Nikujaga – meat and potato stew

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This nikujaga recipe is a true Japanese winter warmer. A classic beef and potato stew, this dish is flavoured with dashi, soy and sake for a flavourful and restorative broth.

First published in 2016

Nikujaga, literally meaning meat-potato, is perhaps one of the most straightforward and comforting dishes in the Japanese repertoire. It's traditionally made of meat, potatoes and onion stewed in sweetened soy sauce, sometimes with konnyaku, a gluten-free noodle made from yam.

Potatoes take centre stage in this dish, with the meat mostly serving as a source of flavour. Very thinly sliced beef is the most commonly used protein, although minced beef is also popular. In eastern Japan, sliced pork is often used instead.

Nikujaga is a simple, home-cooked winter dish, often served with a bowl of white rice and miso soup. It is commonly served in izakayas, the casual Japanese eateries frequented by those wanting to unwind after work.

It's high on energy, low on prep time and irresistibly appetising. This dish tastes even better the next day, so you can make it in larger quantities then warm it up and serve with some rice for lunch.






To begin, blanch the mangetout in boiling water for 1 minute. Place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process and leave to cool. Drain and cut them diagonally into 2–3 pieces. Reserve
Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters and the carrot and white onions into small wedges
Slice the beef thinly and into 5mm thick pieces
In a large pan, heat the oil at a medium-high temperature and cook the beef until lightly browned
Add the potatoes, onions, and carrot and cook for a couple of minutes
Pour in the dashi, cover, and cook at a medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Do not stir
In a bowl, mix the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and salt and add to the pan. Cook for 5–10 minutes longer
Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Add the mangetout, sprinkle with spring onions and serve as it is, or reheated, with rice or noodles
First published in 2016

Brazilian food and travel blogger, living in London.

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