Thursday, January 7, 2010

Japanese Pork miso soup (Tonjiru) and learning new stuff

It is cold here in NY. It is sunny which is a good thing but I just don't like cold weather at all. Since we just started January, it will be a while till Spring to arrive. Sometimes when it is really cold out, I think out people who work outside or who are homeless. It must be so hard for them to be outside for a long time in this cold weather. I am lucky to have a warm home..

Well, on such a cold day, soup is a great thing to eat. Since I have many Japanese vegetables which I bought in a Japanese super market the other day, I decided to make Japanese pork miso soup (Tonjiru) which is very popular Japanese soup. You can use lots of vegetables and it keeps you warm.

Since this soup has lots of things inside, I can just have this soup and rice as a meal. It is a satisfying meal for me.

I don't know what is the proper way to make Tonjiru but here is how I made it.

thinly sliced pork 0.25lb
Konnyaku (yam cake) 150g
Lotus root          200g
Daikon radish   200g
Japanese green onion 1/2
Burdock root  1/2
Shiitake Mushroom 4~5
Carrots                    1~2
Green Onion or Chives    little bit to decorate on top of soup at the end
Ginger                     about a size of your thumb
Dashinomoto (Instant fish bouillon) 1 table spoon
Soy sauce               2 table spoon
Sake                       2 table spoon
Water                     4 cups
Miso paste              2 table spoon
Vegetable oil         1 table spoon

1. Cut all the vegetables and meat into a small bite side pieces.

2. In a deep pot, add oil and heat up then add pork. When  the pork is cooked, add all the vegetable and saute for a while.

3. Add Water, instant fish bouillon, soy sauce and sake into the pot and let it simmer until the vegetables are soft.

4. When vegetables are cooked, add miso paste and turn the heat off.

5. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle chopped green onion on top.

It takes some time to cup all the vegetables but other than that, it is quite easy.

I used to use "Awase Miso" paste which is a mixture of red and white miso. But this time I bought "White miso" paste. I actually liked it better than Awase miso. I did not know I liked White miso! I am going to use White miso from now on.

Then, I wonder what is the difference between White miso and Red Miso. I know there are these two different kind of miso but I did not know what is the difference so I searched it on-line.

On Japanese Wikipedia, it explained that the difference is largely contributed to the aging time. Also, I found out that red miso has more salt content than white miso. If you are interested in more details, here is the wikipedia site (in Japanese). 

Internet is so convenient! It enables us to search whatever we want to know in an instant. I don't even rememeber how I was searching on something before the internet. Probably, I was asking people around me or just forgot about it even before I check it.

Of course, you can not believe everything you find in the internet but I think it is quite a useful tool. If you want more reliable source, I guess you would have to check in a dictionary or encyclopedia and stuff. 

When I went back to Japan in Oct, my parents bought me this expensive electronic dictionary. This electronic dictionary has many different dictionaries and also Encyclopedia Britannica. It has been quite useful and interesting for checking some things I don't know in this encyclopedia. 

Every time, I read something I realized I still have many words which I don't know. I like having this dictionary handy so I can check whenever I encounter a new word. 

I also sometimes think about how much I don't know about world, history (including my own Japanese history) and politic and so on. I was never good at those subjects but I think I am learning more through internet. The best thing is that I can check and find out about something right there and then if I have something I want to know. 

I think it is very important to keep your curiosity. Maybe I am not a very knowledgeable person regarding those topics but I would like to learn more and that is important to always have curiosity and attitude for learning. 

However, my history knowledge is really bad and I don't know why I can not remember those things which I once learned. I am sure I learned history in elementary school, junior high and high school. How can I not remember anything?? It is a misery. I guess when you are not interested in something, it is very easy to forget what you learned. Because I have a great memory skill when it comes to FOOD. 

Anyway, maybe it will stick to me if I read or watch some interesting history event and then learning more from that one point to widen my knowledge. I don't know... If anybody knows a great way to learn history, please let me know. 

For  world affairs and politics, I just need to read more news and then try to find out the cause behind it. I think it will make me want to know more when I know the basic reason of the problems. Most of the problems are very complex and there are so many reasons behind them. 

Well, I would like to be a person who have a wide knowledge. It is going to be a long way till I will be that person but I would like to aim for it. I would like to be someone who can carry any kind of conversation with anybody. I believe that good conversationist is someone who are very curious and who can enjoy wide variety of topics. (Even when the topic was about history....) 


  1. yummy colorful soup..It's bitterly cold in Colorado too..Soup is the perfect treat, now :-)

  2. Another fine dish Mausi! This looks delicious!

  3. Looks very good. I wish I would start cooking like this it looks so healthy too. Thanks for sharing

  4. HI Gulmohar,
    Thanks. Yes, Soup is great in winter! Especially cold places like Colorado or NY :-)

  5. HI Catherine,
    Thank you. This is very typical Japanese soup. I did not like it too much when I was little but now I love it!

  6. Hi Nostalgia,
    Thanks. Yes, I think this soup is quite healthy since it has lots of root vegetables in it! If you like miso soup, I think you would like this soup also :-)