Nikujaga (Japanese Meat and Potato Stew) (Video) 肉じゃが

Nikujaga recipe japanese cooking 101

Video Nikujaga recipe japanese cooking 101
With thinly sliced

pieces of potatoes, onions, and thinly sliced beef in salty, sweet dashi broth, Japanese meat-and-potato stew (Nikujaga) is one of Japan’s most iconic homemade dishes.

<img src="" alt="A white oval dish containing

Nikujaga (Japanese meat and potato stew).” />

Nikujaga (肉じゃが) or Japanese meat and potato stew is synonymous with good old home cooking in Japan. It is the dish that everyone eats frequently at home and remembers as the taste of motherおふくろの味. Let’s make a murderous Nikujaga who steals your family’s heart!

<img src="" alt="A white and red bowl containing

Nikujaga (Japanese meat and potato stew).” />What is Nikujaga As two of the main ingredients are niku (meat) and jaga imo (potatoes),


(肉じゃが) literally means “meat and potatoes”. It’s an iconic Japanese homemade dish, known as “Ofukuro no Aji,” the flavor of a mother’s cuisine. For many, nikujaga is an honest comfort food.

Potatoes make up the bulk of the dish, with some thinly sliced beef or pork, onion, shirataki noodles (ito konnyaku) and a colorful mix of vegetables. In western Japan, nikujaga usually features beef, while pork is more commonly used in eastern Japan.

It is a classic Yoshoku, a Western-influenced Japanese food, which appeared in the late 19th century. Here, the ingredients are stewed in soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin, along with dashi (or water) in a pot, giving a familiar Japanese flavor.

A white Staub pot containing Nikujaga (Japanese meat and potato stew).

History of


Nikujaga originated in the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was introduced to sailors as it was high in nutrition and the ingredients are easy to supply as they are similar to those in marine curry.

In the late

19th century, General Heihachiro Togo who studied in Portsmouth, England in the late 1800s, asked the naval cook to create a version of the meat stew, which was served in the British Royal Navy. Since the chef had never tried meat stew before and ingredients such as wine and demi glace sauce were not available then, the chef invented his own version with soy sauce and sugar, similar to Sukiyaki. The dish, called Amani (甘煮) back then, became popular in the Navy, and you can find the recipe in the “Navy Cookbook Textbook.”

On the contrary, the

general public showed no interest in the dish, as it uses beef and potatoes that were foreign to the Japanese at the time. Nikujaga didn’t appear at the table at home until the 1970s. That’s when beef stew and curry rice began to become popular and home cooks began using beef and potatoes in their cooking.

A white oval dish containing Nikujaga (Japanese meat and potato stew).

How to make Nikujaga

Ingredients you’ll need

  • potatoes
  • Thinly sliced beef or pork (

  • thinly sliced meat cooks much faster!)
  • Onion Shirataki

  • Noodles
  • (Ito Konnyaku
  • )

  • Carrot
  • Vegetables greens (

  • most commonly snow peas, green beans or green peas
  • )

  • Condiments – soy sauce, sugar, mirin, sake, optional dashi (Japanese soup broth)

Overview of cooking steps

  1. Blanch the green vegetable of your choice in a separate small pot. Set aside for the last step.
  2. Cook shirataki noodles according to package directions.

  3. In a large pot, cook the onion, and then add the meat
  4. . Add the

  5. potatoes and cover them well with oil
  6. . Add the

  7. rest of the ingredients, including shirataki noodles. Add the
  8. seasonings and simmer for 15
  9. minutes.

  10. Let cool for 30-60 minutes.
  11. When ready to serve, add bleached green vegetables and reheat to serve.
A white and red bowl containing Nikujaga (Japanese stew of meat and potatoes).

5 Most Important Tips to Make the Best Nikujaga

  1. Cut ingredients into roughly equal pieces and sizes – The ingredients They should be cooked in 15 minutes or less. If you cut them too small or too large, the texture will be soft or undercooked.
  2. Use a larger pot/skillet:

  3. To make sure the ingredients absorb all the great flavors, it’s best to use a wide, large pan or pot so that the ingredients don’t overlap too much and there’s no need to mix frequently
  4. .

  5. Use Otoshibuta (drop cap): This must-have Japanese tool holds ingredients in place while simmering so they don’t move and decompose. It also helps circulate the broth over the surface so you don’t have to mix while cooking. Don’t have one? Make one with aluminum foil or parchment paper!
  6. Let cool after simmering – During cooling, the ingredients will absorb all flavors.
  7. Add green vegetables just before

  8. serving – I highly recommend blanching green greens first and reheating them just before serving. If you cook them with the other ingredients, the color will not remain bright green.

What to serve with nikujaga


  • steamed rice, Takikomi gohan
  • soup

  • : miso soup, Kakitama Jiru (Japanese egg soup
  • )

  • Accompaniments: grilled mackerel (if you want more protein), ohitashi spinach, cold tofu, green bean shiraae, agebitashi
eggplant A white oval dish containing Nikujaga (Japanese beef) and potato stew).

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Editor’s note: The publication was originally published on April 19, 2012. New images and videos have been added to the post and the content has been updated. Culinary specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

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