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Celebrating Fall with Imoni

Updated on October 30, 2014
Imoni, Japanese Beef Stew
Imoni, Japanese Beef Stew

Imoni - Meat and Potatoes Stew

I was first introduced to Imoni around 10 years ago by a friend who was born and raised in Yamagata prefecture. Yamagata is located in the Tohoku region of Japan and known for its fruits, particularly cherries and pears. They are also well known for Yonezawa Beef which is considered one of the top three beef, standing alongside Matsusaka and Kobe beef.

Imoni is prepared similarly but with slight variations depending on the prefecture although they always contain some kind of potato and meat. In Yamagata, beef is combined with satoimo, which is taro root. Konnyaku (dense jelly made from the konjac plant) and mushrooms such as maitake, hiratake and shiitake are added. Regular potatoes can be substituted for the satoimo as it may be difficult to find outside Japan. Also you may wish to use pork in place of beef as that's how the people in the Shonan region like to eat theirs.

*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

The Famous Imoni Kai in Yamagata

Yamagata's famous imoni kai
Yamagata's famous imoni kai

Imoni is a huge deal in Yamagata and is usually eaten mostly during the autumn season. Imoni is eaten like a soup or stew and you'll see groups of people preparing and eating it outdoors near the rivers. Imoni-kai (imoni get-together) is an important autumn tradition in Yamagata and tourists as well as local residents gather around a giant kettle of imoni which is prepared using a huge crane on the banks of Mamigasaki River on the first Sunday in September.

*Photo courtesy of Japan wikipedia

House Black Shirataki Yam Cake 10.5 oz
House Black Shirataki Yam Cake 10.5 oz

Most people in America think shirataki noodles when it comes to konjac. In Japan we more often use the one that comes in a block. This is the konjac that's used in this recipe.

 

Let's Get Started

Imoni is a hearty dish of meat and potatoes with many variations throughout the Tohoku region. This recipe is prepared in the Yamagata style with beef and satoimo yams.

However please feel free to substitute regular potatoes if you can't find satoimo in your city.

If you can't find or don't like konjac or shirataki, delete them completely from the recipe. You can also use pork instead of beef but if you do, add 2 tablespoons of miso to balance out the flavors.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 30

Total Time: 60

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound beef thinly sliced (use beef with some fat for best flavor)
  • 8 small satoimo yams or baby potatoes
  • 1 block konjac torn into pieces or 1 package shirataki noodles
  • A bunch of maitake shiitake or any mushrooms you'd like to use.
  • 1 stalk negi (Japanese green onions) or scallions
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon instant dashi powder(Japanese bonito stock)-optional
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 cups water
Japanese Hon Dashi Bonito Fish Soup Stock - 2.1 oz x 2 bottles
Japanese Hon Dashi Bonito Fish Soup Stock - 2.1 oz x 2 bottles

This is the bottle of dashi I have in my kitchen all year around. I couldn't live wthout this. It can be used as a seasoning to add umami to almost any dish. A must-have item if you're making Japanese food.

 

Instructions

  1. 1. Peel the satoimo yams or young potatoes and rinse clean.
  2. 2. Cook the beef strips with some cooking oil in a large pot for 2 minutes. Add satoimo or potatoes and mushrooms. Add the konjac if you are using them. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. 3. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  4. 4. Add soy sauce, mirin, sake, salt and sugar. If using dashi powder, add some here.
  5. 5. Add in the negi or scallions and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve and eat while it's piping hot.

Watch My Video for Imoni

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    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @lesliesinclair: Oh yes, this is the perfect party dish.

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VinnWong: oh thanks Vinn.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 

      4 years ago

      Sounds tempting for a party dish with family.

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 

      4 years ago

      I loove this recipe! I'm a big fan of mushroom these days I think. I really love them with chicken and rice.

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VspaBotanicals: Let me know how it turns out.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 

      4 years ago

      Another recipe I must try.

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sharadkgupta lm: Thanks so much sharadkgupta.

    • sharadkgupta lm profile image

      sharadkgupta lm 

      4 years ago

      I love to eat food.This is a great recipe.

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @RoSelou: thank you Roselou. Glad you like it. :)

    • smine27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Lorelei Cohen: Aww thank you so much for you kind words. You are so lucky to have your own apple tree! I'm so envious!

    • profile image

      RoSelou 

      4 years ago

      This is delicious! I love soup and vegetables.

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Your imoni recipe looks delicious and I love that you always use your own photos on your articles. They bring your article to life. My husband and I have been harvesting apples all week from our fruit tree so Autumn is busy here for us. Have a wonderful fall season.

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