How to Make Japanese Curry

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The quick answer is that you can’t, you need to buy it. The Japanese curry that is usually found in restaurants is made from a roux, which needs a crazy oven and other stuff that is a bit difficult to get. So, buy your favourite roux from the store, my favourite is JAVA curry but you could use Vermont, or even Golden Curry (which I personally don’t like).

Ingredients

Serving 1. This can be adjusted to suit your needs. Never worry about making too much, but if you want make enough for two people, use the whole pack of curry roux.

  • Japanese Roux ½ pack
  • Onion x1
  • Potatoes x2 medium
  • Carrot ½
  • Pork or Beef or Lamb or breaded meat (or fish) for the deep fryer
  • ½ rice cup of Japanese rice (100g)
  • Optional – Worcester sauce or soy sauce or apple
  • Optional – Japanese pickle (Fukujinzuke) (Daikon, root, eggplant etc)
  • Optional – Japanese Beer

Equipment

  • Rice cooker
  • Knife & chopping board
  • (Optional) Fryer
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Grater
  • Deep Frying pan
  • A lid that fits the frying pan or aluminium foil
  • Cooking oil/ vegetable oil/ olive oil
  • Bowl for eating/ discards

Cooking time: between 30 minutes – 1 day

0. (Optional) Wash/ Soak the rice

You can wash the rice, this is optional, which makes the rice less sticky. I don’t.

Certain brands like Nishiki state that it’s not necessary but I like my rice to be soft core rather than al dente, so I soak it for 10 minutes with mineral water. 1 rice cup of water for half a cup of rice.

1. Cook the rice.

If you are not using a rice cooker, follow the appropriate instructions.

Turn on the rice cooker, it should cook for 20 minutes and keep warm for 10. You now have 30 minutes to make that curry!

30 minutes remaining!

2.  Prepare the veg

Wash the vegetables to remove the earth or pesticides…

It is totally fine to leave the skin on the potatoes and carrots but some people don’t like the texture.  Rinse the onions in cold water, this is supposed to reduce the chance of particles flying into your nose and eyes to make your eyes water. You could do this after peeling them too!

Chop up all the veg into bite size chunks. Put all the discards into your bowl.

When you get two thirds of the way through, turn on your cooker with the frying pan to 75% power. Do not put the oil yet.

25 minutes remaining!

Finish chopping. The pan should be slightly smoking before you put the oil. A good drizzle, or say a tablespoon or two should be enough. Enough to coat the surface and no more. If your pan is not flat, the oil will collect on the sides, don’t worry.

3. Sauté the Meat & Veg

After adding the oil, let it heat up for a around 5 seconds, it will liquify, then try to tilt and swish the oil so it’s mostly covering the whole area before adding the veg.

Stir the veg so they are coated in oil, then leave it and go chop up your meat. If there’s no meat, start cleaning up.

Fatty pork is tasty but not great for your diet!

Fatty pork is tasty but not great for your diet!

If the pan is looking a bit crowded, don’t worry, the contents will shrink a bit.

Your aim is to sauté your veg, so there’s a nice brown fried coating. If you turn the vegetables too soon, it will be more difficult to track. If you wait too long, they will burn! Cutting the meat should take only a minute, and that’s when I check by flipping one chunk of veg. If it’s brown, flip the rest.

Between flipping or stirring, throw away your discards and wash up your bowl, knife and chopping board.  You now have less things to worry about later.

You can do without carrots and even add tofu

You can do without carrots and even add tofu

The meat cooks quicker than the veg, that’s why we don’t put them in at the same time, but it’s possible if you want them cooked thoroughly.

When the veg are 75% done, add the meat, with the same aim, to get that crispy grilled look. The meat juices will rise up, but don’t flip them until you’re confident of the underside.

If you’re using a deep fat fryer, it’s time to turn it on!

20 minutes remaining!

4. Simmer

Are you worried that the meat is looking a bit dry and tough? No worries. Now we’re going to tenderise the ingredients.

At this point, things are on the verge of burning. Add water to cover, so everything is well submerged in the pan. Let’s say the water level is ½ cm (minimum) above the ingredients.  Again I’m using mineral water here, but any water is OK. This water is going to evaporate soon, so be liberal.

adding water to the curry

This is bare minimum amount of water, it’s recommended to add more, between ½ to 1cm (or more) depth above the level of food.

15 minutes remaining!

Cover the pan with a lid, the steam should be able to escape if it needs to, either through a loose lid or gap. You don’t want any explosions, so don’t firmly close the lid. If you don’t have a lid, use sheets of aluminium, be aware the water will evaporate much quicker this way and you may need to add more.

This step is required to cook and soften the insides of your ingredients.

Note: If you’re using the fryer, you probably want to start frying your breaded meat during the last ten minutes, before the rice is done.  It’s usually 4 mins, shake, 4 mins again, then leave to drip onto a paper towel.

Cooking the veg should only take a few minutes max. When your fork or knife can penetrate and easily enter a chunk of potato, it’s ready. Locally grown potatoes that haven’t been frozen in transport will cook much quicker. If you’re not sure, just take a bite (don’t forget to blow on it to cool it down first!) If it tastes good (no hard bits inside), we’re ready. Don’t wait too long and let it become mushy!

Remove from heat and add roux.

You do not want to cook and add roux at the same time. The roux needs to dissolve and mix evenly before cooking, that’s why it needs to be off the heat.

5 minutes remaining!

5. Cook / Stir / condense

We’re pretty much finished.  Just cook and stir the curry as it thickens.

As soon as the sauce is thick as gravy, you can serve it. This all depends on how much water you added.  The longer you have to leave the pot to stew, the better the result.

Perfect consistency

Perfect consistency. You can see how much water has evaporated from the trace of curry near the top of the pan.

Not enough water, or cooked for too long. Still good though

Not enough water, or cooked for too long. Still good though

Optional: add a dash of Worcester sauce or soy sauce (more savoury) or grated apple rind (for bitterness). Test and taste with a separate sample before committing!

Rice not ready? Wow you were so fast! Take it off the heat. Leave it. The longer you leave it, the better it is, like a marinade.  Ready now? Okay, bring it back up to heat with the cover on.  Now serve, enjoy with pickles and beer!

Itadakimasu!

Full?  Don’t over eat, save it!  Curry is actually the best after a night in the fridge. When reheating, cover with a lid to stop further evaporation.

There are variations on this method, feel free to leave yours in comments below, but that’s how I do curry in 30 mins, hope you have a good meal!

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