Cooking with Anime by YumPenguinSnacks!
Hello everyone, it's me, your friendly neighborhood anime foodie! I have spent my last week surrounded by youths, so I can't tell you how nice it feels to be writing to you guys about a recipe I'm passionate about, rather than getting bowled over by headstrong 7th graders. This is my chance to say wholeheartedly: Thank you for letting me share the magic of food with you. I might need this more than you will enjoy the recipe.
Well... that's not necessarily true. This recipe is, without a doubt, truly a work of food genius. Aoyama-kun (of Clean Freak! Aoyama kun) makes this recipe because it's a pretty typical recipe in Japan – tonjiru is a well-known soup that is very common in Japanese households. My roommate, who is Japanese, says her mother cooks one thing, and one thing only – and that one thing is tonjiru: a salty, homey pork-miso soup.
Because my roommate is obsessed with her mom's recipe, I begged them to share a copy. The recipe below is a combination of their original recipe plus my own additions to tighten it up and make it a little more efficient. Their recipe called for me to boil pork belly for four hours. Good for flavor, but I'm not sure Aoyama-kun had that amount of time in his class, and, to be honest, I don't have time in my life to boil pork for four hours. By making this change, I reduced the cooking time exponentially. I also added in some good, basic root veggies, as well as konnyaku (or, konjac – mountain yam cake – which I hate, but it appears in the anime version).
Despite my dislike of konnyaku, I was honestly blown away by how deliciously this turned out. It's everything you could ask for, and honestly PERFECT for the upcoming fall season. The veggies are melt-in-your-mouth soft, the salty miso and pork season the soup so well, and the lightness of the underlying broth goes a long way toward harmonizing all the flavors.
Best of all, this recipe is super easy to modify based on what you like. You can add in more veggies, or take something out. You could sautee in some garlic or onion with the ginger for added layers of flavor. You could even take out the pork and just sautee tofu as your protein (if for some reason you hate bacon), or add tofu on top of it all for a bit more substance. This recipe is really easy to play with, so I encourage you to make it the original way once (you won't be disappointed) and then experiment to your heart's content!
Watch the video below for more details on how to start your own soup!
Ingredients for the Tonjiru:
- 5 cups dashi stock
- 1 cup sake
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1 tsp minced or ground ginger
- 1 carrot
- 1 potato
- 1 5 inch piece of daikon
- 1 block konnyaku
- 1 leek
- 5 tbsp awase miso (go for less if you don't like it as salty)
To Make the Tonjiru:
1. Chop veggies, konnyaku, and bacon into bite sized pieces. Thinly slice the whites of the leek – throw away the green part.
2. Cook bacon in a pot on medium high. Add ginger in halfway through cooking.
3. Remove bacon when done, and remove some of the grease.
4. Sautee the hard veggies (potato, carrot, daikon) lightly. Add in the sake.
5. After a few minutes, add in the konnyaku, bacon, and dashi stock. Allow to come almost to a boil, and strain off any scum that floats to the top.
6. Cover and let simmer about 15-20 minutes or until veggies are tender.
7. Lower heat to medium low, and siphon off some broth to a bowl containing your miso. Mix the two well together, and then add the miso back to the pot.
8. Stir through. Serve while hot, but don't bring it back to a boil (it'll alter the flavor of the miso.) Garnish with thinly sliced leeks.