One of the first Japanese culinary discoveries after the end of Japan's self-imposed vegetarianism was that miso has a natural affinity to, all of things, pork. Beef doesn't really work, most fish is too delicate to put up a fight, chicken is OK but nothing really happens when the two are combined... but pork is your friend.

The most obvious pork-and-miso dish is the soup known as tonjiru (lit. "pig soup"), a hearty pork and vegetable stew cooked in miso soup. But making good tonjiru takes time, effort and skill, and you have to eat quite a few bowls to fill up. That's where this recipe comes in: it's cheap, reasonably fast and easy to prepare, and above all not just tasty but tasty with a unique, synergistic flavor, more than the sum of its parts. (Which, incidentally, is not healthy, frugal, simple, mild or elegant, despite my own definition under "Japanese food". For the uninitiated it may just barely sneak in as weird though.) But enough gushing, let's get to work!


Broiled Pork with Miso ( Butaniku no miso yaki )

Ingredients

  • 400 g (1 lb) sliced pork
    • ideally cut across the grain into very thin slices (Jp. usugiri), but finger-sized strips are also just fine
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 Japanese piiman (small, mild green peppers) or
    1 smallish ordinary green bell pepper

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Marinade:
Instructions
  1. Mix together the marinade ingredients and marinate the pork for 30 minutes.
  2. Slice onions 5 mm (1/4") thick and separate into rings. Repeat for green pepper(s).
  3. Place greased aluminum foil into a baking pan and add pork, marinade and vegetables.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) and cook for 20 minutes.
Serve immediately with rice, Japanese pickles (tsukemono), and beer. Serves approximately 4 Japanese, or 2 not-terribly-hungry gaijin.

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