Tonjiru (or Butajiru) is a kind of Miso Soup with pork and a lot of root vegetables such as Gobo (burdock root) and carrot. Even though it is a Miso soup, Tonjiru tastes very different from ordinary Miso Soup. Tonjiru has a distinct pork flavor and strong taste from Gobo. Don’t get alarmed because of Gobo, it actually tastes very good. All the flavor of the pork and vegetables mix very well, and you will like it if you like Miso Soup.
It is a dinner kind of soup rather than morning one because of its complex flavor and a lot more cutting involved with many ingredients. Sometimes people like to put some sweet potatoes or taro, depending on each home, therefore it could be very filling. We used Dashi here, but water could be OK to use for the soup. Because there will be a lot of flavors from the ingredients, the Dashi flavor could be mostly masked by them anyway. We added pork toward the end of cooking because it gets tough if cooked too long.
Home cooked Tonjiru is of course the best, but the best Tonjiru you can get outside the house is at Tonkatsu restaurants. They know about pork very well, so that makes sense. If you’re lucky enough to live near great Tonkatsu restaurants, go there. For the rest of us, here is the recipe to try at home!
- 1/5 lb (90g) pork, thinly sliced
- 1/2 carrot
- about 15 cm Gobo (burdock root)
- about 5cm Daikon
- 1/2 block of Konnyaku
- 2 green onions
- 3 C (720ml) Dashi
- 3 Tbsp Miso Paste
- Cut pork into small pieces. Cut carrot and Daikon into quarters, length wise, then slice thinly (looking like little fans). Shave Gobo thinly. Cut Konnyaku into 2" long thin slices. And finally cut green onions into 1/4" (5mm) pieces.
- Let Dashi boil in a pot and add carrot, Gobo, Daikon, and Konnyaku, and cook until the vegetables are tender at medium heat.
- Turn down the heat to low, and add meat. When meat change color, add Miso paste and stir. Add green onion and serve.