Sunday, November 28, 2010
MEAT AND POTATOES JAPAN STYLE
If you go to the supermarket in Japan you can see huge 5kg and 10kg bags of rice and tiny 300g to 500g bags of potatoes. It's the complete opposite of New Zealand where the bags of potatoes are huge and the packets of rice are tiny. But in Japan potatoes are just another vegetable, not a staple food.
One Japanese meal I make again and again is 肉じゃが (nikujaga which means 'meat and potatoes'.) It's easy and delicious. Nikujaga uses beef sliced as thinly as bacon. Slightly fatty beef makes this dish even more delicious. But in New Zealand mince might be the easiest available option.
In a large saucepan, brown 400-500g thinly sliced beef and 1 large sliced onion in a little oil. Add 400g potato chunks (and carrot if you want.) In Japan slimy konyaku noodles are often added to this dish as well, but it is still good without them. Add water until all the ingredients are almost covered and bring to boiling point. My recipe book says to remove the scum, but I never do. (I wonder if anyone does?) Reduce the heat then add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons sugar and a dash of sake or cooking sherry if you have some. Cover with a 'drop lid' or if you don't have one use a piece of tinfoil. Simmer until most of the liquid has gone. Serve with rice.
This tastes even better the next day!
For a more exciting version of nikujaka: