Japanese Nikujaga

Come experience my Japanese Nikujaga recipe, a classic heartwarming beef stew that strikes the perfect balance between sweet and savory flavors! If you’re searching for a classic dish with fewer carbs, you’re in for a treat. This low-carb twist replaces potatoes with daikon, offering an authentic taste of traditional Nikujaga that’s both satisfying and wholesome!

Japanese nikujaga served in a bowl topped with fresh green onions and red pepper.

Why I Love This Recipe

My Japanese Nikujaga is a classic dish that features thinly sliced beef as its star. This stew embodies the heartwarming essence of Japanese cuisine. What makes my recipe truly stand out is the clever swap of carb-heavy potatoes for light Japanese radish, maintaining the same savory beef goodness. With a hint of soy sauce for those umami-packed flavors we all love, my Nikujaga recipe will be the perfect choice for anyone seeking a hearty and flavorful meal!

Similar to my Japanese Napa Cabbage Soup, Tonjiru Pork Miso Soup, and Asian Oxtail Soup, this Nikujaga recipe slow-cooks to perfection, allowing all the flavors to meld together. The result is a deep, rich taste that will undoubtedly leave your taste buds thoroughly satisfied. Get ready to savor the full flavors of this wholesome and hearty Japanese beef stew!



  • Beef – thinly sliced, rib roast or chuck
  • Shirataki Noodles – low carb Shirataki Noodles made from konnyaku or konjac plant. Can be found at Asian grocery stores.
  • Onion – yellow or brown onion.
  • Daikon – Asian radish cut into 1 inch thick slices. Can sub with potatoes
  • Neutral Oil no taste or flavor with high cooking temperature. Some choices are sunflower oil, peanut oil, sallower oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil. 
  • Dashi fish broth made from steeping kombu and bonito flakes with boiling water. Can also use Hondashi mixed in water for instant dashi.
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets. 
  • Sweetener – use your preferred sweetener.
  • Green Onion – finely chopped green onion scallions.
  • Togarashi (red pepper)Togarashi Japanese chili pepper blend found in most Asian or Japanese supermarkets. A good alternative would be cayenne pepper or red pepper.

Ingredient Substitutions

Feel free to add in or replace the daikon for traditional Potatoes used in nikugaja. It would be a direct replacement where you would peel the potatoes, soak in water to remove excessive starch, cut into cubes and add into the nikagaja.

🥢 Dashi Pro Tip

For easier preparation of the dashi, use Hondashi mixed with water. This quick tip simplifies the process and ensures a flavorful base for your dish.

🥩 Beef Note

For the best Nikujaga results, use Thinly Sliced Beef labeled for shabu-shabu from Asian grocery stores.

🍶 Mirin Note

We acknowledge that mirin might not be readily available in all locations. To maintain the authentic flavors of this nikugaja, my recipe modifies the ratio of Japanese sake and sweetener to substitute for mirin, ensuring you can savor this delicious dish regardless of your location.

Japanese nikujaga served in a bowl topped with fresh green onions and red pepper being picked up with a pair of chopsticks, top down.


Step 1 Start by mixing sweetener, Japanese cooking sake, and soy sauce in a small bowl.

Beef nikujaga sauce in a bowl.

Step 2 Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pot on high heat. Quickly toss in the sliced onions, shirataki noodles, and sliced beef, stirring for just about 30 seconds. Then pour in your Dashi, daikon/potato, and the sauce you prepared earlier. Bring everything to a boil, then turn down the heat and partially cover the pot. Let the stew simmer for 15 minutes.

Beef nikujaga in a pot.

Step 3 After the stew has simmered, remove any scum from the top and stir in the green onions.

Beef nikujaga in a pot with green onions.

Step 4 Serve and sprinkle on optional togarashi.

Beef nikujaga served in a bowl.

💡 Leftover Pro Tip

To enjoy a richer and more flavorful Nikujaga, make extra servings. This dish, like many traditional Japanese stew recipes, Improves in Taste with Time and let the ingredients absorb the flavorful broth the next day.

