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BON

Japanese curry

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Japanese like both Curry and Ramen very much. How much do Japanese like them? Much enough to build up museums totally devoted to these two cuisines.No joking! Look at the following links.

http://www.raumen.co.jp/english/

http://www.matahari.co.jp/curry/ (Japanese only)

Interestingly, both are originated in foreign countries.

I know that curry was born in India, spreaded into surrounding countries,then later became local cuisine in those countries as well. But I am bit curious whether

it is also popular in US, Europe, Australia and other countries or regions? At least I have never encountered any good curry restaurant in Illinois where I stayed for a few years.

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Bon, it depends what you mean by curry.

"Curry" generally meaning a thick, spicy meat or vegetable stew served over rice is popular most everywhere, including in the US.  But there are many types of curry, with the Indian (based on a ground spice mixture or paste) probably the most popular in North America, maybe with Thai (based on a paste pounded from mostly fresh ingredients) coming in second.

I never met a curry I didn't like, and the Thai red is my favorite.  What is curry in Japan like?  I've had curries at Japanese-American restaurants that seemed like simplified Indian curry, but I'm guessing there's more diversity in Japan itself.

The best book I've found on the general subject of curry is A World of Curries by Dave DeWitt.  It's out of print but easy to find.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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mamster,

Since curry was brought in Japan over 100 years ago via UK, it seems we are sharing the common picture of curry.

The one you described "general" is the most common also in Japan, and most curry specialty shops are offering this type. This type of curry is often cooked for family dining with the help of curry roux.

At fancy "Western food restaurants (I am not making fun of you. We have the genre of restaurants called so.)", the "general" curry has become sophisticated adopting consomme for soup base. It is called "European style" curry in Japanese.

We also have Indian authentic curry as well as Thai, Ethiopian, and Indonesian ones. All of them are offered at ethnic restaurants of each country. So they are not casually eaten in Japan.

There are some variations using curry. The famous ones are curry bread and curry udon. Curry bread is deep-fried bread with thicker curry stew stuffed in it, and curry udon is udon noodles in soup covered with curry stew. Curry stew is mysteriously goes well with udon's dried-bonito stock and its soy sauce taste.

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Quote: from BON on 2:24 am on Aug. 17, 2001

mamster,

Since curry was brought in Japan over 100 years ago via UK, it seems we are sharing the common picture of curry.

The one you described "general" is the most common also in Japan, and most curry specialty shops are offering this type. This type of curry is often cooked for family dining with the help of curry roux.

At fancy "Western food restaurants (I am not making fun of you. We have the genre of restaurants called so.)", the "general" curry has become sophisticated adopting consomme for soup base. It is called "European style" curry in Japanese.

We also have Indian authentic curry as well as Thai, Ethiopian, and Indonesian ones. All of them are offered at ethnic restaurants of each country. So they are not casually eaten in Japan.

There are some variations using curry. The famous ones are curry bread and curry udon. Curry bread is deep-fried bread with thicker curry stew stuffed in it, and curry udon is udon noodles in soup covered with curry stew. Curry stew is mysteriously goes well with udon's dried-bonito stock and its soy sauce taste.

I would propose that there is "no" authentic indian curry. The spices that go into many indian dishes vary. The "garam masala" or hot mixture as it translates, is a ground combination of various herbs/spices and these vary from region to region. Many households also vary their grindings of masala to suit household preferences.

Having said all that - So of the basic ingredients are the same.

Curry ingredients in "curry rice" @ Sapporo are different from green curry @ Sriphai (sp?). The same with malay cooking - I've enjoyed them all.

My latest was -- Mussels with Curry in a small Belgian, Petite ABeille - 400W 14th. It had a tad bit extra turmeric (Haldi) which gave it a strong yellow color, very similar to the time-honored Bruxelles.

