When cooking expert Megumi Fujii asks her two daughters, “What would you like to eat?” the answer is almost invariably, “Tonjiru!" (pork soup).
Fujii's tonjiru is different as she uses sweet, light-colored white miso.
“It is our staple dish except during the height of summer,” she says.
A key is to boil the meat instead of sauteing.
“Draw out the 'umami' (savory flavor) by cooking at a low temperature,” Fujii says.
The soup is filling and goes well with light dishes, such as sashimi and boiled and flavored spinach. Serves four.
200 grams pork belly slices (buta-baraniku)
1/3 daikon radish
6 cups dashi stock
130 grams white miso
1 Tbsp sweet mirin sake
8 stalks “banno negi” green onion
Seven-flavored chili pepper (shichimi togarashi)
Cut radish into 4-cm-long rectangles. Cut carrot likewise, perhaps a little thinner. Chop green onion.
Cut pork into 2-cm-wide pieces.
Place stock and pork in pot, separate meat with chopsticks. Add radish and carrot and bring to a boil. Carefully remove scum. Place lid and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
Dissolve white miso and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes. Add mirin and salt and cook briefly.
Serve in bowl, top with plenty of green onions and sprinkle chili pepper to taste.
To make quick pickles with cabbage or Chinese cabbage, cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces and place in plastic bag. Add salt (1.5 percent of weight) and mix. Push out air, tie bag, place weight on top and leave in fridge overnight. If available, finely cut kelp or yuzu zest add flavor. It also works with daikon radish, turnip or cucumber.
Estimated time: 45 minutes (5 minutes to prepare, 40 minutes to cook)
Nutritional information (per serving): kilocalories, 315; sodium content, 2.5 grams; fat content, 18.7 grams