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 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!
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- 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
- Make 5 cups of dashi stock. When dashi stock is ready, keep it aside.
- 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.
- In a frying pan, heat sesame oil on medium high heat and add the meat and ginger. Cook until nicely browned and set aside.
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil on medium high and sauté onion until it is well coated with oil.
- 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.
- Pour dashi stock into the large pot.
- Add the meat and bring the soup to a boil.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add Tofu and stir gently without breaking up the tofu.
- 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.