We are huge fans of Japanese curry – and the little one often begs to go to Volcano Curry in the Richmond for her “curry fix”. We have successfully trained her to love curry from practically everywhere curry is made. Japanese curry is sweeter, less complicated to make and often less spicy, compared to Indian or Thai curries.
Karei raIsu (curry rice) is a staple in Japan and is omnipresent and hugely popular. You can make it with pre-made store-bought curry roux cubes, which I am going to try some day soon, but the recipe below from the Washoku Cookbook – Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh caught my attention, and I convinced (it wasn’t difficult) Stacie to try it with me. In fact, I am little bit enamored with the cookbook (and Japanese cuisine in general) and contemplating buying it.
My appreciation for Japanese food has come a long way. For starters, it is so much more than sushi (which I did not eat till I was much older – all those wasted years!). I used to wonder how something as simple as rice and raw fish (the fish isn’t even cooked – where’s the skill?) could have so many fans. It made no sense to me, but I have gradually come to understand the finesse, skill and dedication that goes into becoming a master sushi chef. We recently watched “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and we thoroughly enjoyed it and hope some day we can eat at Jiro’s little restaurant in Tokyo. Plus, there is so, so much more to Japanese food than sushi – ramen, teppanyaki, the Japanese delis, katsu, okonomiyaki, curry rice and so much more, we have yet to learn about.
Stacie tracked down some S&B Oriental curry powder from our favorite Asian provision store – New May Wah and we cooked together and enjoyed assembling our Japanese Bento. This a good recipe for the upcoming wintery, cold, snowy and/or rainy months. Make a big vat of it and scarf it down with some sticky sushi rice, while you drink some beer and watch “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. Perfect night in. 🙂
Tender-stewed Curried Chicken from Washoku
The recipe calls for chicken with skin on, but we removed it, though I am sure it would work well with it. The sake makes the chicken super tender and the cornstarch gives it a nice crust.
340g boneless chicken thigh meat with skin, cut into 1″ cubes
3 tbsp sake
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion (225g), chopped
2 tsp Japanese curry powder
pinch of coarse salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup dashi*
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin, if needed
1. In a bowl, combine sake and cornstarch to make a thin paste. Add chicken, toss to coat, and marinate for at least 10 minutes, and for up to 4 hours.
2. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Place chicken skin side down in pan and sear for 1.5 minutes.
3. Flip chicken and brown for another minutes.
4. Push chicken to one side, add onion, and lower heat. Saute 3 minutes or until aromatic and wilted.
5. Mix chicken and onion together. Sprinkle with curry powder and salt and stir.
6. Add 1/2 cup dashi and stir. Simmer for 2 minutes adding stock if necessary to keep from scorching.
7. Add soy sauce and simmer until liquid is reduced and quick thick, 5 minutes.
8. Taste and add mirin if needed.
9. Remove from heat and serve with rice
* From About.com:
Dashi is Japanese stock, which becomes the base of many Japanese dishes, such as soup, dipping sauce, and nimono (simmered dishes). Since dashi is often used in Japanese cooking, it’s useful to know how to make it. There are different kinds of dashi. It can be made from kombu (dried kelp), katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes), niboshi (dried small sardines), hoshi-shiitake (dried shiitake mushrooms), and more. Kombu dashi and dried shiitake mushroom dashi are known as good vegetarian stocks. It might take extra effort to make dashi, but good dashi makes your Japanese dishes taste much better.
Instant dashi powder is also available at stores. It’s quick to use dashi powder to make dashi stock. Usually, about 1 tsp of dashi powder is used for 2 1/2 cup to 3 cups of water. Please follow the package instructions.
Inspired by some “Japanese curry bathers” we found on the internet, we could not resist making our own “man taking a bath in curry”. Of course, it made the kiddos laugh out loud!