Tuesday, April 26, 2005



I guess in every country you have something like this dish… something that functions as an indicator of how good you cook as a housewife or a mother. In other words, if you are good at cooking certain dishes, everyone around you would say “OH, you’ll make a good wife/mother.” You know what I mean? In Japan, this nikujaga and maybe miso soup fall into this category. I’m not good at cooking either of them, as you can tell from the fact that I’m still single ;P

The name nikujaga simply means meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo). This is my favorite, but I still cannot make it exactly the way I want. I tend to make it a bit too sweet… then the nikujaga alone testes pretty good, but when eaten with cooked white rice, I feel that it’s not the perfect match. I’m still in search of a tasty but not too sweet or too salty nikujaga recipe that goes well with white rice. I’ve experimented some tips like adding a bit of sesame oil when sautéing or adding just a little butter at the end, but I'm still not satisfied yet.

The one I made today wasn’t such a great success. Well, I’ll keep trying…like all other on-going experiments in my kitchen, not because I want to hunt a husband but simply because I want to become able to cook and enjoy my "dream nikujaga."


Anonymous said...

nikujaga???? looks yummy.. You're a great cook obachan, can I stay with you LOL 

Posted by keona

Anonymous said...

Looks oishii......
I can almost smell it....
Such wonderful looking food and a great photograph, too.
You're so talented

Posted by carlyn

Anonymous said...

Looks so yummy .. Obachan..!! can i stay with you too.. ;) 

Posted by MrsT

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan,

So yummy and yet so simple. Did you have this for dinner? 

Posted by Reid

Anonymous said...

Nikujaga!!I made this b4 and hubby loved it! 

Posted by Min

Anonymous said...

In Finland you'll make a good wife/mother if you can make yummy mashed potatoes and meatballs :-)

Nikujaga actually reminds me of one of my favourite dishes, elk stew. My parents believe that if you can make good elk stew, you'll make a good wife :) Traditionally, elk stew is eaten with either mashed or boiled potatoes and some vegetables, so maybe that's why the image of Nikujaga brings back so many good memories...

Here is a recipe for reindeer stew, elk stew is prepared the same way except that you simmer the stew for about an hour (or even longer) and you add a few whole allspices to the stew.


Posted by Paola

Anonymous said...

The Nikujaga looks good...I had dinner not too long ago, and your picture makes me hungry again. ^-^ 

Posted by Tea

Anonymous said...

> keona --- Sure, if you’d do all the washing and cleaning for me! ;)

> carlyn --- Thanks so much. (Good thing that you can never taste my photos… ;P )

> MrsT --- OK. There’ll be your share of chores, too. Do you like cleaning Japanese-style bathtub and bathroom tiles? ;)

> Reid --- Yep, it was my dinner. This nikujaga isn’t as simple as it looks, though. If you really want it the way you want, you need some trials and errors, honestly. Or maybe because it is so simple, this dish really shows what kind of potatoes/meat/seasoning you used and what kind of preparation you did, which makes this an indicator of how good you are as a cook.

> Min --- Glad to know that nikujaga is being loved even outside Japan! Say Hi to your hubby ;)

> Paola --- Welcome and thanks so much for your info! It’s so interesting that it’s the combination of meat and potatoes in your country, too. I’ve never heard of reindeer stew, and now that I saw the website you linked to, I’m dying to try it! Maybe next Xmas, when Santa comes to town, I’ll grab one of his reindeers and secretly bury it in the snow….

> Tea --- Oh, watch out! I did some push-ups and sit-ups after I ate up the nikujaga I made that day ;) 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Hi obachan. Can you move to my home? I promise to tell all my neighbours you make the best nikujaga.  

Posted by umami

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan,
My honey would worship me forever if I could cook nikujaga as yummy as yours looks. 

Posted by Annie

Anonymous said...

“OH, you’ll make a good wife/mother.” eek. oh, dear. ms. steinem called; she does not approve.  

Posted by q

Anonymous said...

> umami --- Oh, what a wonderful offer :D How can I resist?

> Annie --- Really? Boy I owe a lot to my digital camera ;)

> q --- Personally, I don’t see any reason why a husband/father shouldn’t be the one to cook great nikujaga.  

Posted by obachan

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