How to Make Nikujaga-Japanese Taste

How To Make Nikujaga (Meat and Potato Stew)

by Megumi Moriya

Autumn Beef Easy Izakaya Kid-friendly Main Dish Make Ahead Meal Prep Stew Washoku Weeknight Dinner Idea Winter

“Nikujaga” is one of the basic Japanese homemade dishes that everyone knows in Japan. It is a dish that evokes memories of home―often reminding people of their mom’s cooking, and many Japanese feel a sense of nostalgia when they eat it.

As you can see, it is made with meat and vegetables, which are simmered in a pot with sweetened soy sauce-based seasonings. The most important ingredients are “meat (Niku in Japanese)” and “potato (Jagaimo in Japanese)”, which lead to the name of the dish. Other than these two ingredients, we usually add onion (which adds sweetness), carrot (which adds color and sweetness), and sometimes Shirataki noodles (which add a chewy texture). These ingredients are accessible and usually stocked at home, meaning you can make Nikujaga anytime you want!

As for the meat, beef or pork is typically used in making Nikujaga. When selecting the meat, it is important to ensure it contains an appropriate amount of fat, as lean meat can become tough when cooked. Keeping these ingredient selection tips in mind will help you make your own delicious Nikujaga.

Another key to making Nikujaga is the simmering process. Simmering for too long can cause the potatoes to break apart, while simmering for too short a time can leave the ingredients uncooked or not yet tender enough.

During the simmering process, seasonings are added to the pot, following the specific order for optimal taste penetration. The order is “Sa, Shi, Su, Se, So”, representing the fundamental Japanese seasonings. This means Sa=Sato (Sugar), Shi=Shio (Salt), Su=Su (Vinegar), Se=Shoyu (Soy Sauce), So=Miso. When making Japanese dishes, it is not always but is often best to follow this order to ensure the seasonings are smoothly absorbed by the ingredients.

For those interested in these tips, check out our recipe and enjoy making authentic Japanese taste at home!


Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 40 mins

Total servings: 4

Difficulty: Easy

  • 250 g Sliced Beef
  • 400 g Potato
  • 200 g Onion
  • 100 g Carrot
  • 100 g Shirataki Noodles
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Sake
  • 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 300 ml Dashi Soup Stock (homemade or instant)

Expert's Tip

How To Make Nikujaga (Meat and Potato Stew)

Once you start cooking Japanese recipes, you’ll be surprised at how many of them rely on Dashi soup stock as an ingredient. While convenient options like dashi soup powder and different types of dashi exist, if you prefer natural Dashi made from scratch, this product will surely be of great assistance. Making Dashi traditionally requires time and several steps, but with this product, all you have to do is fill the pot with water and add ingredients used to make Dashi, such as Katsuobushi flakes, dried shiitake mushrooms, dried kombu, etc., into the strainer. After microwaving for a few minutes, you will have Dashi soup stock ready to use!


1) Gathering the Ingredients

Gather the ingredients together.

2) Preparing the Dashi Soup Stock

Prepare 300ml of dashi soup stock. You can make it from scratch or use a dashi packet or powder.

3) Cutting the Ingredients

  • For sliced beef, cut large portions into bite-size pieces if necessary.
  • Prepare the potatoes by peeling the skin and cutting them into pieces approximately 25-30 grams each. Then soak them in water until ready to stir-fry. (Note: Potatoes easily break apart or melt when simmered for a long time, so don’t cut them into too small pieces.)
  • Onion: Cut into 1cm-wide slices, either rings or half-moons.
  • Carrot: Cut into bite-size pieces.
  • Shirataki Noodles: Cut them into 5cm lengths.

4) Stir-Frying the Ingredients

Drain the water from the soaking potatoes using a colander or strainer. In a pot, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes, onions, and carrots. Cook them over medium heat until the potatoes become transparent around the edges.

5) Adding the Nikujaga Seasonings

Add in the dashi and all of the other seasonings (except for the soy sauce) and bring the nikujaga to a bowl. Once boiling, simmer for about 5 minutes over low heat to medium low heat.

6) Adding the Sliced Beef and Soy Sauce

Add the sliced beef and wait for the mixture to come to a boil again. Then remove the scum and add soy sauce and Shirataki noodles. Cover the pot with parchment paper and a lid. Simmer over low to medium heat for another 15 minutes until everything is cooked well.

It is better to gently stir once from the bottom of the pot halfway through the simmering time. Avoid simmering for too long or stirring too roughly as the potatoes can easily break apart, resulting in a mushy texture.

If you have time, set the pot aside to cool on the countertop or in the refrigerator. This process helps the ingredients absorb the seasonings well. When ready to serve, warm up the dish again.

Tip: We are using the parchment paper lid to ensure that the seasoning liquid will not evaporate too much.

7) Serving the Nikujaga

Dish out the Nikujaga on a plate. Enjoy it with steamed rice!

Recommended products for this recipe


  • Hi Willie, thank you for your comment and suggestion! We are glad to hear that you’re loving your order! By the way, did you know that we have a feature where you can recommend products? If you have any particular tsukemono that you would like to see on our site (it has to be shelf-stable) then please fell free to fill out this form:

    Japanese Taste ,

  • I live in California, grew up in Tokyo… our local Japanese grocery store isn’t able to get my favorite foods anymore, I tried ur website and got my package yesterday… all ordered food in tact! Yay… will be using ur services from now… getting my ramen fix… thank u! Plz add tsukemono!

    Willie Moore,

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published