In Japanese cooking, it is common to serve several small dishes alongside the main dish. These side dishes are selected to provide contrast, color, and nutrition to the overall meal. You may have picked up on this concept when enjoying bento boxes, which include a variety of components from different food groups, as well as teishoku (set meals) which typically consist of protein, rice, miso soup, and pickled vegetables. By including a little bit of everything, a more balanced meal is created.
Along these lines, Braised New Potatoes with a Sweetened Soy Sauce makes for an excellent accompaniment to any Japanese meal. Easy to make and full of traditional flavors, this recipe is a great option to pack for lunch or to round out dinner.
Braising is a combination cooking method that starts with browning food at a high temperature followed by slow-cooking it in a liquid. In this recipe, braising crisps the skin of the baby potatoes, allowing them to retain their shape as they simmer in the braising liquid. After cooking, the potatoes will be soft, but still fully intact. Poking holes in the potatoes allows the gingery, caramelized sauce soak all the way through, making for a delicious umami bite. Try drizzling any excess sauce over white rice.
For a burst of color, carrots make a wonderful addition to this dish. Simply cut into bite-size pieces and braise them along with the potatoes. Optionally, top with sesame seeds and sliced green onions before serving.
- 6 small baby potatoes (~360g)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 200g minced chicken or pork
For the sauce
- 3 tbsp rice wine
- 10ml water
- ½ tsp grated ginger
- 1½ tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2½ tbsp soy sauce (available in our Creative Beginnings: Redefining "Wa" Care Package)
- Spring onion
- Scrub the skin of potatoes and wipe off the moisture completely. Stab the skin of potato with a fork to allow the potato to absorb all the seasonings.
- Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a pan on mid-high heat and add the potatoes. Cook or a couple minutes until the skin of the potatoes becomes nice and golden. Remove from pan.
- In the same pan, add the minced chicken or pork and cook until halfway cooked. Add the potatoes back into the pan and add the rice wine, water, and grated ginger.
- Bring to a boil and add the sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 12~15mins, depending on how big your potatoes are.
- Open the lid, check if the potatoes are fully cooked by poking them with a bamboo skewer. If the skewer goes through smoothly, it means they're cooked. Continue thicken up the sauce until there is almost no liquid. Ready to be enjoyed!
- You can swap the minced chicken mince to mushrooms if you are plant based.
- You can add carrots to inject more colors.
- Baby potatoes contain more water, have very thin skin and are relatively small. Hence, you can cook them with the skin on. If you are using regular potatoes, make sure to cut them into big bite size pieces first.
- Can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days in a fridge.
Recipe courtesy of Miwa's Japanese Cooking Class
Miwa was born in Kamakura. She spent one year in Texas, US and another year in California, US during high-school and university respectively. In 2016, due to her husband, Yuki’s study abroad, she spent one year in Cambridge, UK where she came up with the original idea of Japanese Cooking Class in Shinagawa & Kamakura. She is currently teaching at the biggest cooking studio in Japan while holding a class at home. She is the mother of two and a full-time worker. Always busy her food is not for tourists but for the taste of a Japanese mother.(See her Instagram for food pictures). If you want to know the a well-balanced, time-saving and delicious Japanese family cuisine, please join her lesson!
Qualification; Medicinal cooking.
<Best classes and workshops in Shinagawa prefecture on Tripadviser (2010/06/18)>
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.