Kenchin-jiru: Pork, Tofu, Carrots and Daikon
My mom’s version of Kenchin-jiru is one of them, a warming dish for cold winter days you can make in about half an hour to 40 minutes. It brings together Tofu, pork, carrots and Japanese radish (daikon) into a lovely, savory-sweet main dish.
Looking around online, it seems there are many different versions of Kenchin-jiru out there – and the original version was a vegetarian soup! My mom’s version was neither vegetarian nor soup – but it is delicious!
The secret to great kenchin-jiru is simple: very fresh Japanese radish. Make sure your daikon is super-fresh, and this dish will turn out great.
Ingredients (for two)
Half a carrot
Half a daikon (must be very fresh!)
250 grams of soft tofu
100 grams of pork
Soy Sauce – 1.5 to two table-spoons (to taste)
Dashi – one tea-spoon
There’s a lot of chopping in this recipe. Take the time to learn to chop these vegetables properly.
- Cut carrot in 10 cm. long chunks
- Slice each carrot chunk vertically, quite thinly
- Slice the slices again, until you end up with thin little strips
- Slice the pork as thin as you can
- Slice daikon in 10 cm. long chunks
- Peel the chunks
- Cut the chunks vertically into four slices
- Slice vertical slices again into little strips (1 cm. or so)
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- Heat mid-sized pot, then add a good quantity of oil
- Stir fry the pork together with the daikon for 2 minutes, until pork changes color
- Add carrots, cook for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring now and again
- When pork is cooked is all the way through, add one tea-spoon of dashi, and 1.5 table-spoons of soy sauce
- Stir well and set on low heat, and cover
- Cook, covered, for another 10 minutes until daikon becomes fully translucent: stirring now and again
- Check for saltiness: if needed, add a little bit more soy sauce (remember, tofu is bland: at this stage, the dish should be quite salty)
- Add in tofu, mix in, and cook for 5 minutes more
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Kenchinjiru is real Japanese comfort food: the kind of thing you want on a cold winter night to warm you from the inside out. Serve as main in 1-soup 1-dish.