Nikujaga – Japanese Beef Stew

Niku = meat and jaga-imo = potatoes. So Nikujaga literally translates into “meat and potatoes” in Japanese. This is a very hearty dish commonly cooked in winter among Japanese households. With another Shanghainese street food to prepare, I bought more potatoes and carrots than I needed. I decided to make Nikujaga to use up the rest of the potatoes and carrots.

1 lbs of thinly sliced beef, preferably a cut with enough fat on it (I unfortunately only had lean cut, the meat was a little dry after being cooked for a while)
1 onion, chopped into thin strips
4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into big chunks
4 carrots, peeled and chopped into big chunks
6-8 shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into halves
Coconut oil
salt and little pepper
1/2 cup of sake
1/2 tsp of dashi powder
2-3 tsp of sugar
5 tsp of soy sauce


Heat coconut oil in a pot. The pot needs a certain amount of depth but not too deep making it hard to stir later. Add the beef slices to the pot and cook them through. Remove the cooked beef slices and leave the grease in the pot. Add the onion strips in the pot and cook until they turn semi-transparent. Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms and stir for about 2 minutes. Add sake and cook until you smell the alcohol coming out. Add dashi powder, salt and pepper, sugar, and soy sauce. Stir to mix well and cook for another minute. Shirataki noodles (yam noodles) are often added too, but I didn’t have any at the time so I skipped this one. Pour the beef slices back into the pot and simmer with a lid partially covering the pot for about 20-30 minutes. While cooking, add a little water if the food seems dry but make sure you do so after 10-15 minutes of simmering – usually there will be enough water coming out of the vegetables after a while. Once the meat becomes tender and the carrots and the potatoes are soft, Add the green beans and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Dish out to serve.

The sauce is quite tasty and if you have any extra, pour the sauce on top of some steamed rice. They go great together!

It is such a simple dish with wonderful flavor profile. I love it! 🙂


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