Nikujaga means meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo). Beef (or pork), potatoes, onions and carrots are simmered in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and mirin to create the ultimate Japanese comfort food.

  2  people
Ready In min (Prep   + Cook 
The history of nikujaga dates back to the Meiji era. It all started when Heihachiro Togo, a commanding officer in the Japanese Navy, when abroad to England. One day he was served beef stew, and fell in love with the taste. Upon his return to Japan, Togo had the head chef of the Japanese Navy try to recreate the dish. In those days, ingredients central to beef stew, such as wine and butter, weren’t to be found in Japan, so the chef seasoned the soup with soy sauce and sugar. The simmered meat and vegetable creation that resulted is said to be the very first version of what we call nikujaga.
This stew was found to be effective against beriberi, a deficiency syndrome which heavily affected the Japanese Navy at the time, so it became a popular Navy meal, and eventually spread to the rest of the country. It is now cherished as the meal that mom makes best.
Sliced beef . . . 150 grams
Potatoes . . . 2 small
Carrot . . . 1/2 large
Snow peas . . . 6
Large onion . . . 1/2
Shirataki . . . 1 small pack (100g)
Dashi or water . . . 200mL
Sake . . . 50 mL
Sugar . . . 2 tablespoons
Soy sauce . . . 2 tablespoons
Peel the potatoes and cut each of them into 4 pieces. Place in a pot of cold water and soak for about 10 minutes to prevent the colour from changing, then drain.
Rinse the shirataki under cold water, then put in a pot of water and bring to a boil to remove the smell. Drain and set aside.
Rinse the snow peas under cold water and break off the stems, pulling off the string that runs along the side. Bring a pot water to the boil and drop in the snow peas for one minute. Drain and set aside in a bowl of ice water to maintain their bright green colour.
Peel the carrot and quarter lengthwise, then cut into 2cm thick slices.
Halve the half-onion and cut into 1.5cm wedges.

Step 1

Heat a pan over high and add vegetable oil. Then add potatoes, onion, carrot and shirataki and stir-fry until the surface of the potatoes begins to appear translucent. Add the sake and dashi broth (or water) and bring to a boil.

Step 2

Carefully remove any scum, add the beef and reduce to medium heat. When the potatoes are nearly cooked, add the sugar and simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce and cover with a drop lid.

Step 3

Cook until the liquid has reduced to about a third of its original amount. Turn off the heat, ladle into bowls and top with snow peas.