The only time I was confused was tasting "Macher Jhole" at Tabla - I recollection of the above dish in West Bengal is too dated to compare with now, so I have to await a preparation of macherjhole in NYC before I comment further.


anil

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anil,

I agree with your thought that there is no "authentic" indian curry in that there is no pre-blended spices or standardised spice mix used in India, netheir at reataurants nor households.

On the other hand, most of conventional curry restautrants and households are using curry powder or curry roux in Japan. Then I used the word, "authentic curry"to express curry cooked by Indian chefs who mixed spoices on their own to distinguish from the others.

I suppose curry rice @Sapporo uses curry powder or roux, though I have no idea for other restaurants you mentioned. If the curry rice@Sapporo hints something different, they may be using stock of dried bonito or kelp, though this is just a quess.

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Okay, the deep-fried bread variation sounds good to me.  Hook me up with some of that when I make it to Japan.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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mamster:

They are called "Curry Pan" in Japanese. "Pan" is bread though it sounds weird to you!

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I've had Japanese curry in many homes and restaurants, but they all seem to taste exactly the same - a package of curry block (S & B, Glico, etc.), onions, meat and potatoes (and sometimes garlic, ginger, carrots etc.) Of course, the version I make tastes like everyone else's. I love the standard Japanese curry, but is there any way to make it more interesting without turning it into something completely different? Has anyone ever tasted a Japanese curry that was different, but not weird?

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Living in Japan and having three small kids I eat this a lot!

I actually prefer it as is, but my husband (who is Japanese) likes to mess around with it.

He adds anything he can find in the refrigerator, such as pineapple jam, tonkatsu sauce, ketchup, and coconut milk, usually all at the same time! The ending result is actually quite good, but if I watch him doing it I have a hard time eating it.

I guess I like to eat it as is, because that is Japanese curry, by adding various spices it becomes and "Indian" curry and adding coconut milk makes it "Thai".

I do like it in different ways, ie: curry udon, or ladled over tonkatsu. I also usually serve it ladled over finely shredded cabbage.

A couple years back I bought a Curry cookbook (Japanese publication) to give me some ideas and I do use it occasionally but I always return to the basic. Some examples from the book:

Colorful curry-- beef chunks with broccoli, red and yellow peppers, pearl onions and mushrooms

"Chinese" curry-- chicken livers, baby bok choy, broccoli, onions, garlic, ginger and in addition to the boxed curry roux, star anise, cloves, oyster sauce, tenmenjian, and tobanjian.

Seafood curry-- squid, shrimp, scallops, clams, onions, garlis, red peppers, and white wine.

Tofu curry-- tofu, onions, shimeji mushrooms, eggplant , garlic and ginger then garnished with shiso.

Natto and ground beef curry-- no explanation needed.

Kabocha curry-- kabocha, pork tenderloin, onions, red and green peppers, coconut milk, nampla and basil.

Then there are the seasonal currries using the veggies that are in season.

Spring-- Soramame (like fava beans?), asparagus, peas

Summer--tomato, kabocha, eggplant, okra

Fall-- satoimo, sweet potato, mushrooms

Winter-- lotus root, turnips, burdock root, broccoli, cauliflower


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Japanese curry is it's own thing. While changing it for the better makes it better, good seems to not be the point. S&B curry is like ketchup. Bottled ketchup is terrible and you can make your own easily and it will be much better but when someone wants ketchup they don't want what is better.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Ooh Tokaris,

- Tell me more about that beef and natto curry.... could that possibly taste good?

I'm a diehard natto fan and that actually sounds disgusting to me.

My mother only made two versions... but they tasted very different. The first is the version we are all familiar with... the second got made from not the S&B or any other brand cubes, but from yellow curry powder, same beef, potatoes, onions, carrots.... and raisins. Still tasted very Japanese... but different, and yummy.

Akiko

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Made curry last night.

One night when I had gone out with friends my husband made what he called a hamburger curry. It is a bowl of curry rice with a hamburger patty plopped on top. The kids loved, so I prepared it last night, had a bunch of hard boiled eggs, to I halved those and added them as well. It was quite good!

