With just a few tips, you can improve your standard 'Tonjiru'! This method will bring out the sweetness of the vegetables, softens the pork, and smells good. It also holds back on the oil, resulting in a low calorie soup.
Ingredients: 3-4 servings (although 2 people can finish it up in my home!)
Cut the vegetables (I cut the daikon radish into quarter-rounds, sliced the carrot, green onions into chunks, and shredded the burdock). Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces.
Put all the vegetables in cold water (about a liter) into a saucepan, and turn on the heat to high. When it comes to a boil, skim the scum from the surface and turn down the heat to low.
Add half of miso and sake, cover with a lid and continue to simmer until the vegetables have soften.
While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the pork. When the water comes to the boil, turn it off, and add the pork for about 15 seconds. Drain.
Once the vegetables are cooked through, put the pork and dissolve the remaining miso. Add the soy sauce to taste. If you like, add a little dashi powder for a boost of flavor, but It's also fine without it.
Drop a few drops of sesame oil into a ladle and mix into the soup. Take care not to use too much sesame oil. When the pork is cooked through, it's ready to serve.
※I always have taro root stocked in my freezer, so we use them frozen, but if you are using fresh ones, peel them first.
※Sometimes my daughter asks me to replace the taro root with Japanese sweet potato. The soup becomes slightly sweet, but it's just as tasty.
Story Behind this Recipe
I improved my recipe after watching a TV programme on the secrets of cooking Tonjiru the professional way.
The key is: 1- Run hot water over pork to remove the excess fat and protein that forms the scum. At the same time, it seals the flavour and aroma inside. 2- Cook vegetables from cold water. It tastes better this way than frying the vegetables in oil first. 3- Don't add Japanese soup stock (dashi) powder from the beginning. Use it sparingly to adjust the taste. 4-Add miso half at a time. The fist time miso is added, it is to help the vegetables absorb more flavour. The second time is for adjusting the taste. 5- The timing to add the pork is important. Add it at the end so it remains aromatic.