Today I’m sharing a recipe that one of my host mothers in Japan used to make all the time. Nikujaga is a simple meat and vegetables dish simmered in a soy and mirin wine sauce. It’s served on rice, and has a simple and authentic Japanese taste.
Difficulty: Just like cooking a soup or stew
Kid-friendly?: No challenging flavours or textures in this one.
Roadtest verdict: A warm winter dish, when you’re sick of the usual stews.
Japanese style beef on rice
Inspiration: Mrs Nishimura, who taught me some of my favorite Japanese home-cooking.
Serves: 4 people
200g thinly sliced beef (the thinner the better)
1 brown onion
2 cups water
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin wine (pretty widely available these days, but you should be able to find it in an Asian supermarket)
2 tsp sugar
oil to cook the beef
- Peel and cut the potatoes and carrots into medium-large pieces.
- Cut the onion into thin strips.
- Cut the beef into convenient pieces for eating with chopsticks (i.e. bite-size).
- In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, fry the onion in the vegetable oil. Add the meat and brown it.
- Add carrots and potatoes and fry for a minute.
- Add enough water to cover the ingredients. If you need to add more than the two cups of water, make sure you increase the soy and mirin wine by the same ratio.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, and use a spoon to remove any froth that forms on top of the water.
- Add the miring and sugar, and simmer covered 5 mins.
- Add soy sauce and cook until the vegetables are tender.
Pro tip: I recently tried this recipe in my slow cooker, and that also worked really well, and allowed me to use slightly thicker cuts of beef, as they had time to cook to tenderness.