I really liked the boiled eggs and thing I will use them more often, I have made Indian style curries with eggs, but never Japanese.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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My husband and I love curry, both Japanese-style and Indian-style (and I love West Indian and South-east Asian curries too, but not the old man- I can't make them at home).

I mostly leave Japanese curry to my husband. His is pretty good, but he's so concerned with cooking it for a long time to get the maximum 'koku' that he always melts the potatoes. The potatoes are the best part!!

My usual curry is a kind of mix of Japanese and Indian- I use a store-bought roux (the spiciest kind I can find that doesn't include beef extract- we're a BSE-free household), but add extra spices and lots of garlic and ginger at the beginning. I use LOTS of onions, tomato juice instead of water, and ground pork. I love that the sweetness of the onions and tomato balance the heat of the spices. Great with nan or rice, or as leftovers spooned over somen.

Cherrypi, I'll post the recipe if you're interested- it's very simple.

Also, my husband made a Sri Lanka-style curry last week (he saw an actual Sri Lankan make it on TV, so it MUST be authentic!) that was so easy and simple. He just chopped a bunch of onions and totamoes, layered them in a big pot, topped it with curry powder and garlic(his own addition) and chicken thighs (with skin and bone, he'd sauted them briefly in butter first). Then he covered it and simmered for an hour. No liquid, no oil or fat (except for sauteing the chicken), no roux, no stirring.

And it was good! Very simple-tasting, but considering the ease of preparation it was great. I hope he makes it again.


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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In Hong Kong Supermarket (New York City) today, I noticed a Japanese brand called "Vermont." Among others, they had an apple-and-honey flavored version.

Anyone know about this brand? I always find S&B too salty. :sad:

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In Hong Kong Supermarket (New York City) today, I noticed a Japanese brand called "Vermont."  Among others, they had an apple-and-honey flavored version.

Anyone know about this brand?  I always find S&B too salty.  :sad:

Vermont Curry is one of the big brands in Japan. I find there amakuchi (mild) a little too sweet, but the others are ok.

In Japan has almost as many types of curry as Americans have cereal, it is an incredible choice. I have never paid much attention before I usually just buy what is on sale, but the curry I had the other night I really enjoyed even though it was amakuchi-mild.

It was this one from Glico:

http://www.ezaki-glico.net/jukucurry/index2.html

it had a nice kick that I though would have put it closer to chu-kara (medium), even though I normally make kara-kuchi (spicy) for my husband and I, I would definitely eat this one again.

S&B Golden curry seems to be the most popular abroad, but i don't care for it and don't think I have used it since coming to Japan.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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yesterday a neighbor was going to make curry spaghetti (spaghetti topped with curry), even her 7 year old turned up her nose at the idea! :wacko:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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yesterday a neighbor was going to make curry spaghetti (spaghetti topped with curry), even her 7 year old turned up her nose at the idea! 

Actually, as a way to use up both leftover curry and leftover spaghetti it doesn't sound like a bad lunch. I do the same with somen!

Cherrypi,

I don't know how to post in the recipe archive so I'll post the recipe here. This is based on the recipe for 'Minced Meat Curry' in 'Stone Soup' (one of my favourite Japanese cookbooks!). It makes lots- enough for a few days, which is great because it always tastes better the second day (sometimes I 'cheat' and make it early in the day, stick it in the fridge for a few hours, then reheat to get that second day flavour on the first day!). But if you don't want to eat curry for days then you can half the recipe.

3 large onions, chopped

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 knob ginger, peeled and grated

1 Tbsp (approximately) spices- I use a mix of curry powder, turmeric and cumin.

400g ground pork (or beef)

400ml beef bouillon

400ml tomato juice

2 bay leaves

160g curry roux (a full box, a spicy kind is better than a sweet one)

salt, pepper and more spices to taste

Saute onion in oil for a few minutes, add garlic, ginger and spices, saute until fragrant. Add ground meat and saute until browned.

