This recipe was passed down to me from my grandfather, who was a very good cook. He always cooked us delicious food when we visited him and he was a major influence to my cooking style.
Nikujaga is a standard family food in Japan. “niku” means meat and “jaga” means potatoes, so this is basically simmered potatoes and vegetables with meat. My grandfather’s Nikujaga recipe doesn’t use any broth, only sugar, sake and soy sauce, so it has a wonderful sweet taste. We use a frying pan to prepare it so it’s like half sautéed and half simmered. Some people use beef for Nikujaga, but my grandfather’s recipe uses pork instead. In Japan I would use sliced pork, but since it is difficult to get thin sliced meat outside of Japan, I use ground pork. I have grown to be quite fond of ground pork so I guess that is my twist to this family dish.
Nikujaga (Simmered Meat and Potato)
· ½ lb of ground pork
· 3 potatoes
· 1 onion
· 3 carrots
· 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
· 2 tablespoons of Japanese sake
· 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
· some oil
1. Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces. Cut onion into wedge shapes and slice carrots to 1/3 of an inch.
2. Sauté the ground pork in a frying pan with oil on medium heat. As the meat browns, add the onions, carrots and potatoes, and sauté them for a minute.
3. Add sugar, sake, soy sauce, and mix well. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove from the heat and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If you have time, let it sit even longer. Once the Nikujaga cools down, the taste absorbs better. You can heat it up again before you serve it.
Enjoy my grandfather’s recipe, Nikujaga. Of course you should eat with a serving of Japanese rice.