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Japanese curry

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Question: Do you eat fukujin-zuke with curry and rice?

I think that the combination of curry and fukujin-zuke is superb.

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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.

I read this post a few days ago, and decided that it sounded like a good, very simple meal. So I gave it a shot tonight, and was impressed by how well it worked out. I have no real experience with Sri Lankan or Indian curries, but it was certainly tasty.

I added a few things to add some complexity to the flavor. I cooked a small handful of dried chickpeas earlier in the day and added them and the water that they were cooked in. I also added the juice of one lime and a little sugar to balance the sourness. Also threw in a tiny bit of natural peanut butter. Used chicken breasts instead of thighs, because it's what I had on hand.

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Question: Do you eat fukujin-zuke with curry and rice?

I think that the combination of curry and fukujin-zuke is superb.

Is there any other way to eat Japanese curry? I thought the fukujinzuke was the whole point!

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Question: Do you eat fukujin-zuke with curry and rice?

I think that the combination of curry and fukujin-zuke is superb.

Is there any other way to eat Japanese curry? I thought the fukujinzuke was the whole point!

:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

I sometimes make curry just because I want to eat fukujin-zuke!

and rakkyo too, I must have both! :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I came across a recipe for Japanese Curry Roux containing the following ingredients.

onion (sauteed in butter)

honey

3 tablespoon curry powder

2 Tblespoon tumeric

1 tblspoon graham masala

cayenne pepper

salt

cardomam

nutmeg

Is Japanese Curry powder different than Indian? If it isn't, I'm guessing that this person might be getting Indian curries confused with Japanese since the ingredients appear almost identical.

What's the delineation between Japanese and Indian curry?

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I cant speak for everyone, but the girl who taught me how to cook a Japanese curry made it a lot thicker and a bit more mild then any indian curry I have ever had.

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I am not an expert on Indian curries or Japanese ones for that matter :blink: but in my experience Japanese curry tends to be of a thick sauce with some meat and vegetables ( most commonly potatoes, carrots and onions) while curries in India are more of a meat and/or vegetable dish with some sauce for binding. Japanese curries also tend to be milder and sweeter.

But don't forget there are also Indian style curries made in Japan, these tend to focus more on various spices rather than a pack of roux.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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For what it's worth, my Japanese wife makes a curry which has a lot of very thick and yes, sweeter/milder sauce----it's almost like a thick stew. It generally has stewing beef, potatoes, carrots and onions (as mentioned before). Most Japanese housewives would not even consider making it from scratch but rather, buy a package of "curry" sauce or powder and add the ingredients and let simmer like a stew. Sometimes this is even served with or poured over rice.

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I came across a recipe for Japanese Curry Roux containing the following ingredients.

onion (sauteed in butter)

honey

3 tablespoon curry powder

2 Tblespoon tumeric

1 tblspoon graham masala

cayenne pepper

salt

cardomam

nutmeg

Is Japanese Curry powder different than Indian? If it isn't, I'm guessing that this person might be getting Indian curries confused with Japanese since the ingredients appear almost identical.

What's the delineation between Japanese and Indian curry?

Most Japanese people, at least in my experience, are unaware that curry is actually a mixture of several different spices. So they make curry with either a pre-prepared roux or a store-bought powdered curry. The recipe you found is unusual, as I think few households have any of those spices other than curry powder (and I'm pretty sure you can't find garam masala in a regular Japanese supermarket).

There are many different versions of both Japanese curries and Indian curries (if there even is such a thing as an Indian "curry"), but I guess the main difference is that typical Indian curries are made with a mixture of spices, freshly roasted and ground, cooked with onions, garlic, ginger etc before other ingredients are added. While Japanese curry is made the same as stew, with a hard, store-bought roux melted in at the end.

So yes, Japanese curry is different from Indian curry. As is Thai curry, Jamaican curry etc.


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Japanese curry didn't get here from India - it's basically a curry-flavored Edwardian British white-sauce. If you think of it that way, the whole "roux" thing makes perfect sense.

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Greetings, I'm new to eGullet. I had to join after finding this Japanese food section. You guys are really fanatical about food!

Anyhow, I have a question about Japanese curry. Me and my boyfriend absolutely love it, and is in fact thinking about opening a small restaurant specializing in Japanese curry in the United States. I know we are taking a risk because nobody knows about Japanese curry in the States, but at the same time it is so addictively tasty we believe our restaurant can take off in a big way if we do it right.

Anyhow, right now when we cook Japanese curry for ourselves we use the roux cubes we find in the local asian market. It makes for a very acceptable product that is less complex than the curry you'd find at specialist curry stores in Asia, but nevertheless pretty good. From what research I've done it's clear that this is the way that curry is made in most households. But, to tell you the truth, I would almost feel like cheating using a convenience product like curry cubes in our restaurant. Does anyone have good recipes for making curry truly from scratch? Or are there additional steps or extra ingredients I can add to our curry to make the roux more flavorful?

