Tonjiru (butajiru) is a variant of Japanese miso soup where the diluted miso is added after simmering small pieces of pork and vegetables in dashi.
Scratching your head in bewilderment, are you? Don’t worry. Most people think there is only one way to make miso soup but that’s really not the case.
Think of the basic miso soup as a canvas to which you can add almost anything — fish, clams, shrimps, chicken, vegetables, mushrooms and even dumplings. And creating variations is no disrespect to Japanese cuisine.
This time, we add pork and vegetables to miso soup. Wood ears too. You know, the fungus. It’s delicious after it has absorbed the flavors of the broth. Because of the addition of pork, this miso soup does not cook in a jiffy because the meat needs time to tenderize.
Tonjiru (Butajiru): Pork and Vegetables Miso Soup
- 1 small handful wood ears
- 1 small onion
- 1 half-inch knob ginger
- 300 grams pork belly or shoulder
- 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
- 6 cups dashi
- ½ cup julienned carrot
- 1 cup green beans or yard-long beans, cut into two-inch lengths
- 2 heaping tablespoons miso paste
- sliced scallions to garnish
- Place the wood ears in a bowl and pour in enough hot water to cover.
- Peel and thinly slice the onion.
- Peel and grate the ginger.
- Thinly slice the pork.
- Heat the sesame seed oil in a pot. Spread the pork slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add the ginger and onion slices to the pork; continue cooking with occasional stirring until the onion slices are soft.
- Pour the dashi into the pot.
- Simmer the pork for about 20 minutes or until tender.
- Drain the now-swollen wood ears and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Add the wood ears, carrot and beans to the pork. Cover the pot and simmer until the vegetables are done.
- Place the miso paste in a bowl and add a cup of the hot broth. Stir until no lumps remain.
- Pour the diluted miso paste into the pot and stir. Taste. Add more salt, if needed.
- Serve thr pork and vegetables miso soup topped with sliced scallions.
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