The other day, I was reading Cass' mishap adventure making nikujaga. In Japanese, niku is meat and jaga is short for jagaimo which means potato. This is a Japanese-style "stew" and is sometimes called nimono (simmered dish). I have made this several times and it is a pretty simple one-pot dish.
As I read her post, I realized that I hadn't made this dish in awhile and with a bit of a nip in the air today, I thought that this dish would be a good thing for dinner.
Here's the recipe that I use (from Orange Page Book #5) -- Serves 4
650g jagaimo (potato--4 large potato)
300g chicken thigh, boneless
8-10 sayaendo or kinusaya (snow peas)
salt -- about a pinch
2 tablespoons oil
2.5 cups stock or water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 tablespoon sake (rice wine)
3.5 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
shichimitogarashi (7 spice pepper) to taste
Rinse potatoes and cut into 3-4 cm pieces.
Cut the chicken into 3-4 cm pieces.
Cut the onion into sixths.
Cut the carrot into 3-4 cm pieces.
Take the wiry part of the snow peas off, put the snow peas into a bowl with a little salt and hot water and let steep for 1 minute. After the minute, take the snow peas out and leave in a strainer.
Let's get cooking:
Put 2 tablespoons oil into a pot then add chicken and stir with wooden spoon.
When the chicken starts to turn brown, add the potatoes and carrots, making sure to coat everything with the oil. (this helps everything to soak up the sauce)
When all is coated, add the onion.
Then add the 2.5 cups of stock or water, turn the heat down to low and simmer.
Raise the heat to medium and take off the scum that forms on the top. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes without the cover. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespooon sake, 1 tablespoon mirin and 2.5 tablespoons of shoyu (reserve 1 tablespoon of shoyu for later). Stir. Then put an otoshibuta (drop lid) on top and simmer at medium heat for 17-18 minutes. (if you don't have a drop lid, you can make one from foil, it should be 1 size smaller than your pot and have 2 holes in the middle)
After 17-18 minutes, the amount of liquid in the pot should have dropped about a third. Add the 1 tablespoon reserved shoyu. Raise the heat up and simmer until the potatoes are tender but do not fall apart, add the reserved snow peas and serve. Before eating add a dash or two of the 7 spice pepper to taste.
NOTES: I usually use chicken but today used beef, also I couldn't find snow peas, so I left them out. It is best to use stock if you can get your hands on it, it makes a difference in taste. I use an organic tea bag-style stock packet with ground up kombu (kelp), katsuo (bonito), niboshi (dried small sardines) and shiitake (mushroom).
Before starting a recipe, I make my stock by adding the packet to a pot of boiling water, following the directions on the package. Then I use the amount that the recipe calls for. The leftover stock must be used within 3 or 4 days, since there are no preservatives in the stock it will spoil quite quickly--make sure the leftover stock is cooled before putting it into the refrig.
Hope you are staying warm where you are!