Nikujaga (meaning meat-potato) is a Japanese dish of meat, potatoes and onion stewed in sweetened soy sauce, sometimes with ito konnyaku and vegetables. Generally, potatoes make up the bulk of the dish, with meat mostly serving as a source of flavor. It usually is boiled until most of the liquid has been reduced. Thinly sliced beef is the most common meat used, although minced/ground beef is also popular. Pork is often used instead of beef in eastern Japan.
Nikujaga is a common home-cooked winter dish, served with a bowl of white rice and miso soup. It is also sometimes seen in izakaya.
Nikujaga was invented by chefs of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the late 19th century. The story that Togo Heihachiro ordered naval cooks to create a version of the beef stews served in the British Royal Navy was devised as part of an ongoing campaign beginning in 1895 to promote the city of Maizuru, Kyoto, which hosted an Imperial Japanese Navy base where Togo was stationed, as the birthplace of nikujaga. The municipal government of Kure, Hiroshima, responded in 1998 with a competing claim that Tôgô commissioned the dish while serving as chief of staff of the Kure naval base.
Yield: 4 servings
6 oz thinly sliced beef or pork loin, cut into about 2 inch lengths
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 onion, cut into wedges
1/4 lb carrot, peeled and cut into bite size blocks
1/2 package shirataki noodles, washed, drained, and cut into 3 inch lengths (optional)
2 cup dashi soup
2 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
Heat 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a deep pot and saute the meat on high heat until it changes color. Add onion, carrot, potato, and shirataki in the pot and saute together. Pour dashi soup and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface. Add sugar, mirin, and soy sauce and put a drop-lid. Simmer until vegetables are softened.