Add bouillon, tomato juice and bay leaves, simmer about 10 minutes, skimming the foam from the top from time to time.

Turn off heat and add the curry roux, stirring until the roux dissolves. Turn heat back on, taste the curry and add salt and pepper if needed. More spices can be added too, but be sure to simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

Curry can be eaten when heated through, or it can be simmered for as long as you wish to make the spices smoother and milder.

Good over rice, great with nan, and can be frozen.


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Smallworld, your recipe produced a great curry - thanks! Ground meat and tomato juice...who wudda thunk it? I also dumped in a fistful of caramelized onions (Jaymes's no-fail recipe from one of the crockpot threads).

I can't believe it took me so many years to even think about tampering with orthodox Japanese curry...

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I like to add seafood, like squid, scallops, shrimp, and of course diced onion.

I usually saute them in a little garlic before I add it to the curry.

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After reading this thread yesterday I made curry for dinner. Cauliflower, onions, carroes, apples.

It was good, I used half chicken broth/half water.

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I've also been raised by the camp that says anything and everything goes into curry.

Usual additions to the pre-packaged roux include beer, grated apple, honey, tomato juice, Coca-Cola, ginger, whatever's in the house.

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I saw on a TV show last night (NHK's 'Gatten'- the show is recapped here for those who can read/view Japanese characters: http://www.nhk.or.jp/gatten/archive/2003q2.../20030514.html) that making curry in a wok instead of a pot is better.

Apparently the wok is almost identical to the pot used by Indians to cook curry sauce, called a 'kahrai' (spelling?). They did a taste test and also used some lab equipment to test the tenderness of the meat, and it was 'proven' that the wok curry tasted better.

I'll be using a wok next time I make curry for sure!


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Apparently the wok is almost identical to the pot used by Indians to cook curry sauce, called a 'kahrai' (spelling?). They did a taste test and also used some lab equipment to test the tenderness of the meat, and it was 'proven' that the wok curry tasted better.

Since there is no clear-cut category called "curry" in Indian cuisine, it's hard to comment on whether this is so, but in general dishes with gravy can be cooked in a variety of equipment, including karahi/karhai but also degchi (pot) or tava (teppan?). A karhai tends to be somewhat deeper that a wok and is similar to what is often called a "balti" in Britain. From a taste point of view I'm not sure why it'd make a difference, except for surface area and pre-sauteing of the meat (which doesn't occur in traditional Indian curry). Did the NHK folks say what made it more tender?

Regarding strange Japanese curry, I believe (but this may be wishful thinking) that the Coco Ichibanyas here in Honolulu carry SPAM curry. . .


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Thanks for the info, Skchai!

Just as you said, it is the increased surface area that makes the difference, as well as the gentle curve with no corners. I'm not that great with Japanese so I couldn't follow all the technical stuff so well, but I think that curve allows a very high but consistant and controlled heat on the bottom of the wok, and the increase surface area where the sauce meets the air allows even cooling on top.

As to why this makes a curry sauce with a deeper flavour and softer meat, I have no idea! But I will be trying it out soon.

Amoung the other tests they performed was a boiling-over test. They timed how long it took a pot of boiling water and noodles to boil over (something that ALWAYS happens to me) compared with a wok of boiling water. The pot boiled over very quickly, but the wok never did. Pretty cool. (I forget to test this myself last night when I made soba though. Maybe next time.)

As well as not boiling over, water heated in a wok will reach the boil faster than in a regular pot.

They cooked a complete meal in the wok: glazed carrots, 'gratin' potatoes, steak and carmelized bananas.

The virtue of using a wok only is that it's supposed to save time, reduce the amount of gas used, and be easy to clean. (They didn't mention maintenance though- should you keep the wok well-oiled like you're supposed to? If so, won't the pasta or veggies boiled in it get all greasy?)

Kristin, sorry about the link. Try the Gatten page, at the bottom they have the last four episodes. The wok one was added most recently, May 15th.

http://www.nhk.or.jp/gatten/


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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