By: July 05, 2011
Recipe from No Recipes
It has to be said. Our trip to Japan last year was nothing but a pure manifestation of the glorious sin of gluttony. And consumer-whoring. I mean, c’mon – it’s the land of gadgets and sushi!
GADGETS AND SUSHI! Can life get any better? ZOMG!
As much as I find the old castles and historical temples fascinating, I was also dewy-eyed for the sprawling malls & the fashion scene. Although, I did end up buying clothes & shoes from the men’s section. At 5′-7″, I guess I’m taller than your average Asian female. Plus, I am also cursed with big feet. But hey, it’s cool, I was more than deliriously happy to be in a place where nerd bling can be bought from practically every street corner, and even 7-eleven sushi taste amazing.
The whole country is a mecca of all things cute, geeky & delicious – of course, I didn’t want to leave. Never mind the seemingly rabid infestation of false eyelashes for sale in almost every department store. Hot damn, I loved everything! I went bouncing from shop to shop, temple to temple, and café to restaurant with the fervor of a wild animal. Yeah, me in Japan, it was like unleashing a demented hamster from his clear, plastic ball, out into the world. Mark had to drag me to the airport for our flight back home, kicking and screaming.
Anyway, did I already say that the food stuff in Japan is all sorts of awesome? Well I can’t say it enough. Be it merchandise or chow, almost anything we tried or acquired was an epic win. Besides the Gyūdon (beef bowl), Katsudon (deep-fried pork cutlet), Takoyaki (octopus balls, but NOT what you’re thinking), hot coffee in cans from vendo machines, and a variety of Star Wars light saber chopsticks, I also got the crazies for Kareh Raisu (Japanese curry). As in crazies in lurve.
And as with all mad obsessives (is there any other kind?), I went into a research frenzy so I can recreate the dish in my own kitchen. Initially, I experimented with the curry blocks I found at the shops. And while the curry I came up with turned out okay, it was a bit too MSG-ish for my taste. I know, this coming from someone who gobbles up Pringles and Ruffles like there’s no tomorrow. But snacks and dinner are different, and once you’ve had the good stuff, why settle for less? While I’ve accepted that I’ll never cook one exactly like what we ate in Japan (and that purchasing plane tickets to there, just so I can devour plates of curry would be insane), I thought at least something close enough will be fine.
And then I found this awesome video on how to make curry and roux. From scratch! By a real Japanese person! Okay, so what if he’s got a really distinctive American accent. Or that only half of his name sounds Japanese. I don’t give a flying frak because, dude, his curry recipe frikkin’ ROCKS!
- 500g of Beef, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 3 Onions, diced
- 1 Carrot, sliced
- 4 cups of Water
- 2 medium-sized Potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 Apple, peeled & grated
- 1 TBSP. Garam Masala
- 1 TBSP. ground Cardamom
- 2 TBSP. Kosher Salt
- 2 to 3 Bay Leaves
- Optional: 2 eggs and cooked rice for Omuraisu(omelet rice)
- 1/4 cup (60g) Butter
- 1/4 cup + 1 TBSP. Flour
- 2 TBSP. Garam Masala
- 3 TBSP. Tonkatsu Sauce or Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 TBSP. Ketchup or Tomato Paste
I. Start with the roux.
On medium low heat, melt the butter in a small pot or pan.
Restrain yourself from grabbing a fresh pack of microwaveable popcorn, a big bowl, smoked salt…
Okay, sorry, my baser instincts kick in when I get a whiff of melted butter.
Add in the flour, a bit at a time. Stir to blend.
Spoon in the Garam Masala. Stir it up, again.
Pour in the Worcestershire or Tonkatsu sauce.
Dump in the ketchup. I used Tomato Paste because it’s all I got.
Keep stirring with the spoon until the mixture is thick, sticky and paste-like.
Take off the heat and set aside. Refrigerate until needed.
Your choice. Between this or this:
II. Now, let’s get on with the stew.
First, grab a large pot and pour in some oil. Caramelize the onions over high heat. This may take 20 to 30 minutes.
(Note: A trick to make the caramelizing process faster, is to throw in a pinch of baking soda with the onions)
When they’re done, push the onions to the side and sear the beef. That’s right, make sure you get some nice crusts on those suckers.
Mix it up when the meat is a nice brown color.
Add the carrots. ( I think I should chop ‘em into smaller pieces next time. These were huge!)
Pour water into the pot and bring to a boil.
When boiling, chuck in the potatoes. Turn the heat down from scorching hot to simmering low.
Then, grab an apple. Peel the outer skin and grate directly into the pot.
Take 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala and a tablespoon of ground Cardamom, and add ‘em in too.
Season with kosher salt, to taste.
I used 2 tablespoons of smoked sea salt.
Because it’s on my list of Heck Yeah! ingredients.
Cover the pot and cook on low heat for around 2 to 3 hours, it took me 2 and a half. But it was an exciting 2 and a half hours spent watching re-runs of Battlestar Gallactica. I heart Helo & Number 8.
The beef should be melt off the bone (if there are bones) tender by now.
Break off some curry blocks or grab that made-from-scratch roux and dump all in the bigger pot.
Chuck in the Bay leaves and simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
Then simply serve with white fluffy rice.
Or make Omuraisu (omelet rice): grab 2 eggs and fry to make an omelet. Spoon rice inside it and drizzle the beef curry sauce on top. Garnish with some chives.
You can make the roux while waiting for the onions to caramelize.
Use chicken if you want a quick curry fix, that way there’s no need to wait for 2 to 3 hours.
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