It’s been awhile since I participated in the Washoku Warriors, too many other things demanding my attention… But I so enjoy exploring Elizabeth Andoh’s amazing cookbook Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen that I decided that I really had to make time for it. This month’s challenge focused on a selection of hearty soups and this dish Tonjiru, captured my fancy. Tonjiru is a pork stew thickened with miso and is full of lovely fall flavors and some of my favorite vegetables such as finely sliced leeks
julienned carrots and daikon radish
and another fall favorite, burdock root or gobo, a root vegetable that has an uncanny resemblance to fingers… They have an earthy flavor and wonderful pungent aroma.
First peel them and then chop them into diagonal slices (wear gloves and put the slices into water to prevent discoloration)
Saute the vegetables with slices of pork
then add two quarts of water and some kombu for flavor (I included some dried shiitake mushrooms too)
after simmering for a while, remove the kombu and add cubes of firm tofu and a mixture of white (shiro) and mugi (a darker type of grain) miso to the broth. I could not find the mugi miso at Ranch 99 and so got an Awase mixture of red and white miso that was a nice balance of the two.
And there you have a delectable hearty fall soup that is guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart! I’ve posted the recipe here, which calls for Mitsuba, a type of parsley that I couldn’t find anywhere, so I used fresh parsley, although green onion is a fine substitute. The pork really made the soup hearty and makes a very nice dish for supper, which can be augmented with other fall vegetables such as fresh bamboo shoots and satoimo (taro) and bits of jiggly konnyaku (devil’s tongue).
I could just picture my grandmother, top row 2nd from the right, enjoying this dish… here’s a family portrait taken in the 30′s, of my mother’s (first row sitting on the far left) first visit to her matriarchal homeland. I love the stiff awkward posing and the mixture of east and west. My grandmother’s family got so dolled up for the occasion, even my great uncle is wearing a formal kimono (or whatever it is called for men)!