The flowers in bloom outside are tricking my mind into thinking the weather has turned warmer. As a result, I feel like I might be getting sick again since I’ve failed to bring a warm jacket on many occasions lately. My muscles are also aching like crazy from some heavy lifting work for our house construction and all I feel like having right now to recuperate is to drink some hot soup and lie in bed.
By aching muscles, I mean literally cannot type. I can hardly lift my arms as they are just so sore. I feel like I’ve just done a marathon, except with my arms. It’s a real wonder how I’m managing to write this post…It doesn’t help that I only had about 5 hours of sleep last night (that was my own fault, was having too much fun partying….)
So I’m glad that I actually made tonjiru (Japanese pork miso soup) the other day and have enough leftovers to not have to make a new batch. Tonjiru is by far one of my favourite soups that is so full of flavour but is still quite easy to make and is perfect for taking away winter blues or as a hearty soup to warm the soul.
I’ve seen quite a few different ways to make this and my favourite is Nami’s fabulous recipe.
However, I have made my own version as this is how I’ve always liked and made it. I call it the ‘Jenny’s tonjiru reinvented’ as it’s quite different to the traditional tonjiru in that it uses soy sauce and mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine). If you’re looking for the classic variety and want to try a recipe by a Japanese native, hop over to Nami’s blog for this and many more great Japanese recipes.
It’s probably not a surprise that pork and carrots go well with a slightly sweet soup base as I think they are naturally well paired flavours, so this soup was great with that added mirin which gave it that extra sweet kick. If you don’t like it to be slightly sweet (or don’t have mirin and soy sauce) feel free to omit these and make just the classic miso soup base.
Tonjiru (Japanese pork miso soup)
• 2 pork chops (this is what I used but you can use 200g of any pork cut, like pork belly or pork ribs), cut into 1 inch chunks or slices
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp mirin
• 5 cups dashi stock (follow dashi powder packet instructions)
• 1 brown onion, finely sliced
• 1 medium carrot, cut into chunks
• 2 potatoes, cut into chunks
• 3 tbsp white miso
1. Pour cooking oil into a medium pot on medium high heat, fry pork and onions until meat is browned on both sides and garlic and onions are fragrant but not browned. Take care to constantly stir them so they don’t stick to the bottom. Some stuck bits are ok as they will be deglazed later.
2. Pour in prepared dashi stock, soy sauce and mirin and bring to a boil.
3. Add in potatoes and carrots and cook for roughly 10-15 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are soft enough to eat.
4. Just before serving, dissolve miso in a small bowl with 2 tbsp of warm water and stir through the pot. Alternatively, you can add in miso paste using a sifter. This is to ensure there are no chunks of undissolved miso in the soup. Taste the soup as you add miso as it can be quite salty. Add more water or more miso based on how salty you like it.
5. Serve hot with a bowl of rice.
Question time: What’s your favourite soup? Do you serve your soups with grains or breads or do you like to drink it by itself?