Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Nikujaga was one of my favourite Japanese dishes when I first moved to Japan as it reminded me a little of an Irish stew at home. This traditional Japanese stew has a sweet and salty flavour. It can be too sweet for some people so it might be best to add less sugar to the recipe and then add more at the end if you think the dish needs it. My Japanese friends tell me that Japanese people don't crave sugary desserts after their meals because sugar is added to most of their savoury dishes.

I've taken this recipe from one of my favourite Japanese chefs "Harumi Kunihara". Harumi has written several cookbooks in English and this particular recipe was taken from her book "Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking".

Thinly sliced beef is usually used for this recipe however sometimes I use steak mince instead as my little boy finds this easier to eat. Also I like to add a tablespoon of grated ginger to give a little kick to the dish and also enhance the nutritional value.

11/3 cups of potatoes (about 3 medium size potatoes)
1 large onion
Half lb (230g) finely sliced beef or steak mince meat
1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger (optional)
1 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil (for frying)
2 cups (about 500ml) dashi stock/ light fish stock  (to make instant dashi stock add 1 tsp of instant dashi granules to 500ml of water)
1/3 cup (80ml) soy sauce
3 tablespoon superfine/caster sugar
2 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sake

  1. Peel the potatoes and chop them evenly as you would for roast potatoes. Soak in water for 5-6 minutes to remove any excess starch, then drain. 
  2. Cut the onion into 6 wedge-shape pieces, then chop the beef into bite size pieces. 
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir-fry the potatoes, add the onions and beef and cook for a few minutes. Add the grated ginger at this stage if you are using it.
  4. Add the dashi stock, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake to the saucepan and simmer. Skim the surface and then place a wooden drop lid (or a circular piece of greaseproof paper slightly smaller than the saucepan with a hole in the center to allow steam to escape) on top. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked. 
  5. Taste before serving. If you want a richer flavour, add some soy sauce and extra sugar. Serve in bowls.  
- Like all one pot dishes this dish tastes even better the next day
- Carrots and daikon go really well in this recipe also.


  1. I love the idea of using a steak mince, I will have to try that next time!

  2. Yes it goes really well. Thanks for commenting :)


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