Every time we go to our nearby gourmet grocery store, we can not resist getting some pork belly. This time we got about a 1 lb block. I made most of it into “” 豚の角煮 but I sliced off some thin strips (called sanmai niku 三枚肉) to use in something else. I ended up making “buta-jiru” 豚汁. The reasons are multiple. When I posted “ “, somebody left a comment introducing us to a Japanese TV series called “ ” 深夜食堂 or “midnight diner” since one of the episodes was about “rice with butter and soy sauce”. We managed to watch all episodes available and also . More recently, new, at least we have not watched, as a Netflix original series. The opening sequence of all these episodes shows “the master” making buta-jiru 豚汁. On the top of that, when I posted (recipe from ), I reminisced about “Buta-jiru” and cook-out picnics 炊事遠足 I had when I was in grade school. So, one weekend, I made buta-jiru for lunch.
There is no precise recipe for this. This is a sort of glorified miso soup with thinly sliced pork belly cooked with Japanese root vegetables andこんにゃく.
Here you can see daikon, carrot, kon-nyaku and mai-take 舞茸 (hen-of-the-wood) mushrooms. I had just used up all the burdock root so this dish did not include any.
In the Shinya shokudo opening sequence, “the master” uses shiitake mushroom 椎茸 but I used mai-take since I happened to have it.
Ingredients (amounts are all arbitrary):
Sam-mai niku (thinly sliced pork belly)
Daikon, Carrot, mushrooms (shiitake or mai-take), kon-nyaku, gobo burdock root, onion (either regular onion or scallion. If you have it Japanese or “Tokyo” scallion is better).
Japanese Dashi broth
Miso (I used a mixture of Koji-miso and Aka-miso).
Vegetable oil for sautéing.
I peeled and cut the root vegetables into bite sized pieces. I soaked the Gobo in acidified water for 10-20 minutes, washed and then drained. I parboiled the Kon-nyaku in water, then washed it in cold running water. Like the master, I hand torn the kon-nyaku into pieces. Hand tearing makes irregular surfaces on which the flavor can cling to (kon-nyaku does not have any flavor just texture so the clinging sauce gives it some flavor). I sliced the scallion on the bias.
I put a small amount of vegetable oil in the pan and sautéed the pork. When some fat rendered out and the pork changed color, I added the root vegetables and kon-nyaku (sans scallion) and mixed so that oil coated the surfaces. I then added the broth to cover the vegetables. I simmered it with a lid on for 20-30 minutes or until all the vegetables were cooked. I dissolved the miso using my味噌漉しcontraption and added the scallion. Once it came to a boil, I turned off the flame. We had this as a weekend lunch. Although a bowl of rice and small pickled vegetable are usual accompaniments, we just enjoyed this soup/stew which was more than enough for us. By the way, this type of combination of dishes is called “Teishoku” 定食 or predetermined multi-item meals very popular in “public eateries” or 大衆食堂. In this particular case, “Butajiru teishoku” 豚汁定食 which is the only set menu item at the midnight diner.