Updated: Sep 28, 2021
"There's a pig in my soup!" This could the start of a corny joke...but it's not. In Japan this dish - Tonjiru, literally means "pork soup". People living in Western Japan and Hokkaido also call this Butajiru - literally, pig soup!
The key ingredients in this dish are (no prizes for guessing one of them!), pork and miso. The other ingredients can be populated from whatever happens to be in your veggie rack or your fridge when you when you prepare the dish - potato, sweet potato, carrot, onion etc etc. When I made the Tonjiru in the photo above, I used new potatoes, gobo (burdock in English), shiitake mushrooms and daikon. (You could just as easily use English winter vegetables like turnip or even sprouts - the idea is to fill the dish with healthy goodness and nutrition - there's no obligatory content apart from the pork and miso). The ingredients for this dish also differ regionally in Japan - people on the southern island of Kyushu use deep fried tofu and in Hokkaido, you'll often find people throwing in a handful of shredded cabbage. Ironically, the history of Tonjiru probably goes back a few hundred years when the eating of meat was prohibited in Japan. It's likely that Tonjiru started out as a dish containing wild boar meat, which wasn't always banned from the table. (Japan has an interesting history of meat bans which I'll be posting an article on soon). As you can imagine, Tonjiru is a winter dish when people need to eat something more substantial than miso soup.
I hope you try this out! You can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Tonjiru or scroll to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
If you want to try something a little more modern, you could do worse than take a look at my Japanese Corn soup here.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
(makes 2 portions)
2 slices, belly pork (approx. 250g)
3 fresh shiitake mushrooms,
35g gobo (burdock)
150g daikon (white radish), peeled & sliced into bite size pieces
70g carrot, peeled & sliced into bitesize pieces
2 baby potatoes, peeled & cut into bite size pieces
1/3 packed of konyaku, cut into bite size pieces
650ml japanese dashi stock*
1.5 tbsp sesame oil
0.5 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp miso
a little shichimi (japanese chilli) & 1 spring onion, finely chopped for garnishing
(i used a japanese dashi bag to make the dashi stock but you can make your own japanese dashi stock — see my recipes for how to make dashi stock in the recipe section of the site)
rinse the shiitake mushrooms, remove the stalks & cut into bite size pieces
peel off the skin of the gobo (burdock), pare it into thin strips, then soak it in water for 5 mins
heat the oil in a pan, add the carrot, pork, potatoes & daikon (white radish) to the pan and stir fry for 2-3 mins
add the stock, mushrooms, konyaku, mirin & soy sauce and cook for 10 - 15mins over a medium heat
dissolve the miso in a small bowl with a little of the dashi from the pan, then add to the pan & simmer for 10 mins
garnish with spring onion & shichimi
your ton-jiru dish is ready - serve with a bowl of rice