Food Forum
Vol. 28 No. 1  April 2014




Niku-jaga is a classic Japanese dish of potatoes and beef simmered in soy sauce-based dashi stock. Sliced beef is usually used, but here tender meat patties make a nice substitute. Herbs add a Western flavor to the rich soy sauce foundation.


Serves 3

246 kcal  Protein 24.9 g  Fat 18.9 g (per person)

  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms (22 g / .7 oz. incl. stems)
  • 600 ml (2 1/2 C) water
  • 5 cm (2 in.) stale baguette
  • 300 g (10 oz.) ground pork*
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and grated
  • Black pepper
  • 1 t Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 1 t sake
  • Approx. 1/2 beaten egg
  • 1 t butter
  • 1 t vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, 150 g (5 oz.), cut in half lengthwise; 5 mm (1/4 in.) slices
  • water
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 peeled carrot, 150 g (5 oz.), cut in round slices 5 mm (1/4 in.) thick
  • 1 parsley stem, 1 sprig thyme, 1/2 bay leaf
  • 3 medium potatoes, total 400 g (approx. 1 lb.) peeled and quartered
  • 1 1/2 T Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • Sour cream, if desired


  1. Soak 6 dried shiitake mushrooms in 2 1/2 C water for several hours. Drain, squeeze off excess water, remove stems and cut each mushroom diagonally into 2-3 slices. Reserve soaking water.
  2. Remove bread crust; soak bread in water, then squeeze out water and tear into small pieces. In a bowl, add this bread to patties ingredients except for egg; mix together well. Add enough beaten egg till texture is smooth, but can still be kneaded. Divide into 16 pieces; form balls and press lightly to shape into small patties.
  3. Add both butter and vegetable oil to a frying pan. Cook patties over medium heat until both sides are lightly browned. Turn off heat, remove patties and set aside. Remove all but about 1 T of accumulated fat from the pan.
  4. Over medium heat, add sliced shiitake mushrooms and onion to the pan; stir, scraping off browned bits stuck to bottom of pan; add 1 C of the soaking water that was set aside.
  5. Bring to a boil, pour contents of pan into a stew pot.** Add bouillon cube, remaining soaking water with additional water to make 1 C, sliced carrot, and parsley, thyme and bay leaf wrapped in cheesecloth.
  6. Simmer for 8 minutes over low heat; add the potatoes. Place parchment paper directly atop potatoes (see photo); simmer for 10 minutes or until a wooden pick can be inserted smoothly into potato. Make sure there is just enough broth to cover ingredients; if needed, add a little water.
  7. Add patties, black pepper and soy sauce, simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Add more soy sauce to taste. Serve with bread or rice, with sour cream if desired.

* May use other ground meat such as beef, chicken or mixtures.
** If using a heavy-bottomed pan, no need to transfer contents to a stew pot.

Recipe by Michiko Yamamoto

1 C (U.S. cup) = approx. 240 ml; 1 T = 15 ml; 1 t = 5 ml