Amanchu is an anime airing this summer that revolves around two girls in a diving club and their everyday adventures together. Despite the marine theme, however, there is a certain food that appears in the anime on multiple occasions: tonjiru, literally “pork soup.” People not living in Japan probably don’t know what this soup contains. Neither did I, and that gave me an idea: Try and make it myself.
First, I went to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients I needed. Here are the measurements I used:
1 pack of thinly sliced raw pork
1 pack of konjac
1 block of tofu
1 pack of shiitake mushrooms
1/2 of a daikon radish
1/2 of a burdock root
1 yellow onion
2 1/2 tbsps white miso
5 cups of dashi stock (but veggie stock works just fine too)
An Asian supermarket is your best bet for all of this stuff.
I attempted to avoid the dessert aisle at all costs. Even if the ice cream was One Piece-themed.
When I got home, I put all ingredients out on a table. I made my cooking process all the more marine-themed with a fish-shaped cutting board.
When it was time to prepare the ingredients, I got the dashi stock ready ahead of time with some easy pre-mixed dashi bags and put the fishy soup mixture aside. My dashi stock had flying fish in it, which makes me feel special for some reason.
Next, I washed, chopped, and sliced the burdock root, shiitake mushrooms, onion, carrot, daikon radish, and leek.
Since you can add a lot of different things to tonjiru, I decided to add one of my favorites: tofu. I chose a firm tofu so it wouldn’t fall apart in the pot.
After lightly cooking both the konjac and pork in hot water and then draining them, I put them aside. Then, I mixed in all my chopped ingredients along with some miso in the dashi stock before adding both to the pot.
I didn’t have any chili flakes, so I put on some black pepper instead.
Finally, I had to avoid the wanting stares of dogs as I gave the dish a taste test.
The soup was low in fats and oils, but very hearty and delicious. Because it was low on salt, I decided to be sacrilegious and add truffle salt to the top. If I had one complaint–and this is completely my fault–it would be that there was too much konjac in there. Next time, I think I’m going to use half a block instead of a whole block of it. Another thing I’ll have to remember for next time is that this soup seems like it would be more delicious in winter or spring, not summer. This makes sense, since in Amanchu, the soup is meant to heat up divers after a swim in the cold ocean.
It was good, and I would absolutely make it again… when it’s a bit colder outside. If you’d like to make it yourself and learn from someone with actual culinary skill, go watch Cooking With Dog; I used their recipe as the base for mine.
Amanchu is streaming for free with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.