As soon as it cools off enough that hot soup would taste good for dinner, and you're in a mood to try something a little different (but not too different), Tonjiru is just the thing. Put this somewhere where you'll see it and not forget (I forget everything unless it's right in front of my face). A very easy-to-make soup, the first time I ever ate Tonjiru was at my kids' elementary school at the Matsuri (festival) in November. The sixth graders make it every year with sweet potatoes they've grown and harvested themselves. There are a number of things you could put in it, but I make the simplest version for myself.
It consists, at the simplest, of five ingredients:
Other people put in potatoes or sweet potato, or gobo, but I like the simple taste best.
1) Brown the thin-sliced pork in a tablespoon of oil in the bottom of the stock pot
2) Slice the onion (in half on the meridian, then in chunks) and throw that in. When the onion looks pretty well heated,
3) Throw in the peeled and cut up Daikon and carrot. The Daikon can be cut into half-inch rounds, then the rounds cut in half or in quarters. As you like. Same for the carrot(s). And if you have kiddies, here's what I used to do:
Kawaii, desho! (Cute, isn't it!)
I put in the shapes and the anti-shapes (mottainai!)
4) Throw it all in the pot with 6 or so cups of water (to cover the vegetables and then some), and put the fire on medium. After it comes to a boil, turn the fire down lower and once or twice skim the scum that rises to the surface:
After the scum is skimmed, use your big ladle to get 3 to 4 tablespoons of miso (you can dissolve it half an half--two tablespoons at a time). Submerge the ladle and use the big long O-hashi to dissolve the miso in the simmering water till it's all dissolved. Put the lid on, and the fire down as low as it'll go and leave it simmering for a while. An hour is plenty. Stick your o-hashi into the middle of a piece of daikon to check. If it goes right through and the daikon is nice and soft, it's done.
And when everybody comes in--soup! You can make rice to go with it, but it tastes just as good with nice fresh bread or rolls. And it tastes even better the next day--for breakfast,even, if there's been a cold snap during the night and you wake up to frost on the windows. And for miserable sore-throat colds, nice salty miso soup is just the thing:)
Hai, dozo! Itadakima--su!