Thank you so much for writing, Vicki! :)

  • donna mikasa June 11, 2013, 12:34 pm

    Oh, this looks so good, Nami! I’m glad that I saw this today on Facebook!
    Hoping to make it one evening for dinner. Yum!

    • Nami June 12, 2013, 11:09 pm

      I love Tonjiru more than regular miso soup. Hope you enjoy it! :)

  • minnie@thelady8home November 26, 2013, 5:56 am

    Such a warm delight for the freezing morning up here in East Coast. Trying to stay warm and craving some awesome Japanese food like this bowl of delicious looking tonjiru.

  • Angie Maniam November 26, 2013, 10:12 am

    Nami, I have made this numerous times and it has always come out fabulously! I have varied EVERYTHING on the list depending on what I had or could get, and it stays amazing. A very forgiving recipe, and an excellent method! Thanks for another winner!

    • Nami November 26, 2013, 12:00 pm

      Hi Angie! So happy to hear you enjoy this Tonjiru recipe! Yeah I also change things up based on ingredients I have in the kitchen. Thank you so much for your feedback!

  • Linda August 27, 2014, 6:08 am

    Mmmmm! Pork belly, miso and root veggies–talk about comfort food! I will definitely try this recipe out soon. One question, though–can you give us an idea, please, as to where we should look for konnyaku in an Asian market? Would it be in the refrigerated section, like tofu, or on the regular shelves like a dry good? Thanks!

    • Nami August 27, 2014, 7:26 pm

      Hi Linda! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. I love Tonjiru!! Konnyaku is usually located next to tofu, deep fried tofu…. could be near miso etc. The Asian store that I go to is separated into sections with each country. In Japanese section, konnyaku is near tofu in refrigerated section. Hope this helps!

      The package looks like this: http://www.justonecookbook.com/pantry/konjac-konnyaku/