My boyfriend thinks I'm being silly. He has a point since then roux curry is really quite yummy and we're hardly in competition with anybody else selling an even remotely comparable product. Still, I want to make our food the best it can be. Any advice will be helpful!

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Greetings, I'm new to eGullet. I had to join after finding this Japanese food section. You guys are really fanatical about food!

Anyhow, I have a question about Japanese curry. Me and my boyfriend absolutely love it, and is in fact thinking about opening a small restaurant specializing in Japanese curry in the United States. I know we are taking a risk because nobody knows about Japanese curry in the States, but at the same time it is so addictively tasty we believe our restaurant can take off in a big way if we do it right.

Anyhow, right now when we cook Japanese curry for ourselves we use the roux cubes we find in the local asian market. It makes for a very acceptable product that is less complex than the curry you'd find at specialist curry stores in Asia, but nevertheless pretty good. From what research I've done it's clear that this is the way that curry is made in most households. But, to tell you the truth, I would almost feel like cheating using a convenience product like curry cubes in our restaurant. Does anyone have good recipes for making curry truly from scratch? Or are there additional steps or extra ingredients I can add to our curry to make the roux more flavorful?

My boyfriend thinks I'm being silly. He has a point since then roux curry is really quite yummy and we're hardly in competition with anybody else selling an even remotely comparable product. Still, I want to make our food the best it can be. Any advice will be helpful!

In theory, your idea for a Japanese curry restaurant is good but it depends on your geographic location in the US.

First of all, are you aiming to get Asian customers or Westerners?

I really don't think that Japanese are going to pay money in an overseas country to eat Japanese curry when they can buy the boxes of curry roux from Asian stores anyway.

So, there's greater potential in attracting Westerners. However, curry is generally associated with Indian (East Asian) cuisine so you'd have some hurdles trying to establish the identity of Japanese curry to an audience who may not even be aware of the curry variant.

BTW, making roux isn't difficult, at least not in my experience. I haven't made it for Japanese curry (I much prefer Indian curries anyway, Indian style, not American style).

Also, if you're making Japanese style curry, I hope you will only be serving Japanese rice with it (that's what's served with the curry in Japan, isn't it?).

Just some thoughts on the topic...

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I too have been playing with the idea of opening a curry house back in the states when I return. I believe it can be successful due to my observations here on Okinawa. Having a very large US presense here, whenever you go into a Curry House Coco Ichibanya, it is filled with Americans! I know there are a few Curry Houses in Southern California, but adding to the sentiments stated prior, they may be leaning too much to the Japanese tourist crowd in So Cal instead of the locals. Also, they seem to serve their curry on spaghetti instead of steamed rice??

As for the roux. I believe the roux is only the base for the sauce. Either at home or in a restaurant setting it will be how you "kick up" the sauce that will make it outstanding. The cooking sytle of the meats and vegetables along with "secret" additions such as carmelized apples, additional spices or golden raisins will truly add to the overall effect.

Placement of the proposed restaurant in a major urbanized setting would help. Also, most Americans think "Indian" when they hear curry, so you would have to educate them on the profound differences. But as many Japanese are attracted to American cultural icons, the same is true with Americans in their interest in most things Japanese. This idea was recently boosted with the box office returns of "Lost in Translation" in the US.

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Thanks for the welcome and the info, Torakris. I'm still working my way through reading the curry thread...there's a lot of ideas there!

I'm planning to open the restaurant in Amherst, Mass. It's a college town so I'm aiming squarely for the hungry student customers. Not very many Japanese people here, but I doubt our curry will be authentic enough for them anyhow. I think okinawaChris is right - roux cubes are the way to go, at least as a departure point. As for educating our consumers, I'm counting on the curiosity factor to get people in the door (we'll make it clear from our sign and our advertizing to differentiate ourselves as JAPANESE curry).

I'll keep you all posted as the recipe testing phase commences. Hopefully my boyfriend and I won't gain too much weight in the next few months.

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I looked on the U.S. Heinz website...no mention of curry.

However, at my local Asian store they do have a selection of curry cubes. S&B's Golden Curry is what we usually use for ourselves.

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I wouldn't get too bogged down with authenticity - as far as I'm aware Japanese curry isn't exactly a product steeped in centuries of tradition.

Strangely it sounds very similar to what is served in chinese takeaways and chip shops across the uk - roux based, a bit spicy and sweet, and absolutely nothing like an indian curry. And I know they buy it as powder.

Students will probbaly love it.

One thing I would suggest is having lots of interesting condiments on the table (Use small pots/bottles though to stop wastage). It allows people to alter it to their taste, and gives the impression of getting something free (It isn't of course, you add it to the price really). I know a thai place which attracts people over similar ventures just because of this fact.

Mayb a communal table type, canteen type setting would be good too.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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I looked on the U.S. Heinz website...no mention of curry.

However, at my local Asian store they do have a selection of curry cubes. S&B's Golden Curry is what we usually use for ourselves.

OK, thanks.

