Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mick Jagger!

No no, I didn't meet the swaggering front man of The Rolling Stones. But I did eat him for dinner. Well, not really but let me explain.........

There is a very popular Japanese comfort food that consists of braised potatoes, thinly sliced beef, onions and sometimes green peas. It's called Niku Jaga. "Niku" means meat and "jaga" is short for "jagaimo" which is potato. The easy way to remember that is to say "Mick Jagger" with a Japanese accent which would sound like "Miku Jaga" which in turn, when said fast, sounds like Niku Jaga. See? You're well on your way to being a Japanese-speaking master! Other examples of faking Japanese based on English are "Doitashimashite" (You're welcome) which can be faked by saying "Don't touch my moustache" quickly. One that I learned from my coworkers at Tower Records Japan was "Kastura ga nai" (I don't have a wig) which sounds like the title of the Bryan Adams' hit "Cuts Like a Knife" if you say it swiftly and with a slight Japanese accent. I mean, how handy is that phrase going to be in your everyday life? Haven't we all needed to tell someone that we don't have a wig? Anyway, this concludes "Fake Japanese 101" for now. Or maybe it concludes the "Oyaji Jokes 101" for now. Take your pick.
Mick.....er, Niku Jaga

So- yes, I made Niku Jaga for dinner the other night- my first try- and it was everything that you'd want from a meat-and-potatoes dish. The braising liquid of dashi, soy sauce, sugar and mirin is almost completely soaked up by the meat and potatoes which results in deep, luscious flavor and melt-in-your-mouth potatoes. I had some of the renkon no hasami age filling leftover so I made some impromptu triangular gyoza, stir fried some broccollini and added a green salad to make the meal complete.
Impromptu triangular gyoza

Next time you're in the mood for this comforting dish, just remember- ask for Mick Jagger and you'll probably get what you want.

The whole spread

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1 comment:

carlyn said...

Your niku jaga looks fantastic. I never added peas before, but shall now do that as it adds such wonderful color. Everything looks wonderfully delicious.. I will never again say niku jaga without thinking of Mick Jagger!!!! ha ha