Do you know who the best chefs in the world are? Mothers.
My best meals around Japan were in Japanese homes.The first person to wake up and the last person to go to bed are the moms. They would busy themselves with meal preparations, the menu, shopping, cutting, dicing, analyzing just so their family can have delicious, healthy meals.
I was so touched by my hostesses’ efforts that I decided to emulate a Japanese meal for my adopted family. Around the dinner table, almost everyone has been to Japan. So that means they can tell if it’s good or just plain rubbish. Hmm. Tough critics.
I usually buy ready-made cubes from Asian groceries but I wanted to challenge myself to make curry from scratch. After some research on the Internet for an authentic Japanese curry recipe I found a great one from No Recipes. Actually knowing what goes into a Japanese curry is fascinating. Japanese curry is much sweeter than Indian and Malaysian curries so it called for apples and honey. Two ingredients I would have never thought to have in curries.
Curry Katsu Don is (just) one of my favourite Japanese food. G. and I were frequent customers of Coco Curry House which is a fast food restaurant that only serves Japanese curry. They have 10 different levels of spiciness and I thought Japanese curries were mild, ha-ha, boy, was I in for a big surprise. I tried level 3 and I was almost spewing.
Anyway, I am pleased to report that G’s family all approved of the curry katsu don. Trust me, they would tell me otherwise. It may not be as good as my Japanese hostesses’ but I’m taking baby steps. Like I say, exploring life one step at a time.
- 3 cups water
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onions onion, sliced
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsps minced garlic
- 3 tbsps flour
- 2 tbsps of curry powder
- 2 tbsps tomato paste
- 2 carrots, thickly sliced
- 1 apple pureed
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 large yukon gold potatoes cut into large chunks
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add half the onions. Saute the onions until they are caramelized (about 30 minutes). Add the carrots and the water then bring to a boil. Skim off any foam or oil that accumulates at the surface. Increase heat to medium-low and add the potatoes, vegetable stock, pureed apple, and honey. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until you can pass a fork through the carrots and potatoes.
In a separate pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat, then add ginger, garlic, and the remaining onion. Cook until onions are soft then add the flour, cumin and garam masala, stirring until you have a thick paste. Add the curry powder, salt and some fresh ground black pepper and incorporate into the roux. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce and worcestershire sauce and combine. Mix in 1/2 cup of hot stock. Continue to cook for about 5 – 10 minutes.
Ladle about 2 cups of stock into the roux then whisk until it’s smooth. Pour this mixture back into the other pot and gently stir until thickened.
Serve over tonkatsu and steamed rice.
Tonkatsu (Deep-fried pork cutlet)
- 1 cup plain flour, seasoned
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs (panko crumbs)
- 4 x 170g extra-trim pork loin steads, pounded until 5mm thick
- Vegetable oil to deep-fry
- 2 tbsps sesame oil
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Dust pork with flour, shake off the excess, then dip in egg and coat in breadcrumbs, then repeat with egg and breadcrumbs. Place pork on a plate. Refridgerate for 20 minutes.
Heat vegetable and sesame oil in a deep frying pan to 170C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 20 seconds). Add half the pork and fry for 4 minutes, turnig half way,or until golden and cook. Drain on paper towel and keep warm, then repeat with remaining pork.