Japanese Cream Stew With Koji

Japanese Cream Stew With Koji

Japanese cream stew, also known as white stew, is the Japanese answer to a cold winter’s night.

Following the Japanese mindset of balanced eating, this dish provides that rich and creamy flavour you would crave on a chilly evening but also leaves you feeling light and guilt-free afterwards. Perfect ladled over steamed white rice and drizzled with Horiya Honten Koji Soy Sauce. 

For a pro cooking tip head to the end of the recipe


  • 500g of boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
  • Salt (why not try some Japanese storm salt?)
  • White pepper to taste
  • 1 Head of broccoli
  • 1 Large white onion
  • 2 Carrots (approx. 250g)
  • 1 Large Maris Piper potato (Optional)
  • 8 Brown cap mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 480ml of Chicken stock
  • Blended Shio koji to taste

Roux (Bechamel sauce)

  • 43g unsalted butter
  • 23g plain flour
  • 240ml whole milk (or use soymilk if lactose intolerant)
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the vegetables. Separate the head of broccoli into florets by slicing underneath each floret. The leftover stem can also be diced into 1cm cubes and used in the stew to avoid waste. 
  2. Peel and dice your onion into large chunks. The large pieces will allow you to taste the onions after cooking which brings another level of sweetness to the dish.
  3. Peel your carrots and halve length way first. Then cut into half-moon shapes approx. 1.5cm thick. Quarter your mushrooms.
  4. Wash your potato and dice into 2cm chunks. This ingredient is optional if you fancy a lighter stew, but it is recommended as the starch inside the potato will give the stew a creamier texture.
  5. Finally, cut your chicken into 2cm dice. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt and white pepper, make sure it is done evenly.
  6. In a large saucepan, heat up your oil and begin frying the chicken until the chicken is opaque in colour.
  7. Add your onion, carrots and potato (if using). Season with a pinch of salt and let the vegetable sweat for 5 minutes. 
  8. Then add your chicken stock and mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and let it cook gently for 10 mins covered with a lid. Keep an eye on the pot as you don’t want the vegetables to overcook.

Roux (Béchamel Sauce)

  1. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, heat up your butter slowly. And warm up your milk in another pan at the same time.
  2. Add your flour into the butter and mix well. Cook on a low heat for 5 mins to remove the raw taste of flour.
  3. Add your milk slowly and in batches, no more than 2 tablespoons at a time. Mix well before adding more milk to produce a smooth and silky sauce. Be patient if the mixture seems lumpy at first, it will eventually smooth out.
  4. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, bear in mind this will go into your stew later so be careful not to add too much salt. Mix well, then turn off the heat and set aside

Back to the stew

  1. After 10 mins, check if the potato and chicken are cooked to your liking. Make sure this is the case as once you’ve added the béchamel sauce, the ingredients inside the stew will not cook as easily.
  2. Then add a few ladles of the stock into the béchamel sauce to loosen the mixture and add the whole thing into your stew pot.
  3. Mix well and season to taste with shio koji and white pepper. The shio koji will bring another layer of sweetness and adds to the creamy texture of the stew.
  4. If you prefer a thicker version of the stew, then cook it out on a medium heat until thickened. Stir constantly as the starch inside the stew means it will burn easily if left unattended.
  5. Serve on top of steamed white rice and flavour with more koji soy sauce if you prefer.

Pro tip:

The stew will taste even better the next morning as the flavours of the vegetable will continue to infuse into the broth as it cools down.

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