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Food to win Japanese boys’ heart 1: nikujaga

Posted on: July 16, 2009

“If you want to win the guys’ heart, grab his stomach first”

That’s what Japanese say, that if you show him how well you cook and if you win his stomach, then he will fall in love with you and marry you.You don’t have to cook like a chef from a five star restaurant. What Japanese men look for on the dinner table is not restaurant quality food, but a comfort food that reminds them of their mother’s food.

So what is the golden recipe to win his heart? It’s nikujaga, (meaning meat-potato), a Japanese dish of meat, potatoes and onion stewed in sweetened soy sauce. Nikujaga may not seem typically Japanese since the main ingredients niku (meat) and jagaimo (potatoes) are historically not traditional Japanese foodstuffs. But Nikujaga is a popular meal especially at home,  it is a typical “mother’s taste” meal. The taste of Nikujaga may surprise you because of the ingredients sugar and soya sauce, but I am sure that the surprise will be a positive one, and you will be even more surprised by how happy Japanese men will react to your delicious nikujaga.

Nikujaga Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound beef (thinly sliced or cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 2 cups potatoes
  • 1 carrot (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 2 cups dashi (or water or beef stock)
  • 3 tablespoons soy
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 green onion (sliced)
  • shichimi togarashi to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan
  2. Add the beef and brown on all sides
  3. Add the onion, squash and carrot and saute for 5 minutes
  4. Add the dashi, soy, sugar, sake and mirin, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender
  5. Serve on a plate, smile at him, and tell him you tried your best to recreate your mother’s flavor

Nikujaga 500

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What is Tokyo Meet Market?

From the Western perspective, what goes on in the Japanese dating scene is really different and interesting! In this shy nation of Japan, meeting new people is almost institutionalized, dating and romance is littered with conventions that protect people from social awkwardness. What are dating conventions and rules in Japan? How do the shy Japanese people meet new people, develop affection, and express their passion? As I research and answer these question, I will write a real time report of what's going on in the Tokyo dating scene, or the "Tokyo Meet Market" here in this blog. I hope you enjoy my blog and a trip around Tokyo Meet Market with me!

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