Hey guys, Yuto here (@sudachi.recipes)
Nikujaga as “The taste of home cooking”
What is Ohukuro no Azi?
There’s a expression in Japanese called “Ohukuro no Azi (おふくろの味)” which literally means “The taste of mum’s cooking”.
The term is usually used for humble home cooking dishes that you rarely see at restaurants.
Nikujaga is definitely the best example of the term.
Common ingredients of Nikujaga
Commonly used ingredients for Nikujaga are:
- Meat (Beef, Pork, occasionally Chicken)
- Konjak (Konnyaku)
- Green beans
The dish is very iconic with yellow (potatoes) and orange (carrot) colours.
Nikujaga was born as a result of failure!?
Firstly, I have to say that there’s no definite theory about origin of Nikujaga.
But there is one interesting theory. The theory goes all the way back to 19th century in Portsmouth, England.
Some Japanese guy was studying in Portsmouth, and during the stay, he started like English beef stew.
After he came back to Japan, he asked a chef to make beef stew, but the chef didn’t know the dish so he improvised along with the story he got told using alternative condiments such as soy sauce and sugar.
Obviously it wouldn’t be that close to English beef stew, but it later became its own dish called Nikujaga.
Some people claim this story as made-up so we never really know where the dish came from, but I found it quite interesting!
How to make simple, quick and homely Japanese Nikujaga
- 1 tsp Vegetable oil
- 150g Thinly sliced beef or pork
- 3 Potatoes
- 1 Carrot
- 1/2 White onion
- 15g Green beans
- 150ml Water
- 1/2 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Sake
- 2 tbsp Mirin
- 3 tbsp Soy sauce
- First, cut the beef or pork into bite size pieces.
- Peel the potatoes and carrots, and then roughly cut into chunky pieces.
- Finely slice the white onion.
- Heat up a frying pan on a medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- Fry the meat first until lightly browned on both sides.
- Add the potatoes, carrots and onions to the pan. Continue to fry for a few minutes while stirring.
- Add 150ml of water, 1/2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp sake, 2 tbsp mirin, 3 tbsp of soy sauce to the pan and stir everything together.
- Bring it to the boil and then turn down the heat to low. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid on.
- Add the green beans (chopped or not chopped depending on your preference) and turn up the heat to medium-low, cook for another 5 minutes, again with the lid on.
- Serve up with a bowl of rice and enjoy!
You can use any green beans you like.
Japanese people sometimes add konjak or renkon (lotus root) but these ingredients can be difficult to find in other countries so we left them out.
- Category: Meat
- Method: Boil
- Cuisine: Japanese
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