March 20, 2014

Substantial Soup Turned Tonjiru (Pork Soup)/具沢山の汁を豚汁に

The main dish of tonight's supper was katsuo tataki on a mound of onion slices.
Cheap (98 yen per 100 g) but tasty enough.
安い(100 g 98円)ですが、十分美味しいです。

It was rather cold today, which made me want to turn the leftover substantial miso soup into tonjiru. I added one pack of oyster mushroom, one block of momen dofu (< tofu), a large amount of gobo, some (about 300 g) thinly sliced pork, and grated ginger. I finally added some more instant dashi, turned off the heat, and added some more miso.
今日はちょっと寒かったので、残りの具沢山の味噌汁を豚汁にしたくなりました。ヒラタケ1パック、木綿豆腐1丁、ごぼうを沢山、薄切りの豚肉を少し(300 g程度)、おろし生姜を入れました。最後に出汁の素をちょっと足し、火を止めて、味噌を少し足しました。
Very, very good indeed! The combination of pork, burdock, ginger, and miso is heavenly.

Today, my wife's brother gave us these:
Kinpira gobo
I should say gobo-only kinpira. It was very good.

Nina (simmered nozawana pickle):
It was good, too.

Here in this area of Niigata prefecture, nina is not pronounced nina, but neena.


Katrin said...

The reference to nozawana makes me want to ask about fiddlehead ferns. Do you think it is possible to gather fiddleheads in the wild, in the woods? When would be the best time to look for them?

Hiroyuki said...

Katrin: Yes, it's possible, and that's what people do all the time when the time comes. Here in the snowy region, the time is around early May, but in warmer regions, it's much earlier. I have no idea when you can collect them in your specific area. I hope you consult some kind local people who are knowledgeable about wild edible plants.

Fräulein Trude said...

If I try to buy such kind of fish I would have to pay much much more. Lucky you are, looks delicious. I like to eat such hearty miso soups too.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: I really wonder why cold temperatures make many of us (well, many Japanese) want to have pork soup.

Katrin said...

Hiroyuki: Thanks. I have written an email to the forestry department of the city administration, asking if it is allowed to collect fiddlehead ferns, if there is a danger of picking poisonous plants by mistake, and when would be the best time to go foraging.

Sadly, I don't know people who gather sansai here, other than wild garlic (Allium ursinum) (and mushrooms).

Fräulein Trude said...

It is no wonder. Here we also like to eat hearty soups (called one pot) during the cold seasons. Pork is more fat and filling and this will warm up your stomach/belly. One very well liked soup (by old folks) in our region is turnip (one pot) soup with pig feet and ears and snouts (the meat of) - but I am not fond of - or soups with pork belly and beans or peas - I am also not fond of..

Hiroyuki said...

Katrin: I only hope you receive an encourging reply from them. In Japan, ALL pieces of land are either government or privately owned. If I did the same thing in Japan, I would receive a discouraging reply.

Katrin said...

Hiroyuki: I am mostly confident that I won't receive a discouraging reply.

Here in Switzerland, the general understanding is that all public forests belong to the public, and every citizen is free to use the forest as they see fit, as long as they don't vandalize the trees and generally take care of the environment. As far as mushrooms are concerned, there is even an office in the city government where people can have their baskets of collected mushrooms checked if there are poisonous ones among them.

AFAIK, only in especially protected areas it is forbidden to collect wild plants.

Fräulein Trude said...

Katrin: please be very careful, european ferns are poisonous except ostrich fern, lady fern and royal fern.
All plants mentioned above are strictly protected by law. They are listed on the Red List of threatened ferns and flowering plants of Switzerland too. It makes me wonder wether it is really allowed to pick endangered species in the wild in switzerland.

Katrin said...

Kiki: Thanks for clarifying that.

No, of course it is not allowed to gather endangered plants in Switzerland.

I wasn't aware that ostrich fern is on the red list, as I can see a lot of it in many places here.

Katrin said...

Update: This morning, I got an answer from the forestry department, which made me want to check more thoroughly which ferns are endangered.

I found that ostrich fern and royal fern are classified on the Red List as "vulnerable", while the common lady fern is labeled "least concern", so not threatened at all.

The guy from the forestry department basically told me that I should not pick endangered plants and not pick all the fiddleheads in one place. He also told me to beware of wild boars.

He could not give me any advice about the best time to go foraging and if there was a danger of picking poisonous plants by mistake. He strongly recommended that I acquire sufficient botanical knowledge. (But where or how, he didn't tell me. I guess I have to find out by myself.)

Katrin said...

I apologize if I have been annoying.

Hiroyuki said...

Katrin: Thank you for your update, and I have to add you don't have to apologize!

If you can't someone knowledgeable about wild edible plants, I strongly recommend that you get some nice reference book on them.

Katrin said...

Hiroyuki: Thank you for your kind words :)

I have ordered an encyclopedia about wild edible plants at Amazon. I'll post in my blog about it when it arrives.

A while ago, I have also ordered a number of Japanese herb and salad seeds. Two of them should be planted in March, and I hope to get everything under way the coming weekend. I should add that I don't really have a "green thumb" ;)

Hiroyuki said...

Katrin: Good for you!

Here is my book on wild plants:

Kiki posted hers in her blog, here:

Katrin said...

What a coincidence, I have ordered the same book as Kiki has :)

Katrin said...

Today, the book has arrived. After consulting it, I have resolved to heed Kiki's advice to be careful and not try to go foraging for kogomi.

I don't trust myself to tell apart lady fern and the poisonous wood fern or male fern.

In the book, there is only a black and white drawing of lady fern which doesn't really give me an idea how it looks like in real life.

So, it is safety first this time :(

Hiroyuki said...

Katrin: I'm not familiar with any of the sansai you mentioned.

In Japan, we usually collect these three species of fern:
kogomi or ostrich
warabi or bracken
zenmai or Japanese royal fern

Sorry to hear that you have decided not to forage sansai, but as you say, it's better to be safe than sorry.