Japanese-Style Beef Stew Recipe (2024)



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I've made this stew numerous times. When browning meat, note it is on one side only. Otherwise too much juice released. It is VERY easy to overcook the squash or sweet potato. I cut them into the one inch chunks I but check it. I have made it with dashi and with stock, I found no difference in the taste. I cook the stew in the oven, at a lower heat, 325 for about 2.5 hours. A good side dish with this is the Sake-Steamed Kabocha Squash With White Miso.


A minor (but important) note: In Step 2, you juice the lemon AND SET THE JUICE ASIDE. In the flurry of cooking, it's easy to read that sequence as implying that the juice goes in immediately--and it makes a big difference. The first time we made this exactly as directed. The second time, I was in a rush, and accidentally juiced the lemon into the stew in step 2. Doing so leads to a dull, vaguely acidic flavor, while adding it correctly in Step 4 leads to a bright burst of citrus.


The designation "Japanese style" may simply have been intended to reflect the use of mirin, ginger and soy sauce. Many chefs habitually invoke international culinary traditions with affectionate abandon. This practice may be confusing to newcomers, but it is by no means necessarily indicative of either ignorance or disrespect. Possibly it resembles the practice of greeting strangers with a word or two of their own language. It is a gesture of connection, a salute to community.


I made this in my Instant Pot to speed it up. Browned the meat on the saute function, then deglazed (with vegetable stock, soy, mirin; added lemon peel, one star anise, and cinnamon stick). Cooked on stew function for 35 minutes. Manual release, then added squash carrots, and garlic and pressure cooked for another 8, manual release. Served w/ lemon juice and scallions. Delicious!


Japanese visitors who prepared this dish at our home used sake instead of mirin.


I haven't made this dish yet but make a lot of braised dishes and would recommend roasting the squash until carameluzed and tender then adding to the stew at the end.


The stew came out pretty sweet according to original recipe. Reduce the amount of mirin and soy sauce if you don't wanna be overwhelmed by sweetness (Especially if you are using sweet potatoes already!)


Personally, I think if a dish is good, it shouldn't matter if it is "authentic". What does "authentic" mean anyway? As with all things, styles of cooking evolve and change with time.


Unlike many of the other NYT recipes I've tried, this was quick, easy, and didn't call for any ingredients that aren't readily available at a non-specialty grocery store. Most importantly, it was delicious without any substitutions or adjustments, though I can think of a number of modifications that would also be delicious. I served it with black rice and even my picky kids ate it. Will definitely make again.


I modified recipe to be cooked in an instant pot and changed the ingredients (acorn squash, mirin, minus lemon and added cinnamon stick) based on what was available and recommended in comments. First sauted meat, then cooked liquids & meat for Meat/Stew setting for 35 mins. When timer goes off, set valve to vent. After venting, open and toss in veggies. Set for manual for 5-7 minutes (I did 10 min which is too long and veggies came out softer than I prefer). Once done cooking, vent.


Love the flavors.... As w/ other reviews, adjust cooking temp/ time. Low and slow is the way to go. Simple rule of 1 hr/1 lb chuck. Garnish w/ thinly sliced scallion for serving as pictured.


I added the star anise and cinnamon stick as advised in a previous comment, and it was a welcome addition. I used honey, rather than mirin, and chicken stock instead of dashi. Served over jasmine rice. The only thing I might say in hindsight is that I should have left a bit more fat on the chuck so it would have been a bit more tender. That said, it was quite good; the flavor was clear and just strong enough. A keeper.


Ah yes, Nikujaga, or Japanese meat and potato stew. I'm not too fond of overly sweet nabe style dishes, so I typically use less mirin and sugar. Oh, and a little sake doesn't hurt, either. Carrots can be substituted for the pumpkin (kabocha in Japanese) or sweet potato.


added garlic in step 2
added turnips from my CSA in step 4, extra veggie was great
also added togarashi & sesame seeds to finish


As others have said be sure to allow this to cook slow and low-heat.


Had my local butcher cut the size of the beef as described in the recipe. Browned on one side in my Dutch oven. Used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce but other than that I followed the recipe as written. Served with short grain brown rice. Simply delicious!


Juice of one lemon was too much, it overpowered the dish


Added 2 star anise and small cinnamon stick like one comment described. Added bay leaf for extra aromatics. For the sauce mixture I did half dark soy sauce and half regular soy sauce. Added a good pinch of white pepper and a few grinds of black pepper. Since I didn’t have the patience or ingredients to make dashi I used chicken stock.At the end I juiced half the lemon and added a dash of fish sauce for extra umami and make up for the lack of dashi.


Good base for a lot of things, simple and delicious. Browned the meet with an onion and added a corn starch slurry at the end to thicken the sauce. Next time will serve with a light stir fried vegetable.


Pressure cooker: 25 minutes for the beef, quick release, add squash, cook for 5 min, quick release. Perfect.


I've made this twice, once with the lemon peel in the broth and once without. I would say that the broth without peel has a much brighter flavor. Still used the lemon juice both times, but the peel made the broth quite bitter in my experience


Made this almost exactly as the recipe described, but doubled the stock and cooked at a lower temp for much longer. The extra stock does make it soupier than most beef stews I’ve made, but it mellowed out the sweetness of the mirin and acidity of the lemon juice. We had it with fresh buttered bread to give it a savory and fatty balance. Great recipe — will be adding to the rotation.

Elisabeth Y.

Pleasantly surprised by how well all the flavors worked together, especially the lemon rind in the braise with the fresh lemon juice for serving. Added one stair anise and two cloves of garlic to the braising liquid for some subtle complexity. Followed others and threw the whole Dutch oven in a 325 oven; the meat took about 1 hour then with butternut squash, an additional 30 minutes. Both came out perfectly tender!


You can always buy mirin online, but if you're really in a crunch, you can sub in a dry sherry or a sweet marsala wine. Dry white wine or rice vinegar will also do, though you'll need to counteract the sourness with about a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon you use.


This was great as is, although did cook low and slow a lot longer than suggested. Next time I may do carrots instead of sweet potato.


love love love this recipe!! beef stew is a fave of mine and this has become my go-to recipe. after i take the beef out, i deglaze the pan with chinese cooking wine and add an onion before the rest of step 2. i use water and bullion cubes for the broth, use sweet potatoes instead of butternut quash and skip the lemon peel. i also only use a dash of sugar. i will be looking to try the star anise and cinnamon next time i make this, sounds like a great rec!


Used 2 lbs stew beef and 1 kabocha squash, both chicken broth and dashi, and mirin and 1 tsp sugar. Only had clementine, and used the peel, no juice. It was nearly perfect, just a tad too salty. Would use a bit less soy sauce next time.

More Spice Needed?

Not good. Agree with others. Lemon overpowered. Too watery. 5 stars?


I loved this. Didn't even need salt at the end. I used a mix of low sodium soy and tamari (finished off a bottle of the former), added 2 star anise with the lemon peel, and reduced the lemon juice at the end by about half, because I found that it already tasted quite bright. Also removed the ginger coins before adding squash, figuring they'd be easier to find then. Going into the rotation!

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Japanese-Style Beef Stew Recipe (2024)


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