Gyutan Stew (Japanese Stew with Veal Tongue)

Gyutan Stew Japanese Beef Tongue Stew

A person does not usually consider how much a tongue weighs, but that beef tongue weighed 3 pounds. With only two people, that’s an opportunity to make another recipe with it. As I searched for a recipe for grilled tongue, several sites noted that this meat is also served as a donbori, a curry, or a stew. I looked at Hiroko’s Lamb Stew in which a non-Japanese meat (lamb) is cooked with Japanese ingredients (sake, mirin, shoyu, miso, and kombu) and techniques (cooking the vegetables in the stew separately from the meat). I really did not want to skin the rest of the tongue before cooking it: once a tongue is cooked, the skin peels off easily.

Gyutan Stew Japanese Beef Tongue Stew

I found three yoshoku recipes for a Japanese stew,
(see the links below the recipe)
and used them to guide me to make my own recipe.

Gyutan Stew: Japanese Stew with Veal Tongue
serves 4, generously

  • Gyutan Stew Japanese Beef Tongue Stewhalf a veal tongue (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 leek
  • 4 1/2 cups stock (mostly beef stock, plus chicken stock)
  • 28-oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 12 ounce package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • a fistful of Chinese celery, cut stalks into 4″ lengths,
    reserve chopped leaves for garnish
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • Mashed potatoes made with Yukon Golds and butter

Rub the tongue with salt, and wash it in cold water. Put the tongue in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Meanwhile, brown onions in butter in a large pot. Add the stock, and put the tongue into the pot. Add the tomatoes, crushing them into small pieces. Add the wine, to mostly cover the meat. Add the sliced mushrooms, carrots, Chinese Celery, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the meat to a plate, cover and refrigerate. Gently simmer the cooking liquid to reduce by about half (it was getting late, so I didn’t let it go so long). Melt the 2 Tbs. butter and stir in the flour, and cook for a few minutes. Add a few ladles of the cooking liquid to the roux, and stir to thicken. Finally add the roux to the large pot, and stir well to avoid lumps. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Cut the meat into 3/4-inch cubes and return it to the pot. Stir until the meat is hot. Serve with mashed potatoes (or rice) and garnish with the Chinese celery leaves.

Gyutan Stew Japanese Beef Tongue Stew
Gyutan Stew Japanese Beef Tongue Stew

Gyutan Stew Japanese Beef Tongue Stew

Recipes that provided inspiration:

A charmingl translated version, with pictures:

Let’s make delicious Beef Tongue Stew!: ingredients (4people)
1 of beef tongue, gringed vegetables(carrot、onion、celery,etc.)3-pieces of garlic, 1-celery, 1-carrot, 1-can of Domiglas sause(base sause made of many kinds of vegetables), 1-bottle of red wine , 2,3-sheets of Bay Leaf , 3-pieces of beef or chicken broth

version that looks nice:

1 beef tongue, 3 cans of demi glas sauce (you can buy this at Japanese grocery store), 1 large onion, 1 leek, 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, 2 cups of red wine, Bay leaf, salt and pepper

And a detailed version of hayashi raisu:

1 lb thinly sliced beef, 4 medium onions, thinly sliced, About 10-12 mushrooms, sliced, 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced, Butter or oil, 1 garlic clove, chopped, 1 cup (240ml) red wine, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce or Bulldog chuunou sauce, 1 Tbs. soy sauce, Parsley or, green peas for garnish, The sauce ingredients: 1/2 cup demi-glace or 4 cups strong beef stock, 1 16-oz or 440g can of canned tomatoes, 1 Tbs. tomato paste, 2 Tbs. butter, 3 Tbs. flour, Water

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7 thoughts on “Gyutan Stew (Japanese Stew with Veal Tongue)

  1. It was 9:30. Was it PM 9:30? I think it was a little late to eat dinner for kids. It was time for adults. LOL

    My younger son has sometimes nap after dinner.
    So I always have to hurry to cook dinner. But when I come back to home late, we eat dinner at 8:00. It is late for us.

    • Yes, 9:30 pm is too late for dinner with kids! Sometimes it’s too late for adults.;-)
      LOL Sometimes on days that I work, I like to have a nap before I eat dinner! LOL

      My daughter is all grown-up now, and living in Spain. But when she was in high school (age 14 or 15 +) she often had after-school activities—music, theatre, extra clubs and classes… it was impossible to eat any earlier. She had “snacks” before the extracurricular activities: cheese and crackers, fruit, toast with peanut butter, yogurt, sometimes even potato chips!

      I was tired all the time then.

  2. My younger son likes candy. Before I come back to home, he eats a lot of candy.
    It is not good.
    But, I think when he stays at home, he needs sweets and TV.

    • Kids love candy! Carrots and apples are just too healthy to be attractive.

      When my daughter was 10 or 11, she told us that she would not watch TV for the whole summer if we would buy her something she really wanted that would cost about $100. She did not watch any TV for 3 months. And guess what she wanted: a TV for her own room. LOL Of course we bought it for her!

  3. Hi, Tess,

    My name is Jeff and i am a graphic designer in Houston, Texas USA. I was looking for recipe of beef tongue stew, and after some time of browsing different sites, I stumbled over your kitchen site. When I saw the picture you have, your gyutan stew recipe looks so delicious, so I went ahead and tried to make it. It was quite a laborious process for an amateur cook like me, but I just finished the cooking (took me 2 days for the whole preparation) about 1 hour ago and I tried it… it is so delicious! I never ate this kind of tongue stew before, which as you described, a long-known recipe passed from your mother. I feel so delighted by the newly found dish I would otherwise never knew were it not for the internet. Such a great way to bridge geographical difference!

    Thanks for sharing your fantastic recipe,

    Jeff Djaya

  4. Hi Jeff!

    Thank you! I love to hear that you enjoyed the recipe.
    Tongue is an amazing part of a cow and it should really be more popular—lots of ways to cook and eat it!

    And yes, preparing a tongue is a bit intimidating. But well worth it. And not so scary after you have done it a couple of times.

    I never ate this kind of tongue stew before, which as you described, a long-known recipe passed from your mother.

    I must correct you! I am not Japanese, but a regular Midwest American trying to study Japanese cooking, especially from Hiroko Shimbo’s book: Japanese Cooking.

    I made this recipe, then noticed that soon after I made this, Ms. Shimbo posted about her family’s (well, her mother’s) recipe. Link here:
    I asked her for details and she had her mother and sister prepare the tongue stew:
    It is similar to my web-research recipe, but not quite. And the personal annecdotes are so lovely. I made her recipe here:

    I feel so delighted by the newly found dish I would otherwise never knew were it not for the internet. Such a great way to bridge geographical difference!

    I agree with you that without the internet there are so many things I (you) would never have been able to learn about.

    A Japanese girl who grew up in a way different from most other girls, studied cooking techniques from all over the world, and wrote some cookbooks which open the concepts of Japanese cooking to a woman in the middle of the U.S. who has a reader interested in an international/French/Japanese/recipe. And for the best part: he enjoyed it!

  5. Pingback: Japanese Family Recipe: Tongue Stew « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

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