Mum’s home cooking: Nikujaga

Nikujaga is a Japanese dish made up of beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, and konnyaku, and other vegetables (varying in different regions) stewed in a sweetened soy sauce. It’s boiled altogether, allowing the the flavours to soak into the food, this home-cooked winter dish reminds people of their mothers cooking! It is often eaten with a bowl of rice, and miso soup. The name is a combination of the words niku, meaning meat, and jagaimo, meaning potato.

This dish is perfect for cold winter days, guaranteed to fill you up and keep you warm, but also giving you the energy to be productive! The main ingredients are:

Potato is a good source of carbohydrates, and often makes up most of the dish.

Carrots also provide some carbs as well as vitamin A, which improves eye health, and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.

Beef is high in protein, which helps repair and build muscles and tissue, and has iron which is essential for red bloods to deliver oxygen around the body.

The origins of nikujaga aren’t entirely certain, however it was promoted as a way to draw in tourists from the late 1800s and into the 1900s. It was inspired by beef stews that were eaten by the British Royal navy; Japanese navy chefs created their own version of it. Since then it has remained a staple home dish in Japanese households that everyone loves!