This hearty beef and potato stew is such a popular Japanese home dish among people from little kids to elders. While there are countless variations, for my nikujaga, I like to caramelize the onion before adding other ingredients. The onion gives nice rich layer of umami flavor to the dish. Miso-shiru Nabe always makes the perfect caramelized onion without having to constantly sauté it. I also add a lot of thinly sliced gingers for the accent.
EquipmentMiso-shiru Nabe (large)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 medium-size onion, thinly-sliced
- A pinch of salt
- 14 oz (400 g) thinly-sliced (sukiyaki-thin slice) beef, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons peeled and very finely julienned fresh ginger
- 8 oz (240 g) konnyaku shirataki (yam jelly noodles), cut into bite-size length
- 14 oz (400 g) baby potatoes, peeled, or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) sake
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups (300 ml to 360 ml) kombu and bonito dashi or your choice of dashi
- 2 tablespoons raw brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white tamari or usukuchi shoyu (light-color soy sauce)
- 4 oz (120 g) carrot, cut into oblique
- shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice powder) as a condiment
- Combine the onion with sesame oil in Miso-shiru Nabe and set over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and sauté. Once the onion starts to make sizzling sounds, turn down the heat to medium-low and continue to sauté until the onion is lightly caramelized (about 15 – 20 minutes).
- Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the beef. Continue to sauté until it’s mostly cooked.
- Add the ginger, konnyaku shirataki, and potatoes. Stir throughly.
- Add the sake and enough dashi to almost cover the surface of the contents.
- Add the sugar and mirin. Once the broth is almost boiling, turn the heat down to simmer. Meanwhile, skim as necessary.
- Line the surface with an otoshi buta (drop lid) or a piece of parchment paper. Cover with lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce and white tamari, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when tested with a toothpick.
- Turn off the heat and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Serve into individual bowls and sprinkle some shichimi togarashi if you like.
Serving suggestion: Garnish with blanched green beans.