Japan – Nikujaga (Japanese Beef Potatoes)

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by Zayna Khan

This dish has two basic elements of this dish, beef, and potatoes. Some other vegetables are also added to this dish like french beans, peas, and carrots. This dish is actually a stew dish. The stew of beef broth is made and then some other sauces like soya sauce and mirin, etc are added with some seasonings. Onions are also added to this broth for more flavors and beef slices are also be added. This is more like a stew with huge chunks of potatoes and carrots and beef strips. This dish is said to be the fusion dish of western and Japanese styles together. Yoshoku is an example of Nikujaga.

Other ingredients are also added to enhance the flavor of the like pork strips, sesame seeds, sesame oil, scallions, etc. Miso soup is also a very popular dish and this dish can be made as Miso based stew with potato and beef. Dashi broth is the main broth with some sauce to add on. This is the dish served with alcohol for drinking.

Izakayas is a Japanese bar in which different snacks are served with alcohol. In some areas, Pork is used instead of beef and sometimes Seafood is also used. The most popular seafood used in this dish is Fish, prawns, shrimp, salmon, etc. This dish has a stew with meat and vegetables that are served with rice and miso soup. This dish is most popular especially in Winters when served with hot soups and rice.

This dish has the addition of sauces, spices, meat options, and vegetables, etc. Sometimes broth of Nikujaga is cook with pig bones for more taste and flavors, and then the meat strips are added with vegetable chunks. For more taste noodles and pasta are also added to this stew Nikujaga.

HISTORY

In the 19th century, this dish was invented by a Navy chef. Imperial Japanese Navy’s Chef invented this dish. TOGO HEIHACHIRO was the Gensui of the Imperial Japanese Navy, he asked the Navy’s chef to invent the beef stew dish with some vegetables to serve before the British Navy. So by considering the Western taste and infused it with Japanese style, this dish was created.

So it is said that this dish is the FUSION CUISINE dish by having both concepts, of west and Japan.

FUSION CUISINE

The dish is said to be fusion because of having two flavors and two different origins. Japanese cuisine is more influenced by Chinese cuisine and the great impact was of Western Cuisine. Chef Norman Van Aken used the word FUSION CUISINE. This was the first time used a word for cuisine. Almost every cuisine has a dish or number of dishes that are influenced by other dishes from another cuisine.

Japanese cuisine has a number of dishes that are formed by the impact of other cuisines especially CHINESE CUISINE and WESTERN CUISINE.

  • Omurice
  • Japanese Pasta
  • Taco rice
  • Gyōza
  • Ramen
  • Itameshi
  • Nikujaga

YOSHOKU

Yoshoku is the dish of western-style Japanese dish that is the type of Nikujaga. The food of Japanese cuisine that is influenced by Western-style cooking or western cuisine is said YOSHOKU. This is the fusion cuisine but more specifically Western-influenced dishes.

The MEIJI EMPIRE was the era in which different dishes were introduced. Meiji Emperor was declared as the era in which western ideas, cooking methods, dishes, and ingredients are introduced.

ELEMENTS OF THE DISH

STEW or BROTH

The main element in which meat and vegetables are served is stew. Stew is made up of Beef meat mainly but can be cooked with chicken, fish, prawns, etc. The main broth is cooked with beef strips and beef bones. The main taste of the broth is added by beef bones. Thin strips are added and then vegetables.

Different meat options can be used in this dish like :

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Salmon, etc.

VEGETABLES

As the name indicates this dish is cooked of beef meat and potatoes. The main vegetable to be added to this dish is Potato. But different vegetables are also be used in this dish for more flavors. But the only potato is used as the traditional dish. This dish can be cooked only vegetarian.

The most commonly used vegetables in this dish are

  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Welson onions
  • French Beans
  • Sprouts beans

MEAT

This dish is a beef dish so beef is the main meat option of the dish. This dish is cooked with other meat options like

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Prawns, etc.

SERVED WITH

OTHER SIDE DISHES

  • Noodles
  • Rice
  • Sauteed vegetables
  • Miso soup
  • Chili paste

SAUCES

  • Dashi broth
  • Mirin
  • Sake
  • Miso soup
  • Soya sauce

TOPPINGS

We can add topping to this dish for more flavors :

  • Kimchi
  • Negi
  • Sesame seeds
  • Nori
  • Daikon

INGREDIENTS OF THE DISH

FOR SOUP

  • Beef broth : 2 cups
  • Dashi broth : 2 cups
  • Potato chunks : 10 to 12
  • Carrots : 1
  • Soya sauce : 6 tbsp
  • Rice vinegar : 6 tbsp
  • Beef strips : 2 lb
  • Mirin : 4 tbsp
  • Sake : 4 tbsp
  • Sesame oil : 4 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds : 1 tbsp

COOKING METHOD

  • Fpr broth add sesame oil in the pan and add beef strips into it.
  • Let it change the color then add dashi broth and beef broth wth all the sauces and some salt.
  • Let this to cook for 20 minutes to the beef to tender and broth reduce in amount.
  • When beef strips are half done add vegetables into the broth and beef.
  • Let all the ingredients to cook together.
  • Serve when stew is reduced and ingredients are cooked.
  • Enjoy 🙂
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