TGS Lunch - Akiko's Tonjiru and Kinpira Gobo - tortoise general store

TGS Lunch - Akiko's Tonjiru and Kinpira Gobo

Posted by Emma Tsuchida on

Whether eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, rice and miso soup are central to Japanese cuisine and a treasured part of Japanese food culture.  Frequently prepared alongside other dishes like grilled fish, egg omelettes and fermented pickles, regional palate preferences across Japan can sometimes dictate flavors. Kansai (Western Japan) preferring konbu dashi (seaweed based broth) while Kanto (Tokyo area) preferring darker, fishier flavors with bonito based broth.

While the pairing is a staple of nearly every Japanese meal, rice and miso soup have a seemingly infinite number of tasty and creative variations.  This summer at Tortoise we will be exploring rice and miso soup dishes in our staff kitchen with live-demonstrations of TGS kitchen products for our customers, in the hopes of sharing a major part of Japanese daily life.

Here is a glimpse of our first ever staff lunch, prepared by our very own TGS member Akiko.  Akiko is a self taught cook with years of experience as a caterer specializing in Japanese home-cooking.  

We enjoyed her menu of tonjiru (pork miso soup) and kimpira gobo (stir-fried carrot and burdock root) with kamado-cooked white rice, egg omelette, boiled seasoned spinach and cucumber pickles.   

Recipes for her delicious tonjiru and kinpira gobo can be found below!  We hope you'll enjoy trying these recipes in your home kitchen as much as we did at Tortoise.  Stay tuned for more recipes and future lunches!


Tonjiru (Pork Miso Soup) Recipe:

Ingredient list:

  • Sake 1 teaspoon
  • Mirin 1 teaspoon
  • Soy suace 1 teaspoon
  • Millet sugar 1 teaspoon
  • Salt Pinch
  • Miso 6 tablespoons
  • Sesame oil 1 teaspoon
  • Konbu Tear off 1 inch wide strip
  • Water 1 liter
  • Thin sliced pork 4 oz to 7 oz
  • Burdock root ½ stick
  • Daikon radish 1 cup portion
  • Carrot 1 stick
  • Taro root 4 taro roots
  • Konyaku 1 package
  • Green onion Garnish as desired


1) Gather 1 carrot, 4 taro roots, and 1/2 a daikon radish, cut off ends and peel the skin

2) Take 1/2 stick of burdock root and scrub it with a tawashi brush to clean, cut off ends

3) Cut and quarter carrots, daikon radish and taro root

4) Cut burdock into thin coin slices (cut at an angle so the slices are slightly oval)

5) Take konyaku out of the package and cut into bite size cubes

7) Cut slices of pork into smaller, easier to eat pieces

8) Drizzle sesame seed oil in pot and throw in the pork

9) Once the pork is cook through (the color of the pork changes), take the pork out and set aside

10) Throw all the cut up vegetables in the pot and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 liter of water and konbu on top of vegetables, and bring to a boil

11) Once it is boiling, add pork back into the pot and boil for 1minute more

12) Add sake, mirin, sugar, salt, and shoyu. Let it cook at a simmer for 5 minutes

13) When the soup is at a simmer (not boiling) add the miso using chopsticks and a sieve, and melt the miso paste through the sieve so that the miso does not clump in the soup 

14) Once the miso is fully melted into the soup, it is ready to eat! Garnish the soup with minced green onions in any desired amount


Kinpira-Gobo (stir-fried carrot and burdock root) Recipe

Ingredient list:

  • Dashi 1/4 cup
  • Mirin 5 tablespoon
  • Salt 5 tablespoon
  • Sugar 5 tablespoon
  • Sesame oil 1 tablespoon
  • Dried red chilli pepper 1 pepper
  • Soy sauce 5 tablespoon
  • Burdock root 1 stick
  • Carrot 1 carrot
  • Sesame seed garnish as needed

1) Gather 1 stick of burdock root and 1 carrot, cut off ends and peel off skin

2) Julienne the burdock root and carrot into thin 2 inch x 2 mm long slivers

3) Set aside the carrots and take the burdock slivers and immerse them in a bowl of room temperature water for 5 minutes.  You will see some bubbling and scum floating in the water from the burdock room after a few minutes.  

4) Take out the burdock from the bowl of water and wash them in a strainer to remove any leftover scum that may be lingering

5) Put oil in a pan and place on medium heat

6) Break a dried chilli pepper in half and throw into the oil and cook the dry pepper until it sizzles and chars slightly.  Take out the pepper before it burns.

7) Toss in the burdock root slivers first and cook them for 2 minutes

8) Toss in carrots and cook for 2 more minutes

9) Once the carrot and burdock appears cooked, pour in the dashi and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil, cook them like this for 3 minutes.

10) Pour in the mirin and salt, cook for 5 more minutes.  Keep stirring.

11) Pour in soy sauce and cook until the liquid evaporates.  You do not need to stir as frequently as it evaporates.

12) Once the liquid is gone from the pan, the kinpira gobo is ready to eat!  Garnish with sesame seeds as desired.  For extra umami flavor, toast the sesame seeds using a kanaamitsuji sesame seed roaster over a flame, then garnish on top.


Itadakimasu! ("Lets eat!")

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