Monday, 2 June 2014

Cooking: Japanese Curry with Rice

Japanese Curry
Golden Curry pack gravy
Date: 20/05/2014

The cold winter nights have started again in Melbourne, so tonight I wanted a belly warmer, and my tummy voted for curry.

Japanese curry is different to other curries like Indian, or Malaysian. It’s a thicker gravy with the spices having more a subtle peppery flavour. Don’t feel like you’re cheating by using the block of instant roux; from what I understand this is the method most households in Japan use. The recipe I used is pretty much what is recommended at the back of the packet. You should be able to find these Curry Roux sauces at most Asian groceries with a Japanese section. Even some larger supermarkets should stock them.

The method I use differs slightly from the directions on the packet. Despite it being really easy to make already, I wanted it to be done in Super fast time. So I use these cheats:
  • cutting the carrots up slightly smaller than the potato cubes
  • blanch root vegetables in the water intended to go into the final curry (keep the tasty vegie water!)
  • slice meat into smaller pieces (if you buy the stewing kind, you will need to cook it longer to break it down

Despite buying the “Hot” pack, it wasn’t as spicy as I had expected but a few shakes of pepper added the extra edge I desired.

Freshly cooked rice is always a lovely accompaniment, conjuring up memories of home and mum’s cooking. But sometimes we just don’t have the time. I would love to say, that I always cook my fresh, but that would be a lie. For perfect rice every time, use a rice cooker. My confession is that tonight I partook of instant steamed rice. No way near as delicious, but edible and fast.
Let's go forth with the food!

Show those vegies who's boss, chop them up good.

 Give them some shock treatment. Blanch them out of their little lives.

Don't be afraid to use oil. Think of all those delicious flavours. 

Prepare yourself for some sautéing. Push those onions around. You're the boss here!

When onions are about 1/2 translucent, it's a good time as any to add your beef.

Put in celery in last, I like mine still crunchy.

Help all the ingredients get to know each other. Mr Beef, you'll get along well with Ms Carrot and Lady Potato.

Remember that water we blanched the vegies in? Hold onto it for this step!

Curry cubes, sealed for your pleasure.

We'll treat you well Mr. Roux cubes. 

See how it's slowly thickening? Wait a little longer and magical things will happen! 

At last the finale. Finish with a flourish of pepper.

Japanese Curry
Serving size: 4 (Despite pack stating 12 serves)

- 2 medium sized potatoes
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 4 stalks of Celery
- 4 tablespoons of cooking oil (either olive, canola, or vegetable, any is fine)
- 1 packet of Curry roux blocks (I used a "12 serves" pack size)
- pepper for seasoning to taste
- 5 to 6 cups of water (depending on how thick you want your curry sauce)
- 2 cups of rice

1. Prepare the rice first, wash it thoroughly and cook the rice according to the instructions. (Or use the microwave express rice bags.)
2. Prepare your vegetables and meat (on separate chopping boards! Do NOT cross contaminate). Chop carrots and potato into small chunks, about 1cm cubes. Celery chopped into smaller pieces, about 0.5cm by 1cm. Onions into small pieces, about 0.5cm by 1cm. Meat into strips of 2cm by 1cm.
4. Set water to boil, once it’s bubbling, blanch carrots first. Test one of the larger cubes between finger and thumb, until it is soft but not mushy. Once done remove with a large holed sieve. Repeat with the potatoes.
Tip: Depending on how fast you can cut, set the water to boil first, to coincide with you finishing up the chopping.
5. Heat oil into a different pot, large enough to accommodate all ingredients and stock comfortably. Stir fry onions until they go half translucent. Add beef and stir fry until half cooked. Add celery. Add the blanched carrots and potatoes.
6. Pour the previous water the vegetables were boiled in, into the pot and bring to the boil.
7. Once boiling, add roughly chopped cubes of curry roux. Stir until it melt and thickens. Simmer for 5 minutes.
8. Add pepper to taste and serve with white rice.