Hed Chef: Japanese curry
Sweet and mildly spicy
The Japanese curry is a variant quite different from its Asian cousins. It is a rich, dark, glossy brown that has no coconut milk and is more sweet than spicy.
First introduced in Japan by the British in the 19th century, curry has become a household staple. Usually served with plain rice, the dish of curry rice is known as kare raisu in Japanese.
To get that unique Japanese curry taste, use instant curry sauce roux which is available at major supermarkets.
The instant roux comes in slabs that resemble chocolate but you would be surprised at the heavy scent of spices when you tear open the packaging.
The instant roux makes it simpler but there is still some work involved.
The beef, carrots and potatoes need to be browned. One important step is to brown the onions which form the base of the curry.
The instant roux available here ranges from mild to very hot but for the local palate, even the very hot version is slightly spicy at best.
I opted to cook some of the potatoes first so that they would dissolve and help thicken the curry sauce, giving it a fuller flavour.
Adding Worcestershire sauce also gives it a tangy edge which prevents the thick curry sauce from being overly cloying. Adjust the seasoning to suit your own preference.
- 250g of beef cubes
- 1 carrot, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 brown button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 stalk of leek, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into squares
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 packet (120g) of Japanese curry sauce mix
- 1 tbsp apricot jam
- 2 to 3 tbsp tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1.8 litres water
- 20g butter
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
1. Season the beef with black pepper and pan-fry in 2 tbsp of olive oil and 10g of butter until browned. (Photo above)
2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and pan-fry the carrots until browned.
3. Pan-fry the potatoes until browned. Set aside. (Photo above)
4. Heat a pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and 10g of butter. Fry the onions and garlic until the onions become tender and browned. (photo above))
5. Transfer onions to a pot and add the beef.
6. Add 1.8 litres of water, three pieces of carrots and one-third of the fried potatoes.
7. Add the leek and mushrooms.
8. Boil for 35 minutes until the potatoes dissolve in the cooking liquid.
9. Add the remaining carrots and the bell peppers. Boil for 20 minutes.
10. Add the Japanese curry sauce mix and stir slowly to dissolve the roux.
11. Add the apricot jam, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
12. Add the remaining potatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes and serve piping hot.