Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nikujaga (Japanese Simmered Beef & Potato Stew)

Nikujaga is a Japanese simmered (nimono) dish invented in the late 19th century by chefs of the Japanese Imperial Navy. Popular during the colder winter months; it is considered a form of "comfort food" (ofukuro no ajiand consists of beef, potatoes and onion, stewed slowly in a dashi broth sweetened with mirin and soy sauce until the broth has nearly evaporated. Perfect for those "meat and potato" people who might be unwilling to try Japanese cuisine!

My recipe for nikujaga is compiled from numerous recipes; in traditional fashion, I still prefer to serve this dish in a Japanese donabe, a ceramic cooking vessel glazed on the outside but still porous on the inside. I also like to add konnyaku or shirataki noodles to absorb the delicious cooking broth. This meal needs no other sides other than perhaps a bowl of freshly steamed Japanese rice. 

Nikujaga (Japanese Simmered Beef & Potato Stew)
adapted from Just HungryAbout.com, & Closet Cooking

1 lb thinly sliced beef loin
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & quartered
1 onion, cut into wedges
4 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 1/2 cups dashi
2 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat and quickly saute the beef. Add the potatoes, onion, carrot and shirataki noodles and stir to combine. 

Add the dashi and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and skim any foam that rises. Simmer until the potatoes are softened, about 10-15 minutes. 

Add the sugar and mirin; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, cover, and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. 


  1. Thank you for posting this recipe. Fell in love with the dish when I had some at a local Japanese restaurant in Toronto. Very comforting!

  2. Why do you need to add the sugar and mirin before the soysauce like that?

  3. You need to put the shoyu after the mirin and sugar because it tends to burn and evaporate the liquid faster.

  4. Maybe you should put it all in a sandwich, just to make sure you're getting enough starch.