Nikujaga – Japanese Beef Stew, crock pot version

nikujaga01[1]    This is an excellent cold weather dish. It is similar to other stews of this type. I like best to use thinly sliced fatty beef but the type the Japanese use is hard to find. Instead, my adaptation to this recipe is to use nice chunks of chuck roast. I also use Yukon gold potatoes so they stay more whole but if you use regular potatoes and they start to dissolve into the broth, that tastes good too!

Japanese stews are not thick like many of ours. They are more brothy and when served in a bowl over rice, they are similar to a dish, donburi – meat bowl. This stew will have your whole house smelling fragrant and homey. I was taught this recipe years ago from my Samurai, who liked both American and Japanese stews. We’d cook this on a miserable cold rainy day and enjoy for supper. It is also good sopped up with a nice baguette but I like the rice better. Serve with a dry white wine or better yet, some sake. But soft drinks work just as well!!

You can also substitute some bok choy or regular cabbage for the snow peas. Adding a small can of sliced mushrooms (yes….can. That’s what he did and I figured, hey, it’s a Japanese stew and he is Japanese so I am not arguing) along with the snow peas is good too. If you want to throw in a quartered turnip that’s also good.  You can also add more water for more broth.

どうぞめしあがれ douzo meshiagare, y’all! (eat well you all ! – said by the cook before the meal to the diners)
 

Ingredients
2 lbs beef stew meat (brown in a bit of oil before adding to crock pot)
1 cup water
3 tbs. Japanese sake
3 tbs. mirin
3 tbs. sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb baby carrots (whole)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large white onion, diced
10 snow peas halved
quarter sized piece of ginger, grated
cooked sticky rice
garnish with some chopped parsley and/or slivered scallion

Directions:
1 Put all into crock pot and cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
2. Add snow peas last two hours of cooking time
2 Stir before serving. Serve over sticky rice.  Use chopsticks to stir or stir carefully to not break apart ingredients.

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