Paring Recommendations

Consider pairing it with a preferred bowl of rice to complement the rich flavors of the stew. Additionally, for a complete Japanese dining experience during the colder months, traditional dishes like Japanese Yudofu, along with a side of Japanese Pickled Garlic, make excellent pairing dishes.

Japanese nikujaga served in a bowl topped with fresh green onions and red pepper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Nikujaga mean?

Nikujaga is a Japanese term that combines two words, 'niku' meaning meat and 'jaga,' short for 'jagaimo,' which means potatoes. This dish is a homely stew that features these two main ingredients, often along with other vegetables and a savory broth.

Can I freeze Nikujaga?

Yes, you can freeze Nikujaga, but please note that the quality may degrade over time.

How long does it take to prepare the Dashi stock from scratch?

If using the traditional steeping method, it takes about 5-7 minutes to prepare Dashi stock from scratch.

Storage Tips

To store leftovers, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will remain fresh and flavorful for 3-5 days when properly stored in the fridge.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese nikujaga served in a bowl topped with fresh green onions and red pepper.

Japanese Sliced Beef Stew Nikujaga

Discover a delicious Nikujaga recipe, a Japanese beef stew that's both comforting and flavorful. Try this nikujaga recipe today!
5 from 6 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese beef stew, nikujaga, nikujaga recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Optional Marinating Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 337kcal


  • 1/2 lb Beef thin slice of rib roast or chuck
  • 8 oz Shirataki Noodles
  • 1/4 Whole Onion
  • 3 Inch Daikon Asian radish, can sub with potatos
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil neutral, no flavor or taste
  • 2 Cups Dashi
  • 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 6 Tbsp Japanese Sake
  • 3 Tbsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 1 Stalk Green Onion
  • 1/16 tsp Togarashi optional and can also be substituted with chili powder


  • Gather all the ingredients.
  • Peel daikon (Asian radish) and cut into 1 inch thick slices. Cut slices into 1/4s and you should end up with cubes about 1/4 x 1/4 inch as shown below. Place in a bowl of water for at least 10 minutes. Note - if using potato, directly replace the daikon.
    Cut daikon in a bowl of water.
  • Make dashi stock and set aside.
    Dashi in a pot.
  • Slice onion and set aside.
    Slices onions.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine sweetener, Japanese cooking sake and soy sauce.
    Beef nikujaga sauce in a bowl.
  • Prepare shirataki noodles by straining prepacked liquid and washing noodles under cold water. Set aside in a bowl.
    Shirataki noodles.
  • After 10 minutes from step 2) strain the water from daikon and set aside.
    Boiled dakion in a strainer.
  • In a large stove top pot, add 1 tbsp of oil and heat pot on high. After 1 minute, add sliced onions, shirataki noodles, sliced beef. Mix well and cook for 30 seconds.
    Shirataki noodles and sliced beef in a pot.
  • After 30 seconds, add dashi, daikon cubes and soup mix from step 5). Bring to boil and once boiling, reduce to low. Cover 7/8 of the way and let it slow cook/simmer for 15 minutes.
    Beef nikujaga in a pot.
  • Finely slice green onions and set aside (we sliced them at a 45 degree angle).
    Sliced green onions.
  • Once 15 minutes has passed, skim off the top scum (the brown foam) with a spoon/latte. Remove from heat and add green onions into the stove top pot. You can either server immediately, or wait anywhere from 15 minutes - 2 hours for the juices to really get infused into the ingredients. Sprinkle optional Togarashi prior to consuming.
    Beef nikujaga served in a bowl.


Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1085mg | Potassium: 374mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 78IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 3mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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  1. You have two different carb counts for this recipe. 3g and 6g. Which one is it? The servings are for 2.

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Hi Carrie! The correct count is ~3 net carbs per servings. The number gets thrown off because of the way the program calculates NFs.

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