How To Make Tonjiru (Pork And Vegetable Miso Soup)-Japanese Taste

How To Make Tonjiru (Pork And Vegetable Miso Soup)

by Megumi Moriya

Soup Stew Pork Miso Tofu Autumn Winter Easy Weeknight dinner idea Leftovers

Not satisfied with a simple Japanese miso soup? Why not try the hearty and substantial Tonjiru instead? It promises a new perspective on Japanese miso soup!

Tonjiru, a type of miso soup, is renowned for its rich flavor, courtesy of its diverse ingredients. The key player in Tonjiru is sliced pork, as indicated by the dish's name – 'Ton (豚)' means 'pork' in English. Optimal for Tonjiru is pork belly, imparting delicious richness and savory umami flavor.

In addition to pork, various vegetables, particularly root vegetables like carrots and burdock root, give Tonjiru distinct flavors. Burdock root, in particular, enhances the overall balance of taste and flavor. One bowl of Tonjiru and rice might be more satisfying than a simple miso soup and rice.

While you can find Tonjiru in some restaurants, it's often a homemade dish with families having their preferences for ingredients. In today's recipe, we will provide a basic Tonjiru recipe using pork, Japanese radish, carrot, burdock root, onion, konjac, and Japanese leek. Some variations include tofu, taro, potato, sweet potato, cabbage, Shiitake mushroom, Shimeji mushroom, etc. To add spice, grated ginger is sometimes used as an accent.

Tonjiru is a versatile recipe that helps avoid vegetable wastage, allowing the use of leftover vegetables, excluding those with a strong flavor like celery and green pepper.

Moreover, the flavor and taste improve the day after preparation, so making Tonjiru in large quantities is a great idea.

Tonjiru is synonymous with winter for Japanese people, often served at community gatherings like rice cake pounding events and New Year's celebrations at shrines. Why not warm up at home with Tonjiru during the chilly season?


Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Total servings: 4

Difficulty: Easy

  • 100 g Thinly Sliced Pork Belly
  • 150 g Japanese Radish (Daikon)
  • 50 g Carrot
  • 30 g Burdock Root
  • 150 g Onion
  • 100 g Konjac (Konnyaku)
  • 30 g Japanese Leek (Naga Negi or Tokyo Negi)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp Sesame or Cooking Oil
  • 500 ml Dashi Stock*
  • 2 Tbsp Miso, divided into 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
  • Shichimi (Japanese 7 Spice Blend), as needed
  • Chopped Green Onions, as needed
  • 1 L Water (for making dashi)
  • 20 g Dried Bonito Flakes (for making dashi)
  • 10 g Dried Kombu (for making dashi)

Expert's Tip

How To Make Tonjiru (Pork And Vegetable Miso Soup)

Shichimi Togarashi is a famous Japanese mix of seven spices consisting of chili pepper, Sansho (Japanese pepper), ginger, hemp seed, black sesame, dried orange peel, and perilla. You can experience both spiciness and a complex flavor by simply sprinkling this shichimi togarashi on your dish. Shichimi Togarashi complements not only Japanese dishes like Tonjiru, Udon, and Soba but also pasta, soup, pizza, dressings, and more!


1) Gathering the Ingredients

Gather the ingredients together. The second picture is the ingredients for the dashi stock and the third picture is the garnishes.

2) Making the Dashi

Let's start by making dashi. To remove any dirt or grit, lightly wipe the kombu with a paper towel. Add water and dried kombu to a pot and set aside for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Afterward, heat it over medium heat until the water temperature reaches about 80℃. Remove the kombu from the pot and continue heating until boiling. Once boiling, add bonito flakes and turn off the heat.

Let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve lined with a paper towel or cloth. You should end up with approximately 700ml of dashi broth. Reserve 500ml for the recipe.

3) Preparing the Tonjiru Ingredients

Cut each ingredient as shown in the pictures:

  • Japanese radish and carrot: Peel the skin. If they are large, cut them into halves or quarters, then slice them into 5mm-1cm thickness.
  • Japanese leek: Cut it into 5mm slices diagonally.
  • Konjac: Place it in boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes to remove the lye. Cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Burdock root: Cut it into small, bite-sized pieces.
  • Onion: Cut it into 1cm slices.
  • Sliced pork belly: Cut it into 5cm lengths.

4) Stir-frying the Ingredients

Pour sesame or cooking oil into a pot and add vegetables and konjac. Heat the pot over medium heat and stir-fry them for 2-3 minutes, adding a pinch of salt.

Turn off the heat and add the sliced pork belly one by one, ensuring they do not overlap. Turn on the heat and stir-fry them for another 3 minutes over medium heat.

5) Adding the Dashi + Miso and Simmering the Soup

Add dashi stock and heat until boiling. If there is some foam (lye), remove it with a ladle. Then add 1 tablespoon of miso. Avoid adding miso paste directly into the pot. For easier dissolving, take a small amount of dashi soup into a cup or ladle, place the miso paste there, and stir with a whisk or small spoon. Once the miso paste is dissolved, pour the mixture back into the soup pot and stir well. Cook for about 10-15 minutes with a lid until the ingredients are cooked thoroughly.

Note: Usually, when making miso soup, miso is the last ingredient added to the pot as boiling water diminishes its flavor. However, this time, to infuse the salty taste and flavor into the ingredients, we add miso at this timing.

6) Adding Additional Miso to the Tonjiru

Check if the ingredients are cooked well. If so, add another 1 tablespoon of miso following the same process as in step 5. Adjust the miso to your taste. Alternatively, if the soup tastes too salty, adjust with dashi or water.

7) Topping with Condiments

Serve Tonjiru in soup bowls and add condiments according to your preference. We are adding chopped green onions and shichimi togarashi here. Enjoy!

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