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tonjiru (pork and vegetable miso soup)


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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total: 40 minutes

Servings: 4


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Step 1

It's easier to cut pork belly if it's slightly frozen, so put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before you cut. Meanwhile, gather all the ingredients.

Step 2

Take out the pork from the freezer and cut it into 1-inch pieces.

Step 3

Scrape the gobo skin with the back of your knife. The flavor of the gobo is right underneath the skin; therefore, you only need to scrape off the outer skin. Do not use a peeler.

Step 4

From the end of gobo, make a cross incision about 1 inch deep. This helps "sharpening" the gobo easier. Rotate as you shave the end of the gobo, like how you sharpen a pencil with a knife. Soak the shaved gobo in water to prevent discoloring.

Step 5

Discard the dirty water and rinse gobo with running water.

Step 6

Cut off both ends of taro and peel the sides with the knife (or peeler).

Step 7

Cut the taro into ⅓ inch slices and soak in water to remove the sliminess.

Step 8

Cut the onion in half lengthwise and cut into thin slices.

Step 9

Peel and cut the daikon half lengthwise.

Step 10

Cut in half again (now they are quarters) and cut into ⅛ inch slices. If you have skinnier daikon, cut into thin half-moon-shaped slices.

Step 11

Peel and cut the carrot in half lengthwise, and then slice thinly.

Step 12

Cut the konnyaku into small and thin rectangular pieces.

Step 13

Sprinkle ¼ tsp salt and rub well with hands. Leave stand for 5 minutes. Tip: Salt releases water along with the unwanted odor.

Step 14

In the meantime, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the konnyaku.

Step 15

Cook konnyaku for 2-3 minutes and drain the water. (Tip: This helps to remove the unwanted smell.) Set aside.

Step 16

Slice the negi diagonally.

Step 17

Remove excess oil on aburaage with a piece of paper towel.

Step 18

Cut in half and thinly slice it.

Step 19

Peel and grate the ginger. You'll need 1 tsp of grated ginger.

Step 20

Cut the green onions into thin small rounds which we will use for garnish on top of the miso soup. Keep them in the bowl.

Step 21

In a large pot (I use this Le Creuset), heat 1 Tbsp sesame oil over medium heat.

Step 22

Add the pork belly and stir fry with a spatula.

Step 23

When the pork is no longer pink, add the onion.

Step 24

Stir fry and add daikon and carrot slices.

Step 25

When ingredients are coated with oil, add gobo and taro.

Step 26

Add konnyaku, aburaage, negi, and dashi. The dashi should be just enough to cover the ingredients. If not enough, add more dashi (if you have any) or water.

Step 27

Stir to mix and close the lid to bring it to boil.

Step 28

When boiling, lower the heat and skim off the scum and fat from the soup.

Step 29

Cook, covered with the lid, on simmer until root vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Step 30

When an inserted skewer on a tough and thick vegetable pierces through, it's done cooking. Turn off the heat. If you are preparing ahead, stop here and let cool completely before storing the pot in the refrigerator.

Step 31

For the best flavor and fragrance, miso should be added right before serving if possible. Add 5 Tbsp miso using a strainer (Tip: always start adding a little less than the recipe says; each brand/type of miso has different saltiness). If you don’t have one, let the miso completely dissolved in the ladle first before releasing it to the soup. Taste the soup. If it's too salty, add dashi (if you have) or water. If the soup is not enough flavor, add more miso.

Step 32

I added more miso (1 Tbsp) here. When you are done with miso, add grated ginger. Tip: When you add tofu (always add tofu after miso as it is delicate), make sure your miso soup has a slightly stronger taste because the moisture from the tofu will dilute the flavor.

Step 33

Tear tofu into small pieces and add them. You can alternatively cut the tofu into cubes instead of tearing it. Tip: Tearing add more surface of tofu which will absorb more flavor of miso soup.

Step 34

When you are ready to serve, reheat the miso soup on medium-low heat and keep it at a low simmer. NEVER let the miso soup boil because miso will lose the flavor.

Step 35

Serve in the miso soup bowl, sprinkle green onion, and serve immediately.

Step 36

Let the miso soup cool completely before storing it in the refrigerator. Consume within 5 days.