Butajiru also goes by the name of Tonjiru. Both words have a literal meaning of pig or pork soup. Understandably, this famous Japanese soup is made of pork and vegetables, flavored by another Japanese favorite, miso.
What makes this soup a favorite is its hearty filling as it is more substantial than ordinary miso soup. There are bigger and more chunks of pork and vegetables.
Tips in preparing Butajiru
- There are no specific vegetables you have to add, whatever available is good;
- For full flavor, add miso twice. Once before it boils as a basic flavoring, and another before removing from pot to make adjustments on the taste before serving;
- Don’t boil miso soup; just simmer, but not bring to a full boil;
- Since miso is a paste and can be thick when refrigerated, dissolve it in dashi, a cooking stock;
- This is done by putting dashi in a bowl, then adding miso into it bit by bit, whisking it all along until all miso is in and dissolved well;
- To further ensure no large clamp of miso is in your soup, use a miso-koshi, which is a sieve with a wooden pestle so you can grind into the miso clamp until totally pulverized.
Ingredients of Butajiru
Good for 2 people:
- Pork, sliced thinly, ½ cup.
- Carrot, cut into strips, ½ pc.
- Onion, julienned, ½ pc.
- Spring onion, chopped, 1-2 stalks.
- Taro, halved, 3-5 pcs.
- Gobou, skinned, cut into shavings, ½ pc.
- Aburaage, cut, a few pcs.
- Miso, 3 tbsp.
- Dashi, 1 tsp.
- Water, 2 cups.
Taro is a root vegetable with a sweet, nutty flavor. You may find it in the grocer or farmer’s market. It varies from being the size and shape of brussel sprouts to larger versions as big as a football.
Gobou is bardana in Portugal, Brazil and Italy. The roots are slender, approximately 1 meter long and a mere 2 cm. across. It is crisp and with a sweet, pungent yet mild flavor. To clean, soak the julienned gobou in water for 10 minutes.
Aburaage is made from soybeans. These tofu are sliced thinly then deep-fried twice. The first time in temperature of 110-120 degrees Celsius, and the second time in higher temperature of 180 – 200 degrees Celsius.
- Special preparation for taro: after cutting into halves, put on a strainer, sprinkle 2 tbsps. of salt over it, massage it into the taro. Rinse with water. This removes excess starch;
- Special preparation for miso: dissolve in dashi, whisk until there are no clamps;
- Boil water, then add one tsp. of dashi;
- Put pork, onion, taro, carrot, gobou and aburaage into the boiling water;
- Keep boiling until pork and onion are cooked (approx. 15 mins.);
- Put on low heat, add in the miso-dashi mix;
- Add spring onions;
- Turn off heat.
This dish can be eaten by itself as a complete meal, or would also go great with white rice and small side dish.