The weather certainly has gotten cooler as of late and I have been craving heartier meals. It recently came to my attention that I have not been doing much Japanese cooking lately and I was missing it. I decided to combine the two and make nikujaga or meat and potatoes. Nikujaga is a Japanese version of a beef stew that is simmered in the classic Japanese seasonings of soy, sugar, sake and mirin. The stew ends up with a really nice blend of sweet and salty which works surprising well. Nikujaga is easy to make and tasty and because of that I make it fairly often. Recently I seem to always have some extra pumpkin lying around that just screams "use me" so I decided to replace the potatoes with pumpkin this time. I garnished the nikujaga with some chopped green onions and some shichimi togarashi. Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese condiment that is made from a blend of chilies and other things like sesame seeds, nori, etc. I enjoyed the heat that the shichimi togarashi added to the nikujaga.
Notes: Nikujaga is often simmered until most of the liquid has evaporated but I prefer to have some liquid left. I prefer to use dashi as the liquid but I have also used beef stock or even just water.
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound beef (thinly sliced or cut into bite sized pieces)
1 onion (sliced)
2 cups potatoes (or pumpkin cut into bite sized pieces)
1 carrot (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 cups dashi (or water or beef stock)
3 tablespoons soy
3 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon mirin
1 green onion (sliced)
shichimi togarashi to taste (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the beef and brown on all sides.
3. Add the onion, squash and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.
4. Add the dashi, soy, sugar, sake and mirin, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender.