Vegan Tonjiru Soup
Inspired by Midnight Diner
Shinya Shokudo (深夜食堂)
Tonjiru is a classic winter dish which is popular all over Japan when the weather is cold. Some people call it Butajiru (豚汁)
As you know I am in love with the Japanese series ‘Midnight Diner.’ And “Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories”. I have already made lots of the recipes on my website inspired by the episodes making them more suitable for a ＶＥＧＡＮ diet and talk more in-depth about the characters and meals.
The owner (known as Master) only has 4 things on his menu: Pork and Vegetable Miso Soup (Tonjiru), Beer, Sake and Shochu. However Master will cook anything on request so long as he has the ingredients.
As Tonjiru is the only food actually on the menu on the opening sequence of the start of each episode you will see “Master” prepare this meal.
Tonjiru translates to “pork” (ton) “soup” (jiru)
The soup is full of seasonal root vegetables and to replace the meat I added torn konnyaku and sliced aburaage. It’s a perfect miso soup on a cold day. Why not cosy on down at home with a nourishing bowl of root vegetable miso soup and watch episodes of Midnight diner to warm the soul while the soup warms your body.
If you would like to read more about this check out the rest of my midnight diner series here on the website.
Here is what went into my soup.
You will need to make a kombu shiitake dashi by soaking them in water over night. Discard the kombu and take out the shiitake and slice them ( I used three shiitake).
Then prepare all your veggies this is what takes the time but after this it’s quick to make. I used carrot, daikon, Gobo, satoimo, lotus root, komatsuna, satsumaimo, aburaage, konnyaku.
I bought Gobo ( burdock root with the soil still on it so I gave it a wash and scrub, sliced it and put it in water so it didn’t go brown.
Slice lotus root into chunks and again leave to soak in water.
Peel satoimo ( taro potato and soak in water ) you can leave the skin on the satsumaimo ( Japanese sweet potato ) if you wish just slice and soak in water. This helps to remove the starch.
Cut your carrot and daikon into wedges and set aside.
Drain the konnyaku and rinse under running water then rub a little salt into it, tear into pieces and simmer in boiling water for ten minutes.
When it’s done drain and add to a pan this is your pork substitute. Sauté the konnyaku in a little toasted sesame oil for a few minutes then add sliced shiitake, carrot, daikon, drained lotus root and Gobo.
Sauté and then add your kombu dashi. I normally make around 500ml of dashi to top up with 500ml of water. Take a piece of aburaage and pour boiling water over it to remove excess oil. Slice it into strips and add this also to your pan. Add a dash of mirin and tamari or soy sauce, gently mix and then simmer with the lid on.
In another pan I add the drained potatoes and cook those in water at the same time. I find potatoes easily get damaged as they knock about with other veggies so I cook them separately and add them at the end.
Just keep an eye on the water level as they simmer and top up the liquid with either dashi or water as needed. When the potatoes are not quite done add them to the pan to finish with the rest of the veggies.
When the veggies are tender, turn off the heat and with a ladle add one tablespoon of miso to a ladle ( I used an organic red miso ) brown rice miso or barley miso would be nice also. Lower the ladle half way into your soup and with another spoon start to mix liquid with miso. This helps break down the miso so it’s not all in one clump.
Add some chopped greens of choice like komatsuna which are Japanese mustard greens or you could use something like choysum. These will wilt in the hot broth.
Serve up into your bowls. Can be eaten like temple food with simply rice and pickles.
When people finish their day and hurry home, my day starts. My diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it “Midnight Diner”. Do I even have customers? More than you would expect……