Nikujaga

Nikujaga (Japanese Meat and Potato Stew) is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. So much so that many young Japanese men say that they want to marry a girl who can cook Nikujaga!

Nikujaga, meat and potato stew, is a Japanese staple dish that can be found all over the country. “Niku” means meat, and “Jaga” comes from the word “Jagaimo” which translates to potatoes. It was invented by the Japanese Imperial Navy in the late 19th century.

Nikujaga is made with potatoes, onions and meat which are stewed in soy sauce and dashi. Like most staple dishes, there are a myriad of ways to prepare this dish, and many homes in Japan have their own recipes.

Beef is usually the meat of choice, but port can also be used.  Nikujaga does not require large amounts of meat, which is primarily used to flavor the delicious broth in which the vegetables simmer.

Nikujaga

Nikujaga is a stew made with beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, shiratake (konnyaku yam noodles) and sometimes other ingredients cooked together in a dash-based sauce and the covered and braised over low heat to allow time for the sauce to infuse the ingredients.

The sauce is both salty and sweet, made with dashi, cooking sake, mirin, honey and soy sauce.

PREP COOKING YIELD
1 hiur 8 servings
PREP
COOKING 1 hiur
YIELD 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 2/3 lbs thin sliced Beef (300g)
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 4 Potatoes, peeled and cut into 8 pieces each
  • 1 oz Pea Pods – about 12, ends removed (30g)
  • 1/3 lb Atsuage (fried tofu), chopped into cubes (150g)
  • 1 bag Shiratake Noodles (200g)
  • 2 cups Konbu Dashi (400ml)
  • 1 cup cooking Sake
  • 1 cup Mirin
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 3 TBSP Soy Sauce
Nikujaga Ingredients

Instructions:

  • Sauté onions in sesame oil in a stockpot or large frying pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes.  Add the beef and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes until the beef is complete browned.

  • Add the carrots and shiitakes and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes until the shiitakes begin to soften.  Now add 1 cup (200ml) of the dashi and the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and continue cooking for another minute.

  • Add in the atsuage, shiratake noodles, pea pods and the remaining dashi.  Mix well until combined.

  • Add the remaining ingredients – mirin, cooking sake, soy sauce, and honey.  Mix in and bring back to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low, cover, and continue to cook over low heat for at least 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.

  • Serve hot.  Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Notes:

  • Nikujaga is best when made with beef, although pork can be substituted.  Use think slice meat because you want to maximize the surface area of the meat to ensure the broth is quickly induced with the flavor.
  • Shiratake noodles can be purchased  fresh in water in the refrigerated tofu section at most stores.  Fresh shiratake  has an unpleasant odor when first opened.  This is perfectly normal.  Rinse the noodles in cold water and drain a couple of times prior to use to remove the smell.  You can also use dry shiratake which can be purchased online.

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