MISO SOUP WITH PORK AND VEGETABLES

This is quite a rich and filling soup. Its Japanese name, Tanuki Jiru, means raccoon soup for hunters, but as raccoons are not eaten nowadays, pork is now used.

SERVES FOUR
INGREDIENTS
  • 200 g / 7 oz boneless pork
  • 15 cm / 6 in piece gobo or 1 parsnip
  • 50 g / 2 oz mooli (daikon)
  • 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ konnyaku or ½ x 225-285 g / 8-10¼ oz packet tofu
  • a little sesame oil, for stir-frying
  • 600 ml / 1 pint / 2½ cups dashi stock, or the same amount of water and 10 ml / 2 tsp dashi-no-moto
  • 70 ml / 4½ tbsp miso
  • 2 spring onion (scallions), chopped
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp sesame seeds
  1. Press the meat down on a chopping board using the palm of your hand and slice horizontally into very thin long strips, then cut the strips crossways into small pieces. Set the pork aside.
  2. Peel the gobo using a potato peeler, then cut diagonally into 1 cm / ½ in thick slices. Quickly plunge the slices into a bowl of cold water to stop them discoloring. If you are using parsnip, peel, cut it in half lengthways, then cut it into 1 cm / ½ in thick half-moon-shaped slices.
  3. Peel and slice the mooli into 1.5 cm / ⅔ in thick discs. Cit the discs into 1.5 cm / ⅔ in cubes. Remove the shiitake stalks and cut the caps into quarters.
  4. Place the connyaku in a pan of boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and cool. Cit in quarters lengthways , then crossways into 3 mm / 1/8 in thick pieces.
  5. Heat a little sesame oil in a heavy cast-iron or enameled pan until purple smoke rises. Stir-fry the pork, then add the tofu, if using, the konnyaku and all the vegetables except for the spring onions. When the color of the meat has changed, add the stock.
  6. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, and skim off the foam until the soup looks fairly clear. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Put the miso in a small bowl, and mix with 60 ml / 4 tbsp hot stock to make a smooth paste. Stir one-third of the miso into the soup. Taste and add a little more miso if required. Add the spring onion and remove from the heat. Serve very hot in individual soup bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Miso Soup With Pork And Vegetables