Tonjiru is a savory pork and vegetable miso soup with an excellent source of B vitamins, fiber, and minerals and it’s nourishing and oh-soul-fulfilling!
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 the San Francisco Bay Area do serve this miso soup and it’s one of the popular kinds of miso soup in Japan.
Tonjiru usually has 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 broth 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!
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Tonjiru is a savory pork and vegetable miso soup you can easily make at home. An excellent source of B vitamins, fiber, and minerals, this healthy soup is nourishing and oh-soul-fulfilling. You'd love it on a cold-weather day!
- 5 cups dashi (1200 ml)
- ½ Tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
- ½ lb sliced pork belly (227 g; cut into small pieces)
- 1 tsp ginger (ground or minced)
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
- 1 onion
- 2 inch daikon radish
- ½ gobo (burdock root)
- 2 Satoimo (Japanese Taro)
- ½-1 carrot
- ⅓ block konnyaku (konjac)
- 5 Tbsp miso (I use awase miso; taste and adjust the amount according to your miso)
- 7 oz medium-firm tofu (½ of one package; cut into ½" cubes)
- 1 green onion/scallion (thinly sliced)
Cut all the ingredients into small pieces. If you are interested in the Japanese way of cutting these veggies, you can follow the 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 no longer pink and slightly browned. Set aside.
In a large pot (I used a Dutch oven here), heat the 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 combined.
Pour dashi into the large pot.
Add the meat and bring the soup to a boil. Skim off the scum and fat from the soup. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes (cooking time varies depending on the ingredients you added).
Once the ingredients are tender, turn off the heat. Add miso using a strainer. If you don’t have one, let the miso completely dissolved in the ladle first. 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-low heat. NEVER let the soup boil because miso will lose the flavor. Sprinkle green onion and serve immediately.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
Editor’s Note: Pictures updated in June 2013.