Nikujaga Meat and Potato Stew

Niku-Jaga is a beloved taste of Mom's home cooking. Generally, beef is used in western Japan, while pork is more common in the east.

Nikujaga Meat and Potato Stew
Photographed by Takeshi Noguchi

Recipe by
Eiko Oba






Calorie count is per serving.


  • 200 g beef trimmings
  • 3 potato (large) (500 g)
  • 1 carrot (small) (120 g)
  • 1 onion (small) (120 g)
  • [A]

    • 2 tbsp mirin
    • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 140-200 ml water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce



Quarter the potatoes and soak in water for around 10 minutes. Cut the carrot diagonally into bite-size pieces, rotating the carrot a quarter of a turn after each cut. This technique is called ran-giri. Cut the onion along the grain into 8 equal wedges. Drain the potatoes and pat dry.


Ran-giri: Cutting vegetables into random shapes by cutting diagonally and rotating a quarter turn after each cut. The shapes may be uneven but the sizes must be uniform.


Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan placed over medium heat. Stir-fry the beef.


When the beef changes color, add the potatoes, carrots and onions, and lightly stir-fry.


When all the vegetables are coated in oil, add the sake and water, and bring to a boil. Add [A], then cover and simmer for around 8 minutes over low heat.


Stir in the soy sauce, then cover and simmer for another 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.


Ran-giri (cutting into irregular shapes)

Used to cut vegetables into irregular shapes of uniform size. The increase in surface area allows ingredients to cook evenly in less time and absorb more flavor.

  1. Lay a cucumber or other long, cylindrical vegetable crosswise in front of you.
  2. Start cutting diagonally from the end.
  3. After every cut, rotate the vegetable 90 degrees towards you.
  4. Keep cutting to the other end.

Suitable ingredients:
Cucumbers, eggplant, carrots, green peppers, gobo burdock root, lotus root, etc.

A pointer from Hatsue:
Use a lid that fits
Novice cooks should use a 24-26 cm non-stick frying pan with a fairly thick bottom. It should be about 5-6 cm deep. A non-stick pan about this size is easy to handle and care for. Having a lid that fits is essential in Japanese cooking, which involves a lot of simmering and steaming. A good-fitting lid keeps evaporation to a minimum and efficiently traps the heat inside. A heat-resistant glass lid allows you to check the contents and amount of liquid without having to uncover the pan.