This is one of my favorite comfort foods. I’ve tried several different recipes over the years, and like with most cooking, there is always room to adjust and experiment (most home-cooked meals differ a bit from family to family after all). I usually just pull up a search for a recipe and adapt it to my needs, based on what I recall from my own experience and personal tastes.
This 肉じゃが from Nami of Just One Cookbook, however, has become my new go-to recipe for nikujyaga. I still adapted the recipe a bit*, but her directions led to a perfect outcome.
* I don’t use fish flakes, so instead of dashi, I just used water — there are plenty of flavors to come through without the fish.
*I also used white wine instead of sake, as it was on hand, and used a high quality soy sauce for the first batch and a low-sodium tamari for the second batch (both results were delicious).
My green “highlight” was organic green beans.
The wooden drop-lid (otoshibuta) seems to play an important part in cooking the food evenly, so if it is available, I think it’s worth getting. They are not expensive, and are readily available in Japanese markets (if you are lucky enough to live near one). I don’t think I could bring myself to make one from aluminum foil, but if you do, then consider putting a peice of parchment down between the aluminum and the food… (I wonder if you could cut a silicone baking mat to size?)
I enjoyed learning why people excessively trim the potatoes (rounding them keeps them from breaking apart). I knew there must be some reason, thankfully more than just aesthetics, but I just can’t get over the waste of good potato to follow that. (^_^) Is it really that important to not have potatoes break apart?! [As you may guess, I don’t mind lumps in my mashed potatoes, either!]
* I also increased the recipe (doubled the veggies and liquid), knowing we are “big eaters”… (^_^) or should that be ( ^_^ ) after living in Chicago?