Niku Jaga

This is a very popular Japanese casserole type dish, served as an accompaniment with white rice. It is very traditional, […]

This is a very popular Japanese casserole type dish, served as an accompaniment with white rice. It is very traditional, even more so than sushi and sashimi and other, often misconceived “popular” Japanese foods. This dish was voted number 1 in a survey of most popular Japanese men’s foods as cooked by their girlfriends. This is my take on the recipe, a slightly sweeter and stronger flavour that I am sure you will love. By the way, niku=meat and jaga=potatoes!

Ingredients

200g pork mince (we normally use thin pork, but this it’s hard to find this in the west)
1 carrot
2 medium sized potatoes
1 onion
1/4 tbs fish stock powder (it’s called ‘hon dashi’, found in any Japanese food store. If you can’t find it, use chicken stock)
3tbs sugar
3tbs sake
3tbs soy sauce
400ml water
1 clove garlic

Step 1

Chop the veggies, slicing the onion. Then put the potatoes in some water for 5 minutes – this stops them disintegrating during boiling. Heat a sauce pan with a drizzle of vegetable oil, adding the whole garlic clove just to flavour the oil.

Step 2

Throw away the garlic clove when you can notice a change in smell. Brown the meat, then add the veggies, the 400ml of water and fish stock. Bring to the boil.

Step 3

After boiling, take as much of the scum from the top of the water. Then add the following in this order (it’s important, trust me ;-) ): sugar, sake, soy sauce. Then make a cover form aluminium foil to add to your sauce pan, so it fits neatly inside directly on top of the food. It is important to do this, rather than simply putting a lid on the pan to ensure that the flavour is perfect. Simmer gently for 15 mins.

Step 4

Throw away the foil after 15 mins, then change to high heat to reduce the water for 5 mins. No need to stir. Serve on top of white rice for a delicious meal ;-)