Japanese vegetarian curry

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Japanese curry (also called “kari”) is a popular dish in Japan, yet coming from India. The story goes that an Indian (Rash Behari Bose, a pillar of Indian independence), while in exile in Japan, brought with him the recipe of Indian curry, which was later revisited in Japanese style.

Japanese curry is milder and thicker (a little less liquid) than Indian curry (by adding flour, as explained in the recipe).

Here is a recipe for Japanese vegetable curry, which you can adapt and make with vegetables of your choice or meat, and serve with steamed rice, noodles (“kare udon”) or even bread.

Japanese curry

Servings 6
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 500 g pumpkin
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1 apple
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 20 g fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 l vegetable stock
  • 20 g butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4-5 tbsp Japanese curry blend or 2 tbsp curry blend + 2 tbsp garam masala blend

Instructions

  • Cut the pumpkin and carrot into medium-sized pieces.
  • Cut the potato and apple into small pieces.
  • Finely chop the ginger, garlic and onion. Fry in a little oil in a casserole dish for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring regularly.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a hot stock.
  • Add the pumpkin, carrots (and any other vegetables you wish to add to the recipe). Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, then cover the vegetables with the stock (up to 1 cm above the vegetables). If you run out of stock, you will need to make some more for the next step. Otherwise, set aside.
  • Immediately add the soy sauce and tomato sauce. Mix well and leave to cook for about ten minutes, stirring from time to time.
  • Then add the potato and apple.
  • Prepare the curry roux: in a small pan, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir constantly. Then add the spices once the butter and flour start to form a paste. Stir in a ladleful of stock (very gradually to get a pasty, not too liquid consistency – adjust the amount of stock needed to get the right consistency).
  • Add the roux to the pot with the vegetables. Mix well (if necessary with a whisk) to incorporate the roux.
  • Taste. If you like, you can add a little more spice. Then let the curry simmer on a low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • The consistency of the curry will gradually thicken. After cooking, you can leave it to rest to obtain an even more pasty and creamy texture.

Notes

You can customise this curry as you wish, depending on the vegetables you have on hand. The apple and potato (or even the carrot) are, however, basic ingredients in the recipe, which give it texture and a tangy touch.
You can also make this curry with meat: beef, pork or chicken, or with fish or seafood.
For the spices, I use the tasty blend from Roellinger’s grocery shop.
As for the texture, you can also add a little flour during cooking (mixing well to incorporate it) if the mixture remains very liquid. As written in the recipe, as it cools, the curry will continue to thicken.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese

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