Miso soup is a staple of Japanese meals.
Traditionally in Japan, soup is served at all 3 daily meals not just dinner as most westerners might expect. There is either a clear soup or miso soup served with every meal in most households with miso soup being the most commonly prepared. Miso soup is the main dish in a traditional Japanese breakfast, accompanied simply with a bowl of rice and pickled vegetables.
Feeling a little guilty about this morning’s pancakes are you?
There are many, many different types of miso. In areas that are more ethnically diverse you will probably find a package of red or white miso, or possibly a mixture of the two in your local grocery store. I have found many varieties in my local asian grocery store but I have to look very carefully at the packaging to discover how they are different. There is white, red and a red, white blend available. Some of the packages have dashi seasoning in them which is very important to know so that you don’t add more of this flavorful seasoning while cooking.
Been there done that.
White miso is sweeter and often used in winter and the darker saltier red miso is more often used in summertime. Generally speaking the darker the color of the miso paste, the saltier it will be.
Aside from the color of the miso the main means of varying the flavor throughout the day is by the garnish that is incorporated. At breakfast you may find soft silken tofu paired with green onion or seaweed. Later in the day you might have meat or fish together with shredded cabbage and fried tofu with green onions, for example.
During the fall or winter seasons it is common to see the more substantial Pork Miso Soup. This is miso soup is more like a stew with large vegetables and meat to make it more of a meal in itself and like the best stews-
even better the next day.
Like most stews once you have the roué or base you can add any vegetables and spices you like best and voilà, you have your very own creation. Use what you have available to you and if you cannot find konnyaku and really don’t even care because it looks strange, don’t worry about it. Replace it with half a block of medium firm tofu cut into large cubes.
I like to use sesame oil with the pork because I think it adds more complexity and interesting flavor to the overall soup base but vegetable oil is more commonly used.
I would definitely try to find the core ingredients: miso, daikon, carrot, potato, pork and green onion. I used 2 different kinds of starch in this recipe: russet potato and taro root. Taro are tricky to handle but I love the soft glutinous texture when they are cooked so love to use these during the colder weather as often as I can.
You will find no two recipes are the same when you search for tonjiru or butajiru or pork miso soup. Don’t be afraid to move outside your comfort zone with this recipe and branch out with a few new ingredients and be sure to send me your comments!
Be careful, this soup may just become your new comfort food.
KONNYAKU Grey colored, translucent loaf, also found in noodle shapes,made from the starch of the devil’s tongue plant.It has no calories but is a good source of fiber. Always parboil before use to remove the limestone odor. Keeps in fridge 1-2 weeks by changing the water every few days. Used mainly to add texture more than flavor to dishes.
TARO ROOT A starchy tuberous root
Pork Miso Soup - Tonjiru
- January 12, 2020
- 40 min
- Print this
- 6 c dashi stock (if using miso with dashi use 6 cups water)
- sesame oil for cooking
- 1/4 lb. pork shoulder or pork with some fat, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 T minced ginger
- 5 T white miso paste
- 3 large carrots, rolling cut about 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 taro potato, quartered(optional)
- 1-2 russet potato, 1/2 inch half moon slices
- 1/2 konnyaku cake, parboil about 1 minute before slicing into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 small daikon radish, peeled and sliced into half moon shapes
- 3 green onion thinly sliced for garnish
- red pepper or sriracha (optional)
- Step 1
- To prepare the taros: cut off each end and peel the skin. Place in a basket/strainer and sprinkle liberally with salt and let them stand 5 minutes. Shake the strainer and wash the taros under running water to remove the sliminess and salt then set aside until you are ready to use.
- Step 2
- If using miso with dashi skip this step: Dissolve instant dashi in water according to package directions. Set aside.
- Step 3
- Heat large stock pot with 1-2 tablespoons sesame or vegetable oil to medium high. Add pork and cook 1- 2 minutes then add ginger and cook til fragrant. Add dashi stock and bring to a simmer. Remove any scum that comes to surface while pork simmers about 15 minutes.
- Step 4
- Add larger vegetables and cook about 5 minutes than the rest, except for the green onion and cook another 5- 10 minutes until they are all tender. Blend in the miso 1 tablespoon or so at a time. Use a large ladle and fill it with broth then add some miso paste and stir gently to dissolve the paste before adding to the soup broth. Reheat but do not boil. When ready to serve add a little green onion to each individual bowl. Note: A little Sriracha tastes good if you like a little heat.