Pretty much everyone knows about miso soup. But have you ever heard of "tonjiru" (or butajiru)? It's like the ultimate miso soup packed with tender pork and a tonne of extra veggies to make it more filling and delicious! Tonjiru is a comforting Japanese home dish, you've gotta try it!
What is tonjiru?
Tonjiru is a miso based soup made with pork and vegetables. It's very very common within Japanese home cooking, my mum probably made a lot more Tonjiru Miso Soup than ordinary Miso Soup when I was growing up.
It's warming, comforting and tasty. This dish is great to make in a big batch and feed your family something delicious and nutritious.
The reason this is such a popular home cooking dish is simple, it's more filling than your basic miso soup.
The meaning of "tonjiru"
In Japanese, "ton" (豚) means pork and shiru (汁) means soup. These words come together to make Tonjiru which means 'Pork Soup', so pork is kind of a must item to have for the dish.
What goes in Tonjiru?
Tonjiru is made with a dashi base. Dashi is a kind of Japanese stock, there are a few different base ingredients.
- Kombu dashi (dried kelp)
- Katsuobushi dashi (bonito flakes from skipjack tuna)
- Shiitake Dashi (dried shiitake mushrooms)
- Niboshi (dried sardines)
In today's recipe I will make the tonjiru with a mixture of kombu and katsuobushi, this is called "awase dashi" and we have a recipe on how to make it here.
(Note: Our dashi recipe makes 1 litre (4 ¼ cups) but this tonjiru recipe requires 1.5 litres (6 ½ cups) so you will need to increase the ingredients by x1.5. )
If you don't have dashi or the ingredients to make it, you can just use water but the flavour won't have so much depth.
There are 3 types of miso in Japan
- Shiro miso (White miso)
- Aka Miso (Red miso)
- Awase Miso (Mix)
Although white miso is probably most commonly used for this dish, you can use any miso paste for this recipe (don't use the instant miso powder though!).
The popularity really depends on the area of Japan, we're quite famous for our dishes that vary from region to region.
For example, I was born and grew up in Aichi prefecture where red miso (hatcho miso) is well known, so when I think of miso I think of red miso, but it's a different story elsewhere. I like using red miso for tonjiru.
You can use your favourite kind of miso to suit your tastes.
While ordinary Miso Soup only contains a few ingredients, Tonjiru Miso Soup has so many more ingredients such as:
- Spring Onion
- Daikon radish
- Root vegetables
I can say this is one of the most homely dishes I can think of in Japan and because it's quite nutritious, it's the perfect accompaniment for a Japanese style set meal which consists of a main meat/fish dish served with a side of rice and pickles!
Enough talking, let's get started! 🙂