Japanese Recipe Adventures: Nikujaga with a Kick

Source: Gaijin Pot
Learn how to make nikujaga Recipe with a kick

In this new GaijinPot series, GP contributors test out Japanese recipes they found online with varying degrees of success.

“If you want to get a Japanese guy, you must know how to make nikujaga better than his mother.” This was what my Japanese teacher told us in my first Japanese class. Sexist statement aside, many of us were actually surprised to learn that Japanese cuisine is not always made of raw fish, rice, and noodles.

Indeed, nikujaga is a meat and vegetable dry stew that’s incredibly simple and as hearty as you would expect of any traditional family recipe. Every Japanese family has their own version. It might look simple at first glance but the final taste will really depend on your cooking skills.

Today’s version will have a kick with the Chinese spicy chili paste doubanjiang (豆(とう)板(ばん)じゃん) in Japanese). My own personal touch, the addition of carrots, makes the dish a bit more colorful as well.

Ingredients

Photo: Marie Meg
The meat and potatoes. Literally!

Nikujaga literally means meat (肉(にく)) and potato (じゃがいも), but you’ll need a few more ingredients to make it tasty.

  • 200gr of thinly sliced meat of your choice, medium fat
  • 1 onion
  • 2 potatoes (Tip: Usually count 1 medium size potato per person )
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Green onions for decoration

For the sauce

  • 400 ml water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 tsp doubanjiang (optional)

About doubanjiang, the chili bean paste

Photo: Marie Meg

This spicy paste is totally optional but will add a nice kick and bit of saltiness to this rather sweet dish. You’ll find it in any Japanese supermarket but I strongly recommend you visit a Chinese grocery store to …continue reading