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In traditional Japanese calendar you find the first day of winter in November. This Japanese first day of winter is called “RITTOU (立冬)”, and an official date of “RITTOU (立冬)” in 2017 is November 7th. When RITTOU comes, our daily life shifts to winter mode including foods.
As I introduced in my earlier post, TONJIRU (miso soup with pork and vegetables) is one of popular Japanese winter comfort soul food.
○Learning about Japanese Soul Food –> Click here
○What do you do with “YUZU-KOSHOU” ? –> Click here
TONJIRU is more like a stew with lots of pork and vegetables. This soul food soup is considered as a nutritious meal because you can consume protein and various vegetables from one bowl of TONJIRU. If you serve a bowl of rice at the same time, rice and TONJIRU is a perfect healthy meal in Japan. Moreover, if you add a drop of YUZU-KOSHOU (柚子胡椒) to TONJIRU, you will enjoy fantastic marriage you have never experienced.
You can purchase precooked TONJIRU at Japanese grocery stores, but it is much tastier and healthier if you cook it from scratch just like a homemade soup. You may say “From Scratch?? Even taking Dashi (Japanese Broth)??” Don’t worry! There is a short-cut which guarantees quality.
Root vegetables are ideal vegetable selection for TONJIRU. These vegetables warm the body, which is great for the winter season. Regarding meat selection it has to be pork because TONJIRU means “Pork Soup.” More specific, “TON (豚)” means pork, and “JIRU (汁)” means soup.
No strict rule. Cut pork in easy-to-eat size.
Peel skins of Japanese White Radish, Potato, and Carrot, then roughly cut them into one bite size.
With back side of a knife scrape skin of burdock, and burdock need to be roughly cut into one bite size. Please make sure cut burdock must be soaked into water in order to remove harshness from burdock before cooking. Below video shows burdock preparation :
Green onions need to be cut into 2cm long.
Konnyaku is made from Konnyaku potato which belongs to taro potato family. Konnyaku is known as low calorie food with high-fiber. However, Konnyaku has scum, so we Japanese remove scum from Konnyaku before our use. It is popular TONJIRU ingredient in Japan. I though Konnyaku is hard to get or pricy in oversea as a home meal product. However, if you are Konnyaku lover and would like to include it to your TONJIRU, please tear them into small pieces with your fingers or spoon (no knife cutting) and quickly poach Konnyaku in hot water. Then, apply them into pot with cut vegetables. Video below shows the way of removing scum from Konnyaku:
◆Soup base making
I recommend you should select organic product of Katsuo dashi pack at the store. Each product instructs ideal amount of water per pack on its package, so that please make sure that you will follow package instruction and make 10 cups of Katsuo dashi in advance.
3．Important cooking point for TONJIRU
Good addictive-free Katsuo dashi and organic miso will make TONJIRU different. There are so many kinds of miso products in Japan since each region has its own traditional miso culture. You can use any types of miso for TONJIRU, but “AWASE-MISO (Combined Miso)” is popular selection.
４．How to cook TONJIRU
When you complete preparation of vegetables, meat and Katsuo Dashi soup, you are now ready to cook TONJIRU!
Heat a stew pot and apply sesame oil, then add cut pork meats and stir fry them in high heat without making any burns. When color of entire meats change, it is time to add all vegetables. Stir fly all in the pot for a few minutes, then pour Katsuo dashi into the pot and bring it to boil. Dissolve Miso (2 table spoons) into hot Katsuo dashi. Bring down heat to medium heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. As the scum rises to the surface, skim off it carefully.
For finishing touch dissolve another miso (4 table spoons) into the pot, and done!!
Pour TONJIRU into your favorite bowl, then sprinkle cut green onions and place grained ginger or YUZU-KOSHOU on top.
Thank you very much for your reading!!