Nikujaga is a classic Japanese homecooked dish called Nikujaga. Soft, thinly sliced meat and chunky potatoes simmered in a delicious Japanese style broth, this dish is so warming and has a real homely taste.
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Nikujaga as "The taste of home cooking"
What is Ofukuro no Aji?
There's a expression in Japanese called "Ofukuro no Aji (おふくろの味)" which literally means "The taste of mum's cooking".
The term is usually used for humble home cooked dishes that you rarely see at restaurants.
Nikujaga is definitely the best example of the term.
Common ingredients used in Nikujaga
The ingredients most commonly used in Nikujaga are:
- Meat (Beef, Pork, occasionally Chicken)
- Konjak (Konnyaku)
- Snow peas
The dish is very iconic with yellow (potatoes) and orange (carrot) colours. It has a great autumny feel!
Nikujaga was born as a result of failure!?
Firstly, I have to say that there's no definite theory about the origin of Nikujaga.
But there is one interesting theory and it goes all the way back to the 19th century in Portsmouth, England.
A Japanese guy was studying in Portsmouth, and during the stay, he started to 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. He listened to a description of how beef stew tastes and tried to recreate it using alternative condiments that are more accessible in Japan such as soy sauce and mirin.
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 is made-up so we will probably never really know where the dish came from, but I found it quite interesting!
Although stew is usually simmered for a long time to create deep flavours, this nikujaga recipe is quick and simple and doesn't require slow cooking! It's delicious, simple, and ready in only 30 mins!Print