Niku Jaga (Japanese Meat and Potato Stew)

Nikujaga (肉じゃが, meaning meat-potato) is a Japanese dish of meat, potatoes, and onion stewed in sweetened soy sauce and mirin, sometimes with yam and vegetables.

As I love to experiment with recipes from different parts of the world, today I thought it might fun to make this yummy comfort food dish. There are some slight variations with my recipe compared to other nikujaga versions out there. For example, my recipe substitutes beef with oxtails, and I’ve added shitake mushrooms to give this stew that earthy, moreish feel. Besides, who doesn’t love the king of all mushrooms in their stew?

Ingredients (Part I):

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs oxtail, trim fat–You can substitute this with thinly sliced beef or pork.
  • 1 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients (Part II):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 small potatoes, cut in half
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6-8 pieces of organic shiitake mushrooms (optional), rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 4 tablespoons sake
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar or 3 La Perruche Rough Cut Brown Sugar Cubes

Recipe Preparation:

Part I—

  1. Add-in olive oil then set Multi-cooker Crockpot to ‘Brown/Sear’ timed for 10 minutes (close lid). When the pot is ready, add-in the oxtails and sear until the set timed option is done.
  2. Turn off the ‘Brown/Sear’ setting and reset to ‘Meat/Stew’ timed at 35 minutes. Add-in 1 cup of organic chicken broth, and 1 cup water. Followed by 2 tablespoons saké. Close lid and cook until the timer is done.

Part II—

  1. Peel potatoes and cut each into 4 to 6 pieces, so they are uniform in size. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour to remove some starch.
  2. Cut carrots: Hold the knife at a diagonal angle, and cut carrots into long, irregular chunks. Cut each onion into 4 wedges, about 3/4 inch wide.
  3. Prepare a 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (my personal favorite) in high heat. Add-in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is ready, add the oxtails in. (Save the broth in a fat-separator measuring cup for later use)
  4. Drain and rinse potatoes. Add to pot with onions, and 1 1/2 cup of the oxtail broth mixture from earlier. (Will not fully cover the vegetables). Bring to a boil, then add soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar—stirring to distribute.
  5. Simmer, not boil — stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add-in carrots and shitake mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and rest for at least 30 minutes (or overnight, if you can resist the temptation) to allow the potatoes to soak up the seasoning. Reheat, and serve with white rice.

Enjoy! Oishii (美味しい/おいしい)