Go Back
+ servings
4.67 from 3 votes
I call it stew but Japanese Meat and Potato Stew is nowhere near the Western style stew. The cooking liquid is based on the usual Japanese flavours of slightly sweetened soy sauce with dashi stock, but is not thickened.
Japanese Meat and Potato Stew (Nikujaga)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins

I call it stew but Japanese Meat and Potato Stew is nowhere near the Western style stew. The flavour is based on the usual Japanese flavour of slightly sweetened soy sauce with dashi stock and the sauce is not thickened. It is perhaps close to Irish stew with Japanese style broth.

Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 2
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 200 g thinly sliced beef (note 1)
  • 2 potatoes (about 600g), cut into 3-4cm cubes (note 6)
  • 120 g onion , sliced into 1cm wide
  • 60 g carrot thinly sliced into 4-5mm thick , then cut in halves or quarters (note 2)
  • 100 g shirataki (konnyaku yum noodles) cut into long strands about 10cm long (note 3)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 700 ml dashi stock
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 50 g green beans , blanched and cut into 3cm long (note 4)
  1. If each slice of beef is large, cut it into large bite-size pieces.

  2. Add oil to a saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Sauté meat, breaking the meat pieces apart.
  3. When the meat changes colour to dark brown, add vegetables including shirataki and cook further 1 minute ensuring that all vegetable pieces are coated with oil.

  4. Add dashi stock and bring it to a boil. Remove scum using a ladle, then add sake, mirin and sugar.

  5. Once boiling again, bring the heat down to low, add soy sauce and place a drop lid (note 5). Cook for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender (put a thin bamboo skewer into a piece of potato and if it gets through easily, potatoes are cooked).

  6. Transfer the nikujaga to a serving bowl, scatter the green beans and serve while hot.
Recipe Notes

1. Instead of beef, you can use pork slices. If you can buy sliced beef or pork, that would be the easiest. They are sold at Asian/Japanese butcher and grocery stores.

You can also slice a block of meat thinly yourself - please visit my post Beef Rolls with Asparagus.

2. My carrot was very thin, so I cut it in half to make semi-circle pieces. If the carrot is thick, cut it into quarters to make wedge-shaped pieces.

3. You can buy shirataki at Japanese/Asian grocery stores. Please visit my post, Sukiyaki for more details about shirataki with photos.

4. Instead of green beans, you can use blanched snow peas or frozen peas that are boiled to warm up.

5. A drop lid is called 'otoshibuta' (落し蓋) in Japanese. It is a round lid that is slightly smaller than the opening of a saucepan. It is traditionally made of wood but I have a stainless steel lid. It is placed on top of the ingredients in a pot to ensure the heat is evenly distributed, ingredients cook faster, and stay in place without breaking apart. It also stops the liquid from evaporating quickly.

If you don’t have a drop lid, you can make one with aluminium foil. Cut a square foil, fold the edges to make it a round shape with the diameter slightly smaller than the pot. Then poke the foil with a knife or a chopstick to make holes in several places.

6. Potatoes suitable for stewing like Nikujaga are waxy potatoes or all rounder potatoes. Starchy potatoes do not hold the shape together when cooked and should be avoided for this dish.