It's like throwing a wet blanket, but I have to mention this first:

You say that Japanese curry is 'addictively tasty'. You know why? Store-bought curry roux contains a lot of fat, 40% lard (by weight or by volume?, I don't know) for some brands, and it also contains a fair amount of MSG and other food additives. So, if you want to serve healthy, low-fat, and MSG-free curry to your customers, using store-bought curry roux is not a good idea. Of course, this is just my personal opinion.

What do you think?

That being said, I must admit that whenever I make curry at home, I use store-bought curry roux. As you say, it's really addictive!

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The fat content and MSG is what gives Japanese curry it's "rich" and addictive qualities! To take them out would diminish the taste profile in my opinion. I don't think many people go to curry houses to better their health, but instead to eat a hearty satisfying meal.

As for curry roux in the states, House Foods Inc. in California sells bulk curry roux to the restaurant industry.

http://www.house-foods.com/index.html

I think BattlePanda's idea of opening in a college town is perfect. It is the right target audience for the menu. Teachers/Admin by day, students by night/late-night. The curry houses down here are packed into the wee hours of the morning with people finishing their nights on the town or in the bars with a plate of curry. Most ingredients will be available in the states, but the necessary Fukujin-Zuke may be hard to come by along with the Radkyo (sp?) onions for tabletop condiments.

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Hiroyuki is right. Japanese curry is not the healthiest food. Especially if we decide to serve it over tonkatsu. But as we are marketing ourselves mostly as an alternative to other standard student fare such as pizza and other fast food, I don't think we're going to do any more damage to people's health.

But my boyfriend and I better watch our own curry consumption. I'll probably get sick of it relatively quickly, but he can eat curry all day every day.

And as for fukujin-zuke, there's an well-stocked asian store in town where we can buy them. We'll probably just leave them out on the condiment counter for those who want them. My boyfriend absolutely hates fukujin zuke. I can take them or leave them.

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OK, I have no intention of offending you, anyway.

Here is a list of most of the 'secret ingredients' that will add a subtle flavor to store-bought curry roux (I guess some of them have already been mentioned in the curry thread, though):

- Consomme

- Ginger

- Chocolate

- Instant coffee

- Tomato ketchup

- Apple, mango, and other fruits

- Honey

- Mayonnaise

- Worcestershire sauce

- Soy sauce

- Milk

- Garlic

- Laurel leaf

- Yogurt

- Wine

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I think Hiroko Shimbo offers a recipe for curry [shrimp] from scratch. She instructs cooking the base for 2 hours! My question: has anybody prepared this recipe exactly according to the directions and is 2 hours overkill? Thanks.

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I haven't prepared that particular recipe, but I have cooked other roux-type preparations (cream croquette base) for a very long time, and as promised, the flavor certainly did lose any hint of raw flouriness, and does break down some of the gluten rubberiness (which is what I object to most in roux-based curry mixes - when I just can't stand roux, I thicken my curry with peanut flour).

If you want to go that route, why not prepare the roux by hand, then tip it into a slow cooker to "mature"?

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Thanks for the interesting ideas, Hiroyuki :)

Today I went to the Asian store and looked around. They had three kinds of S&B curry, mild, medium and hot, plus two kinds of vermont curry. I picked up the medium S&B and made two batches of chicken curry at home.

First, I sauteed chopped garlic and grated ginger in the skillet with a little vegetable oil. Then I added diced boneless chicken thigh and browned it before adding the veggies, onions, peppers and a tomato. I steamed the potatoes and carrots seperately. Then, going with an idea I saw in a cookbook, I pureed some of the potatoes and carrots with a little chicken stock to add textures to my curry. Then I finished up the curry by adding water and roux cube as usual.

I also made another batch just with chicken and onions, as per the instruction on the back of the box.

THE VERDICT?

My boyfriend preferred the straight-up version unequivocally. He found the messed around version too complex, with the curry flavor muted by the other additions.

I too, have to admit that the straight-up version had better immediate mouth-appeal. The pureed potatoes did not noticably affect the texture of the stew, which was a little gummy for me. The garlic and ginger was overpowering. And I suspect the addition of the stock made the curry too salty. I liked the texture of the vegetables, but I think having so many different aromatic vegs in there made the flavors muddy. Dispite the shortcomings of my version, however, I think it had a more three-dimensional taste that people expect from restaurant food.

Both versions suffer from some common flaws -- my tongue is numb from the full-on salt and monosodium glutamate assult! I also found the 'gravy' of both sauces unpleasantly gummy.

My boyfriend thinks that the straight-up version is hard to beat. And though I have to admit that it is pretty darn tasty, I think people going into a restaurant is not going to be happy with something quite as one-dimensional. I also want to cut down on the salt and monosodium glutamate content of the curry. MSG is a short-cut of making things taste good, but ultimately it is not as satisfying as real flavor. I also want to improve on the texture of my curry.

Tomorrow, I'm going to make a beef curry with S&B's hot roux. Keep posted to see how it turns out!

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