Tonjiru is pork miso soup with lots of vegetables.I substituted vegetables such as Japanese burdock root, which is hard to find overseas, to make it full of umami.
We also have burdock in Finland. When I first moved to Finland, I saw it in the supermarket and happily bought some. Although it was thicker than Japanese burdocks, I thought it would be okay and started to cook it. But it was very difficult because of its strong lye. I had to put on gloves, cut it into thin strips, and soak it in vinegar water to remove the bitterness. After all that hard work, the burdock became so soft. I remember feeling very sad, because I love the crunchy texture of Japanese burdock.
The burdock that I cooked was sold in Finland as Western burdock. It was quite different from the Japanese burdock. So I made a recipe for Tonjiru, pork miso soup that is delicious even without burdock.
Garlic is the Key
I always add garlic to pork miso soup for one reason only: it tastes good. You can start with just ginger and add garlic later on to change the flavor, but garlic is definitely better, so I add it from the beginning.
Garlic in pork miso soup? I know many of Japannese may think wired about it, but it is a great idea to try.
Konjac is Must
Tonjiru, Pork Miso Soup with Lots of Vegetables
- Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces, the daikon, carrot, potatoe, onion, konjac, and mushroom into thin slices.
- Put sesame oil and the cut ingredients in a pan and fry lightly.
- Once the oil has been thoroughly mixed in, add water and dashi powder, and simmer until the carrots and daikon become soft.
- Turn off the heat, add miso and dissolve thoroughly.
- Grate the ginger and garlic and add to the pot.
- Cover with a lid and leave for a while to let the ingredients to absorb the flavors.