Thursday, July 30, 2009


I went back to basics and made Nikujaga today. Like all meat and potato stews across the globe, this is home-cooked comfort food ... Japanese style. If you are a novice in the kitchen, this is certainly something you can start with. It's a one-pot stew that is a cinch to put together.

For this dish, I ditched my regular Lee Kum Kee soy sauce and used Kikkoman instead. You will be surprised at how a small change can affect the overall taste of a dish. The result was a hearty stew, nuanced with a discernible Japanese flavour. Oishii!

Now, I am very particular about the types of potatoes I use. For stews and curries, I like spuds that keep their form and are firm to the bite. My favourite potatoes for simmered dishes are Indonesian Brastagi Granola. They hold up well even after pressure-cooking ... perfect for my Nikujaga.

And oh, how my kids loved this dish! They were practically scraping the bottoms of their bowls! Now, I shall take that as a compliment ;)

- 200g lean pork or beef (in my case, I used pork since we don't eat beef)*
* It seems many Nikujaga recipes call for the meat to be sliced as thinly as bacon strips. However, I am lacking in the slicing department and so, decided on the easy way out ... I cut them into small chunks.

- 1 white onion, cut into 6 wedges

- 1 large carrot, cut into bite-sized chunks

- 4 potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks

- 1 large soup bowl dashi stock (I didn't have this unfortunately, so I subbed with regular chicken stock diluted with water, ie, half stock + half water)

- 2 tbsp mirin

- 2 tbsp brown sugar

- 4 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce (more or less, if desired)

- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce (more or less, if desired)

1. Heat up some oil in a medium-sized pot. Add in meat, followed by onions. Fry till meat is nicely browned. About 5 mins.

2. Add in carrots and potatoes, and saute for another 5 mins.

3. Pour diluted stock and the rest of the seasonings. Stir well.

4. Cover pot and allow everything to simmer for about 40mins, or until the meat is tender and the hardy vegetables are cooked through. There shouldn't be too much gravy at the end, and whatever's left should be thick and very flavourful.


  1. Little Nyonya, this is one gorgeous dish I would die for (if it's pork), yum yum yum!

  2. Kenny, I am The Little TEOCHEW. Hahahahahaha! Altho I wish I looked like The Little Nyonya ;P But yes, this dish is made with pork :)

  3. Hi, I would like to tell you that you have got "Award".
    Come and claim it !

  4. We really enjoy this dish.. albeit .. à la "Canadienne" ..I will definitely try w/ your flavorings as they are ..our favorites in meals:) I am so happy to find a stew with this taste! I would have never thought of it..!

  5. this looks perfect for my pressure cooker ^_^ i always love 1 pot stews :)

  6. Mochachocolata Rita: Love your name!!! Thanks for visiting :)

  7. I love mirin stew meat!! this dish is a comfort meal!!

  8. Nana: I think every culture has a slight twist to meat-and-potato stews :)

    My Asian Kitchen: Yes, comfort meal - absolutely!

  9. Hi Little Teochew, I enjoy having stews of any kind and this Jap-style stew is new to me. However, it's definitely a winner!
    Cheers fr the real "little nyonya" :))

  10. Such comfort food, both thumbs up from me! :)

  11. The dish looks so good and hearty. M going to try it with beef. I know my boys wll love it.

    btw I just LOVE LOVE the bowl. its stunning. the colour is out of this world. m hoping to find one like that here.

  12. nyonya pendek melaka: Thanks :)

    mycookinghut: Thanks :)

    Zurin: Thanks :) I KNOW! I couldn't resist buying the bowl when I saw it. I bought TWO!

  13. ahh comfort food. My hubs and I love this!

  14. Oh my gosh. I just devoured a bowl (okay - a bowl and a half) of this stuff and it is AMAZING!!! I loved the sweetness and thickness of the sauce. I think I put too much stock in it (like a traditional American-style beef stew) but when it wasn't reducing properly, I just added a touch of cornstarch to some of the broth, whisked it, and poured it back in w/ the rest of the stew. That did the trick. THANK YOU! This one is a keeper.

  15. Mmm, I love this but haven't had it in ages. Thanks for reminding me, I'm going to have to make it soon.