Potatoes are eaten in every corner of the world, and my home prefecture of Hokkaido happens to be Japan’s biggest producer of this delicious tuber!
Potatoes are a relatively recent addition to the Japanese diet, having apparently been introduced here by Dutch traders in the 17th century.
A great source of vitamin C
Not many people know that potatoes (like other tubers) are actually a great source of vitamin C. In fact, they contain as much vitamin C as mandarin oranges!
What’s more, the vitamin C in potatoes does not break down when heated, and you can eat a lot in one sitting!
Potatoes also contain minerals like folic acid and potassium which help to prevent lifestyle related diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure and heart attacks, and their vitamin C helps to support the formation of collagen, a protein essential to beautiful skin.
A versatile part of Japanese cuisine
Every country has its own delicious ways to prepare potatoes, and Japan is no exception!
Nowadays, Japan’s younger generation prefer to eat potatoes prepared the Western way, like french fries or potato chips, but there are also plenty of ways to prepare potatoes Japanese-style.
In addition to the niku-jaga and potato salad recipes given here, in Japanese kitchens you’ll find potatoes being used in curries, stews, oden* and miso soup.
And in Hokkaido, where I am from, we love to eat boiled potatoes simply seasoned with just butter and salt.
* "Oden" (photo) : Vegetables, fish dumplings, etc., stewed in a thin soy soup.