Thursday, June 5, 2014

Halfway Homemade... Japanese Curry in A Hurry...


It seems that everyone in Japan loves curry? But it doesn't sound exactly Japanese... what's up with Japanese-style curry? When the English version was introduced to the country, it was more of a soup meant to be sopped up with bread. The Japanese adapted it to their taste by thickening it so it could be easily eaten with rice and added familiar ingredients to make it more homey- their classic curry pronounced as karé contains onion, carrots and potatoes and often apples for sweetness. It's a favourite eaten in school cafeterias, restaurants and home kitchens! It's also popular in mine! My kids love the classic curry especially the crunchy apples, and there are some fantastic tasting Japanese brands of curry sauce that meets your meal preparations halfway, but not halfway delicious. Glico and S&B brands package curry sauce in a dry block format for convenient use. They can easily be found in most Asian supermarkets. You can choose the degree of spiciness from mild, medium to spicy. Serve it with toasted French baguette, ladled over steamed rice or noodles-- Japanese udon works really well!


Follow the simple directions on the back of package for a nice batch of curry. I serve 4-6 using half the package- usually four curry blocks. For the ingredients, choose 1 lb. of meat, cut into bite-size pieces; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1/2 to 1 medium onion; 1-2 carrots; 2-3 potatoes, and other favourite vegetables or fruit all cut into bite-size pieces.

I used chicken thighs, sweet potato and two apples.

I love that these blocks already contain thickeners.

In a large skillet, stir fry onions and garlic with 1 Tbsp. oil. Add the meat, and cook for two to three minutes until almost done, then add the remaining vegetables. Add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook covered on medium low for 15 minutes or until tender. 

Remove from heat and break one block of curry sauce into skillet to serve four. Each package comes with two blocks. Stir until completely melted. Add the apples. Cover and set aside for ten minutes before serving.


Add apples at the end to maintain their crunch! Cantaloupe and honeydew melon works too!


Toast Vietnamese bread or French baguette for some heavenly sopping!



Or serve over short-grain steamed rice which is the traditional Japanese way....


Add sambal oelek or other chili sauce to give it some kick!

For fun form rice balls into a cute caricature with nori for facial features and ketchup for cheeks courtesy of my sis-in-law Yoko!

Credit: Dan Ng

If you've never tried Japanese curry, give it a whirl. It’s thicker and has a milder flavour than its Indian counterpart, and the real secret is … using a curry sauce from a box! Japanese people like to make a lot of dishes from scratch; however, when it comes to curry, there are not too many people that do. Add a simple green salad, and you have a tasty complete meal for your family! OISHI!!



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