Butajiru (Tonjiru) is a Japanese cuisine that is prepared by stewing pork and vegetables with miso (bean paste). It's a misoshiru (miso soup)-like soup cuisine with a variety of ingredients, including pork.
It's popular throughout Japan. As a cuisine, it reflects the locality, since its ingredients vary from place to place.
Its characteristics are the combination of hard-to-chew vegetables such as root vegetables and bulbs, which are strong-tasting and harsh, and the flavor of lard and miso. The above harmony is also popular outside Japan, and it has unique characteristics that aren't seen in other kinds of soup cuisine. Additionally, it's a somewhat nutritionally balanced cuisine because it uses a variety of ingredients. Since it's prepared with pork, after which the cuisine was named, and various kinds of fresh or processed vegetables, it can be eaten as a staple food instead of being eaten only as an accompaniment to a staple food.
Although there are various opinions, it is thought that it was created during the Meiji period because pork is used as an ingredient.
It's a kind of misoshiru with many ingredients, including pork.
According to a nationwide poll conducted by NHK, 'Tonjiru' was used by 54% of the respondents while 'Butajiru' was used by 46%.
The regional breakdown is as follows:
Tonjiru: Eastern Japan
Butajiru: Western Japan and Hokkaido
In some regions, it's called 'Mettajiru' or 'Ski-jiru.
Although the materials used in preparing Butajiru will differ according to the region or household, the following are commonly used:
Soybean paste, Sake lees
Soy sauce, Sweet sake, Sake, Soup stock
Konnyaku (jelly made from devil's-tongue starch) (konnyaku)
Sweet potato, Potato, Taro
Soybean curd, Fried soybean curd, Deep-fried soybean curd
The cooking method
Cooking methods vary too, depending on the region or household.
Slice the pork and vegetables into easy-to-eat sizes.
Boil them in soup stock.
When boiled, place the konnyaku into the pot.
When the materials became tender, season them with soybean paste.
Slice the vegetables and blanch them so that the time required for boiling becomes the same for all the materials. Similarly, blanch the pork to the extent that its surface becomes marbled.
Add the vegetables to the water and boil them over a high flame so that their full flavor is brought out. Before the materials become fully tender, add half the soybean paste and boil again.
Add the pork, whose flavor has been contained through the blanching process. Don't boil it too long, in order not to lose the flavor of the fat.
Add soybean paste while tasting, then add the chopped leek to the pot and turn off the heat.
In order to prepare soup stock, place the pork and cold water into a pot and heat. As the scum rises to the surface, skim off it carefully. Take the pork out of the pot now, because excessive boiling will toughen it. Extract of pork is used as a soup stock.
Place the other vegetables in the pot and remove the scum.
Once all materials have been boiled, add the pork to the pot again, turn off the heat and season to taste.
The use of seasonings is in accordance with one's own preferences.
From my point of view, it seems to be a good idea to place the pork in the pot in two stages, namely pork for 'soup stock' first and pork for 'tasting' next. Needless to say, pork for 'tasting' should be blanched in advance so that its strong odor is removed and its flavor is contained.
It's an individual decision whether or not to leave the pork as it is in the pot for use as 'soup stock.'
In this case, however, the cost could increase depending on that decision, due to the increased amount of pork.
Based on individual preference, sprinkle a seasoning of ground pepper (cayenne pepper powder or shichimi togarashi [a mixture of cayenne pepper and other aromatic spices]).