Nikujaga is literally meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo) in Japanese. It is a stewed dish seasoned with mainly soy sauce and sugar. It is very much mom’s cooking everyone loves.
Potatoes used in Nikujaga are anything you like. If you like soft and fluffy, use Russet potatoes. Or if you like smooth and creamy, use Yukon. Russet potatoes, because they are soft, tend to dissolve in the broth, but that makes this dish taste good, too.
Meat in Nikujaga has to be beef (at least I believe that). Where I’m from (Osaka), niku is beef. If someone serves me Nikujaga and I don’t see beef in it, that someone is in trouble. Some parts of Japan use pork for Nikujaga, I hear. When beef was more precious back then, people may have used pork instead. Well, we are OK now, so let’s use beef 🙂
We use thinly sliced beef for a lot of different dishes in Japan. If you go to Japanese grocery stores, you find a lot of meat are cut paper thin. Here as well, thin beef is used for Nikujaga too. We call it ‘stew’, but it only takes 30 minutes of cooking. So thinner meat is more suitable for the dish to get tender in a short cooking time. If there is not a Japanese market near you, you could ask your local butcher to cut meat thin, or you can try to cut a half frozen beef block as thin as you could.
You could get Nikujaga at some restaurant or deli at Japanese supermarkets, but the best, of course, is the home made one. So cook it and show how good a mom (or dad, or person) you are!
- 10 snow peas, cooked
- 4-5 potatoes
- 2 onions
- 1 carrot
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 lb beef, thinly sliced
- 1c water
- 4 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp Sake
- 2 Tbsp Mirin
- Cook snow peas in boiling water for a minute. Let them cool and cut diagonally into 2-3 pieces.
- Peel and cut a potato into about 4-8 pieces depending on size of a potato, a onion into 8 pieces, and a carrot into small wedges.
- Cut thin beef into 2" width pieces.
- In a large pot, heat oil at medium high temperature and cook beef until the color changes.
- Add potatoes, onions, and carrot and cook for a minute.
- Add water, cover, and cook it at medium heat about 20 minutes or until potatoes get tender.
- Season with sugar, soy sauce, Mirin, Sake, and salt. Cook 15 minutes longer.
- Remove from heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then add snow peas.
- Serve as is or reheat.