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Nikujaga – Japanese Meat and Potato Stew

Nikujaga - Meat and Potato Stew

Nikujaga literally means "meat and potatoes".  It is the kind of dish that is made slighlty differently in each household.  It is especially well-suited for Japanese winter weather when the air is chilly and the old houses have little heat.


A history of the dish

Nikujaga is one of the oldest dishes in Japan, it is said to have been cooked since the late 19th or early 20th century. However, it is not clear where the dish originally came from. Both Kyoto and Hiroshima claim to be the birthplace of this food.

One of our good friends from Nagoya came to visit us in Fujinomiya. She taught us how to cook Nikujaga and the stories of the old days.  Nikujaga was one of the nicest dishes a women could make for a man in the past. It would fill up his stomach and keep him warm.  Even today, if a women offers to cook Nigujaga for you, it is a sure sign that she is interested in you.


Nikujaga is easy to cook even for a novice, originally served with meat adapting to suit vegtarians is easy. Some ingredients may not be available in a western supermarket, you should be able to find them in an asian store.



Nikujaga recipe - Meat and Potato Stew

  • Total Cooking Time: 55 minutes
  • Typically server with Rice and Miso soup.
  • Season: Winter




  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 3 medium sized carrots
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 2 brests of chicken (can be substitued with beef, pork or tofu)
  • 5-6 tbs of soy sauce
  • 1 small pack of dashi (approximatley 5g)
  • 2 tbsp of mirin
  • 2 tbsp of cooking sake
  • 4 tbsp of sugar


How to cook:

  1. Cut the potatos into quarters or eigths (depending on the size of the potatoes)
  2. Cut the carrots into equal pieces about the size of the potatoes
  3. Cut the onions into quarters or eights (depending on the size of the onions)
  4. Cut the chicken or meat into slightly smaller cubes than the potatoes
  5. Add the meat and potatoes to the pan and add enough water to submerge.  Throw on a lid and boil for 20 minutes
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients (carrots/onions etc) and boil for a further 10 minutes
  7. Lower the heat to simmer for an additional 20 - 25 minutes - you may need to add a little more water but remember its a stew not a soup.


Finally server with a bowl of Miso soup and rice - Itadakimasu!

Nikujaga - Meat and Potatoes
Preparing the ingredients
Cooking Nikujaga
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