The Dishes

Nikujaga 肉じゃが (Japanese home-style meat & potato stew) served with brown rice

Prep time: | Cook time: | Serves 4

  • ▪ 750g chat potatoes, cut into quarters with skin on
    ▪ Couple of carrots, cut into similar sized chunks to the potatoes
    ▪  4 large green onions, chopped fairly finely
    ▪ 1 thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
    ▪ 250g beef or pork mince
    ▪ 1 tbs sesame oil
    ▪ 3 tbs soy sauce
    ▪ 1 tbs sugar
    ▪ 1 tsp instant dashi powder
    ▪ 3 tbs unsweetened cooking rice wine, ideally cooking saké (not mirin – it’s sweet)
    ▪ 2 cups short or medium grain (NOT long grain) brown rice
  1. Heat sesame oil  in a large lidded pan.  Sauté the onion, ginger and meat until the meat is browned. Add the potatoes and sauté  for a couple more minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, soy sauce, sugar, dashi powder, rice wine*, plus enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring up to a boil the lower to a simmer. Let simmer  with the lid on for about 10 minutes, then with the lid off for another 10. The dish is ready when the potatoes are properly cooked through (no one likes a semi-raw potato) and there is some but not too much liquid left in the pan (you don’t want meaty potato soup!).  Serve on brown rice, prepared as below. *There is an Australian-made saké readily available called Go-Shu, which I would not recommend anyone buy to drink, as it is very poor quality and tastes like meths.  But it is great to have on hand for cooking, and you can buy it at most bottle shops, rather than having to source Asian cooking wine at a specialty store.  About $20/bottle and it’ll last for ages as you only ever use a couple of tablespoons in any Japanese recipe.
  3. You need 2 things for perfect Japanese-style brown rice:  a rice cooker and SOAKED RICE.  You must SOAK THE RICE FOR HOURS. LITERALLY HOURS. THE LONGER THE BETTER. Follow your rice cooker’s instructions for rice-to-water ratio, then let your rice cooker do the rest! Remember: the brown rice will not taste Japanese unless it has the right texture, which is only achieved by soaking and using a rice cooker.