When most people think Japanese food, they tend to think sushi. Maybe, maybe they'll be more up to date on the broad spectrum of Japanese food and be aware that miso soup, okonomiyaki, and onigiri are also Japanese food.
But did you know that curry is also a Japanese food?
I didn't really know until a Japanese friend, N, clued me in on that. She said that because I'm such an adventurous eater and love exploring foods from other cultures, and because I've liked and made lots of other Japanese dishes, I should try out Japanese curry.
That confused me.
I thought curry was something Indian. Thai at best. But what on earth is the connection between Japan and curry???
A little googling and scouting round the internet taught me that the British introduced the Japanese to curry in the 1800s, a time period in which India was under British control. How exactly, I'm not 100% sure, but the Japanese people fell so in love with curry (also called kare) that they made it their own, changing it up a bit, and now it is one of Japan's most popular dishes. Definitely not what I'd expected to find as Japan's national dish!
Fusion cooking at its best. But hey- Americans like lots of Indian food and Chinese food- why should it be a surprise that Japanese like food from other cultures as well?
Japanese curry generally comes as a powder, like soup mix, filled with a whole bunch of nasty sounding ingredients, that aren't healthy, and they're reconstituted into a sauce, mixed with vegetables and maybe meat, and served, either over/with rice, or soup like, with noodles. Very different from the types of Indian or Thai curries I'm used to.
According to N, curry is very popular with kids and adults alike in Japan. I certainly enjoyed it, despite the rather seemingly strange flavor combinations in this recipe, and so did the rest of my family. To be honest, though, I'm not sure it was my kids favorite meal in the world, but they certainly didn't complain about it either.
You can make this meal either vegetarian/vegan, or with any meat, and make it sugar free or not, or gluten free or not. I chose to serve it with some homemade sushi rice.
I certainly will be trying this one again.
This recipe is a combination of quite a few different recipes that I got. Japanese curries are flexible!
2 heaping tablespoons coconut oil or any other oil or fat
1 onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
3 medium potatoes, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
4 tablespoons brown rice flour or any other flour, gluten free or not.
3 cups broth, chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I use my homemade vegan, sugar free Worcestershire sauce)
2-3 tablespoons ketchup (I used homemade ketchup to make this healthier)
1 teaspoon- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, honey, or sugar (to taste)
3 tablespoons garam masala or regular curry powder (I prefer to use my homemade garam masala)
1 teaspoon instant coffee (I know it sounds weird, but trust me on this one)
2-3 cups cooked meat (I used chicken gizzards because I can get them very cheaply, but beef, pork, lamb, or regular chicken parts is fine) or vegetables like green beans, peas, etc... to make it vegetarian/vegan
Salt to taste
1. Saute the onions, garlic, and gloves in half the oil until soft, and then cook some more until all the liquid evaporates.
2. Add the garam masala/curry powder, flour and the rest of the oil to the pan, mixing to make sure there are no clumps, and cook for a bit until browned.
3. Add the broth, a little at a time, mixing it so there are no clumps.
4. Add the water, ketchup, sugar, coffee, meat, carrots, and potatoes, and cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
5. Salt to taste.
6. Serve hot with rice or noodles.
Did you know that curry is a Japanese staple, and that they have their own version of curry? If not, are you surprised to learn how popular it is among Japanese people? Have you ever had Japanese curry?
Does this look like a recipe you'd try out?