Monday, April 19, 2010
Harumi Kurihara's Nikujaga - Meat and Potatoes Stew
What's more hearty than meat and potatoes? Nikujaga (niku = meat, jaga = potatoes) is a delicious stew that the Japanese have adopted and made their own. It's a little sweeter than regular stews and fish stock boosts the umami factor. This recipe is from Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking by Harumi Kurihara. She's phenomenally popular in Japan as a cooking and lifestyle celebrity, and she makes Japanese home cooking so easy and accessible. Her recipes are always homely and heartwarming. Somehow you can almost feel the love coming off the recipes as you read them!
This is her original recipe (serves 4) and it's really simple and elegant. I'm jotting down the tweaks I made (for self-reference).
Harumi says: This delicious traditional stew has a slightly sweet and salty flavour. It's the taste of real home cooking. The potatoes are soft and flaky, and the onions thick and chunky. I like my onions sliced thickly to retain their bite and texture.
750g potatoes (I just used one large potato)
400g onions (I used one large white onion)
200g finely sliced beef (oh much more please! I doubled this at least)
1 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil
2 cups/400ml dashi stock or light fish stock
75ml soy sauce
3 tablespoons caster sugar (I only used 1 tablespoon, cos 3 is too sweet for my family)
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sake (I didn't have sake on hand, so just used 3 tablespoons mirin)
* not in recipe but as you can see, I added some carrots too!
1. Peel potatoes and chop them evenly as you would for roast potatoes. Soak in water for 5-6 minutes to remove excess starch, then drain.
2. Cut the onion into 6 wedge-shape pieces (I chopped into 8 and they pretty much disintegrated). Then chop the beef into bite-size pieces.
3. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Stir-fry the potatoes, add the onions and beef and cook for a few minutes.
4. Add the dashi stock, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake to the saucepan and simmer. Remove any scum from the surface and place a drop lid on top. Simmer until potatoes are cooked.
5. Taste before serving. If you want a richer flavour, add some soy sauce and extra sugar. Serve in bowls.