Nikujaga Recipe


Nikujaga is literally meat and potatoes in Japanese. It’s a side dish, made of thinly sliced beef and potato chunks, stewed in sweet soy sauce based soup.

It is one of the most popular Japanese comfort food, which is so informal that rarely served at restaurants. As a matter of fact, most Japanese associate nikujaga to mom.

The basic ingredients are thinly sliced beef potatoes and onions, but some people add shirataki, carrots, green peas, or green beans. Beef can be ground beef. You could even use chicken thigh.

Ingredients (for 4~6)

  • 4 oz thinly sliced beef (ground beef or 1/2″ cube chicken thigh are good too)
  • 1.5 lb potato washed, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 medium onions sliced
  • shirataki cut into 1/2″ length (optional)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup noodle soup base
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


Heat vegetable oil in a medium pot and cook beef. When beef color turns, add onions and saute until the color start to get translucent. Add potatoes and further saute 3 minutes or so.
Add noodle soup base, sugar, water. When liquid start to boil, turn down the heat to simmer and drop Otoshibuta. Stew about 20 minutes or until potatoes absorbs the flavor. The soup doesn't have to be boiled down.

Check the flavor, and add more noodle soup base or sugar, if needed. Serve hot or at room temperature.



  1. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve often seen it eaten in Japanese dramas and wondered how it was made. I have a question. You have as one of the optional ingredients: shirataki, but no shiitake. Was that an error? I’m looking forward to trying out this recipe!

    • I do use shirataki, because I like the texture. Shirataki is a type of konnyaku ( made into thin noodle shape. You can find it at a Japanese grocery store. But I recently see it at health food section (most often next to tofu) of regular grocery stores as well. Good luck with making your nikujaga!

      • Thank you for your quick response! I am familiar w/konnyaku and shirataki, also known as ito-konnyaku around here. Okay, so you use shirataki for the texture, but is it traditional to use shiitake? I love the earthy essence and texture it gives most oriental dishes.
        By the way, I shared this site w/a very good friend who is another Japanophile! We had to laugh at ourselves ’cause we both got caught up in reading your many articles. We love how insightful it is and how you try to educate us all w/out being snooty about it. Thank you so very much.

        • Thank you Rose,

          It’s really great to hear that you enjoyed my articles. Most of the recipes of my site are ordinary Japanese home cooking, which many Japanese mothers make without recipes.

          Shirataki is typically added to nikujaga in Japan, but I sometimes omit in the U.S., when I don’t have it at home. Just like other home cooks, I improvise often.

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