I am not sure that this Japanese potato dish is called “stew”, however, it seems it is called on websites…
Nikujaga-which we call in Japanese, basically, is a side dish simmered mainly potato (and carrots, thread konjac) and little meat (pork or beef).
If you believe that some recipes explain Nikujaga as the Japanese-style beef stew, you maybe get disappointed.
Repeatedly, Japanese potato and meat stew is not a rich heavy stew, it’s a simmered potato dish, and even it doesn’t need to cook long.
Nikujaga literally means “meat and potatoes” despite the dish is made of almost potatoes.
Niku means “meat” and jaga is the short version of “potatoes” in Japanese.
It’s a popular comfort side dish in Japanese home cooking that you can cook quickly and deliciously with a salty-sweet flavor.
Commonly in Japan, the meat used for Nikujaga differs from region to region, from family to family.
So, pick pork or beef (even canned tuna, bacon, canned corn beef,) to your taste.
I grow up with my Mom’s potato and pork Nikujaga, so I use pork shoulder or belly in this recipe.
Lean meat is not the best choice to make Nikujaga since we need to add flavor to the potatoes and the meat will be chewy.
If you like to use beef, slice rib eye steak or cut out fatty marble parts of beef roast.
You can use your choice of potatoes- If you like soft and fluffy, use Russet potatoes. If you like creamy, use Yukon gold.
“Nikiujaga” Simmered potato and pork : Japanese Comfort Side Dish
- 1 Instant pot/pressure cooker
- 2 lb potatoes (6 potatoes)
- 1 lb pork shoulder or pork belly, sliced *bacon can be substituted
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- vegetable oil for cooking
- 2-2.5 cups homemade Kombu dashi *or 2-2.5 cups of water + 1 TSP Hondashi powder
- ⅓ cup Japanese sake or white wine
- ⅓ cup dark soy sauce
- ⅓ cup raw cane sugar
- 2 pinches of salt
- Cut potatoes into quarters or 6 pieces. Avoid cutting them too small. Soak pieces in cold water for 10 minutes and drain.
- Cut carrots into chunks, and cut the onion into wedges while leaving the core so that the onion layers likely hold together.
Make Nikuhaga With Instant pot or Pressure cooker
- Use "saute" mode in Instant pot. Add the vegetable oil and pork.
- Start cooking the meat in a cold inner pot since the meat will not stick on the bottom.Cook the pork until they turn color.
- Add potatoes, carrots, and onions, then, stir.
- Add dashi broth and sake or white wine, and bring them to a boil. Then, add dark soy sauce, and sugar, then, bring them to a boil. *Place a drop-lid or Otshibuta lid. *How to make a paper drop lid.Turn off the saute mode.
- Close the lid, and set the "pressure cook", HIGH, for 7 minutes. Wait for the pressure being released naturally.
Make Nikujaga On The Stovetop
- Oil a deep large skillet or pot, and sauté the meat on medium-high heat until it changes color.
- Add potatoes, carrots, and onions, then, stir.
- Add dashi broth and sake or white wine, and bring them to a boil. Then, add dark soy sauce, and sugar, then, bring them to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low. Put a drop-lid, and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetable is cooked. *How to make a paper drop lid.*Make sure the broth is boiling with bubbles while adjusting the heat.*Yet, avoid cooking the potatoes over high heat since they'll fall apart.
- Turn off the heat.
- You can serve it immediately, but, it'll be more flavorful once the dish cools down. Let it reheat and serve.
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