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Tonjiru Pork & Veggie Miso Soup

Hello everyone. It has been getting colder and colder recently. Do you know what Japanese people would eat at such times? One of the most popular dishes is called tonjiru. Have you ever heard of it or eaten it before?

Tonjiru is a soup with many ingredients including pork and vegetables put into the soup, and miso soybean paste and oil add aroma to it. The reason why it is so loved is the soup, which is infused with the flavor of the ingredients. The unique flavor and texture of pork, which is different from chicken or beef, gives it a delicious flavor that cannot be found in traditional Japanese cuisine. Eating hot tonjiru on a cold day is the best feast you can have.

This week, we will introduce the difference between tonjiru and miso soup, a recipe for tonjiru, its nutritional value, and more. After reading this week's blog post, you will definitely want to try the tonjiru. Let's get started.


Is Tonjiru Different From Miso Soup?

The difference between tonjiru and miso soup lies in the ingredients used and the method of preparation. Tonjiru is full of ingredients with a rich, sweet flavor and savory aroma. It is a dish that provides satisfaction in just one bowl and can become a main dish on the dinner table.

Miso soup is a soup made with various ingredients and miso, and offers the flavor of dashi broth and the gentle taste of miso. Unlike tonjiru, this dish is simple in appearance and taste, making it a perfect accompaniment to rice.

Both of these dishes use miso, but the appearance and taste can vary greatly depending on the ingredients and preparation method. Let's take a closer look at the differences in ingredients and preparation methods.

Differences in ingredients between tonjiru and miso soup

Pork and a variety of vegetables are used as ingredients for tonjiru. Common ingredients include pork belly, gobo burdock root, satoimo taro, daikon radish, carrots, negi leeks, and konnyaku. In some regions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and renkon lotus root are also used. Unlike miso soup, it is characterized by the use of many root vegetables and strong-flavored vegetables such as gobo burdock root. This makes it tonjiru aromatic and filling.

Miso soup can be made with a variety of ingredients, including vegetables, mushrooms, shellfish, seafood, tofu, wakame seaweed, and eggs. There is no specific ingredient list, but unlike tonjiru, a small number of ingredients are generally used. The seasoning varies from region to region, with eastern Japan using mainly red miso, and western Japan using not only red miso but also white miso.

Difference between cooking process of tonjiru and miso soup

The main difference is whether the ingredients are fried in oil or used as is.

To make tonjiru, the ingredients are sauteed in oil before being placed in a pot. This extra step makes tonjiru even tastier. The heat brings the flavor components to the surface of the ingredients. The surface is then coated with oil, which locks in the flavor. In addition, the fragrance of the oil is transferred to the ingredients, accentuating their flavors.

Miso soup is prepared by making soup stock with kombu (kelp) or bonito, putting the ingredients directly into the pot, and dissolving miso in the stock.

Unlike tonjiru, miso soup does not require stir-frying, making it very easy to prepare.

Is tonjiru a kind of miso soup?

As it turns out, although tonjiru is a type of miso soup, there is a big difference in its origins. In the Muromachi period (1336-1573), miso soup, which is misoshiru in Japanese, was also known as omiotsuke. Both refer to the same miso soup, but the fact it had another name has a meaning.

Misoshiru used to mean a simple soup with few ingredients. On the other hand, omiotsuke used to mean a luxurious soup with many ingredients. The polite word "o" was added to the word omiotsuke, and it was used as soup served to those of high status.

This history shows that omiotsuke was treated as a luxurious and important miso soup. In modern times, tonjiru would be the one that could be called omiotsuke.

Let's learn how to actually cook tonjiru in the next blog post that will be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned!


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