Meat and Potato Stew: Nikujaga

Love from home :)
Home cooking is the best. For me it's merely because some dishes are truly not available in any restaurants. When Kenji visited last year, he asked what is my favourite Japanese food and without thinking, I said nikujaga and he beamed ever so slightly with pride :) This dish is the epitome of Japanese comfort food, warm and hearty; when I think about it I realised that most races have their own version made of very similar ingredients -- meat, potatoes and lots of love!

Though it's called a stew but most of the liquid would have evaporated by the end of the cooking and there's a uniquely Japanese method to retain the shape of the potatoes even after stewing for some time. This dish usually has a larger ratio of potato versus meat, where meat is more for flavour. So another tribute to Japan in all its charm that's only available in the comfort of a home kitchen :)

Ingredients
  • 500g boiling potatoes (or any firm potatoes)
  • 100g thinly sliced beef (or pork)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cups dashi (preferably homemade)
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs sake
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Vegetable oil 
Adapted from Just Hungry

Directions
  1. Slice potatoes in large pieces and heat up a wok with vegetable oil
  2. Sauté  ginger and onion until fragrant
  3. Add beef and give it a good stir until meat is slightly brown
  4. Add potato slices to the mix and sauté for few more minutes
  5. Pour in dashi to almost cover all the ingredients (or add a little water if necessary, especially if you're using a flat pan, more liquid is needed to cover everything) 
  6. Mix in sugar, sake, soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil
  7. Use the ladle to gather the potatoes in the middle of the wok and find a pot lid that is smaller in diameter than the wok and put it directly over the potatoes. This way the potatoes will be able to simmer and soften in concentrated heat without losing shape while the liquid is slowly reducing.
  8. Turn the heat down to medium and let it simmer for a good 20 minutes or until very little liquid is left 

21 comments:

  1. Mmmm! This is made with ingredients I almost always have in my pantry, so it seems like a great 'throw together' type of dinner. Comfort food is the best, isn't it?

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  2. you really made this! lovely dish..my bro really loved it when I made it :D

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  3. Nikujaga is truly a comfort food, I always enjoy eating it with a bowl of rice :)!

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  4. This used to be a staple in my kitchen. My half Japanese bf loves it! :-)

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  5. The curry looks so delicious! Yum!

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  6. You're right, some dishes are truly not available in any restaurants and yours looks great! I might try your recipe, i really like japonese food.

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  7. Comfort stew indeed, but I am not a fan of potato.

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  8. I can imagine how intensely-flavored the stew is, by the time the liquid is reduced...

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  9. Simple and lovelt dish! A winner.

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  10. What a great technique to keep the shape of the potatoes! Sounds delicious with the ginger and dashi.

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  11. I really like the look of this, saved for when the weather cools down :)

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  12. That looks sumptuous :)
    http://kitchensojourn.blogspot.com

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  13. this is comfort food..the meat looks so tenderrr!! my stomache is growling looking at it! cant wait to give this a go soon :D

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  14. This is not only a favorite with Japanese, it's our favorite here too in Indonesia!

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  15. haha im posting on all your entries, theyre just SO YUMMY!
    who could resist meat & potatoes?!
    a classic combination .

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  16. A simple, homey and delectable potato stew!

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  17. This was one of my favorite childhood dishes! Thanks for the tribute to Japan. They all truly need it.

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  18. Comfort food indeed! One of my favourites too =)

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  19. I bet the potatoes get all wonderfully creamy in this, plus have that irresistible umami taste from the soy sauce. Good thing it has such a high ratio of potatoes, because that's what I would totally eat first in this dish. ;)

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  20. I cooked this and loved it, just posted a link from my post! Thanks :)

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