Friday food treat: Nikujaga



Returning to Japan means returning to new tastes and recently acquired ones. This week, I made nikujaga – beef and potato stew.

Contents of Nikujaga
This dish is made from two main ingredients meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo). In fact there is more potato than beef. It is all stewed with onion, other vegetables and sweetened soy sauce, mirin and sake. There are also shirataki noodles in this dish. These are made from thin, translucent, gelatinous noodles made from the konjac yam (devil’s tongue yam or elephant yam).

Origins of the dish
Nikujaga was inventedthe late 19th century by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The story is that the chief of staff of the Kure naval base ordered naval cooks to create a version of the beef stews served in the British Royal Navy. This was a political exercise to promote the city of Maizuru, Kyoto which hosted the base. 

How it is served
Nikujaga is a common home-cooked winter dish. It is served with a bowl of white rice and miso soup. It is also sometimes seen in izakayas (places where share plates of food are served).

For a recipe that is easy to follow, try Just One Cook’s recipe. It is easy to follow with only rudimentary cooking facilities and ingredients.

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