Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Nikumiso – Japanese Pork Mince

11/01/2023 (Last Updated: 22/05/2024)

Meet your new favourite Japanese condiment – nikumiso – stir fried pork mince tossed in a sticky miso sauce. Pop it on anything from rice to ramen, but be warned: this is an absolute flavour powerhouse!

Nikumiso topped on eggplant in a black bowl.

Why We Love This

Nikumiso is a great little side dish when you need something extra to go alongside bigger meals such as okonomiyaki or chicken nanban.

It’s also super versatile, sometimes we’ll keep a batch in the fridge or freezer and use it for topping, stuffing or as the star of the show.

Related: Tantanmen / Hiyayakko

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A wooden spoon scoops up nikumiso in a frying pan.

Japanese miso meat sauce

Nikumiso (also written as niku miso or 肉味噌) translates to miso meat. It’s often served as a side dish or accompaniment to a meal, found in both restaurants and homemade on the tables of many Japanese households.

While it’s usually non-spicy, we can’t help adding in a good dollop of doubanjiang and making it nice and spicy. You could even swap out the sesame oil for rayu for an extra chilli hit!

When we eat this at home, it’s most often on tantanmen, on a rice bowl or on top of some quick fried eggplant for lunch.

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Pork Mince – The star of the dish! Get the freshest, best quality available for the best results.
  • Red Miso Paste – Sub with half red and half white miso paste or only white miso for milder flavour.
  • Sugar – This balances out the saltiness from the soy sauce and red miso paste. It also gives that gloss you’re looking for.
  • Soy Sauce – Use a Japanese brand if possible such as Kikkoman, as it is lighter in flavour and salt than other varieties such as Chinese or cheap soy sauce brands.
  • Cooking Sake – Adds another depth to the flavour and helps to tenderise the pork mince. Get cooking sake at an Asian grocer, in your local Asian aisle at the supermarket or sub with Chinese cooking wine.
  • Garlic and Ginger – Fresh chopped ginger and garlic work best. It gives the sauce a nice flavour punch!

Let’s make nikumiso

Jump to Recipe

  1. Stir fry the garlic, ginger and pork.
  2. Add in the sauce seasonings
  3. Let that sauce get nice and thick, and super glossy!
  4. Serve on your favourite Japanese dish, and garnish with spring onion.

Quick Tips

9 Most Popular Ways to Enjoy Nikumiso

  • Rice – Served over a small bowl of sushi rice as a side dish.
  • Onigiri – As a filling for onigiri rice balls.
  • Bowls – Make a rice bowl, add your favourite vegetables, top with nikumiso and Kewpie mayonnaise.
  • Ramen – Add to a bowl of tantanmen ramen or top on tsukemen.
  • Udon – Pair with udon noodles to turn it into nikumiso udon.
  • Tofu – Top on hiyayakko (cold tofu) or simmered daikon.
  • Eggplant – Make nikumiso dengaku – eggplant stuffed with nikumiso. Or swap the eggplant out for capsicum.
  • Bento – Add a portion of nikumiso to a bento box and serve cold.
  • Wrap – Wrap with lettuce as an entree or light snack.

Storage

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for up to a month or two. You can also freeze it in serving size portions!

FAQs & Troubleshooting

Can I make a vegan version?

While nikumiso is traditionally made with pork, just swap it out for firm tofu, broken down into a tofu mince and you’ll have a just-as-tasty vegan version!

What heat should I cook nikumiso on?

While you can stir fry the pork mince on high, when you add in that sauce you want it on medium. This is because the sauce has sugar in the base, so you don’t want it to burn, you just want it to thicken and end up with that glossy finish.

Glossy nikumiso on a wooden spoon.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Japanese pork mince on eggplant in a dark bowl.

Nikumiso – Japanese Pork Mince

Meet your new favourite Japanese condiment – nikumiso – stir fried pork mince tossed in a sticky miso sauce. Pop it on anything from rice to ramen, but be warned: this is an absolute flavour powerhouse!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4 side dish portions
Calories: 239kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Equipment

Ingredients

Optional Extras

  • spring onion / green onion to garnish, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp doubanjiang for a spicy hit

Instructions

  • Heat the 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add in the 1 tsp garlic and 1 tsp ginger and fry for 20-30 seconds. Add in the 250 g pork mince and fry until browned, around 3 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and pour over the ⅓ cup water, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 ½ tbsp red miso paste, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp cooking sake and 1 tsp sesame oil Optional: Add in 1 tbsp doubanjiang to make it spicy.
  • Stir through and cook for another minute or so, until the sauce has thickened.
  • Serve topped on rice or your favourite Japanese dish, and garnish with optional spring onion / green onion

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Storage – Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for up to a month or two. You can also freeze it in serving size portions!
9 Ways To Enjoy Nikumiso
  • Rice – Served over a small bowl of sushi rice as a side dish.
  • Onigiri – As a filling for onigiri rice balls.
  • Bowls – Make a rice bowl, add your favourite vegetables, top with nikumiso and Kewpie mayonnaise.
  • Ramen – Add to a bowl of tantanmen or top on tsukemen.
  • Udon – Pair with udon noodles to turn it into nikumiso udon.
  • Tofu – Top on hiyayakko (cold tofu) or simmered daikon.
  • Eggplant – Make nikumiso dengaku – eggplant stuffed with nikumiso. Or swap the eggplant out for capsicum.
  • Bento – Add a portion of nikumiso to a bento box and serve cold.
  • Wrap – Wrap with lettuce as an entree or light snack.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Nikumiso – Japanese Pork Mince
Amount per Serving
Calories
239
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
15
g
23
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
45
mg
15
%
Sodium
 
780
mg
34
%
Potassium
 
218
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
4
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
7
g
8
%
Protein
 
13
g
26
%
Vitamin A
 
14
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
18
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks

This recipe was originally published in January, 2023. It has since been updated with new content, photos and an updated recipe.

Nikumiso - Japanese Pork Mince
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