Japanese Curry with Carrots, Potato and Sweet Potato

Japanese-Curry

One of the most amazing things about having lived in Vancouver, is the access to the diverse Asian foods. Whilst living there, I was also really lucky to have an amazing foodie friend to help me navigate my way, she was of Hong Kong Chinese decent. She was one of the most adventurous people I have ever known and I must credit her for exposing me to a world of food I might have only ever touched the surface of. The two of us were friends with a lovely woman from Japan, whom we both worked with. It was through her I was introduced to the world of ‘Japanese Curry’.

Around this time, my parents had also moved to Kuala Lumpur, which meant when we went to visit them a few months later again this ‘Japanese Curry’ popped up everywhere. It makes a really mild curry (even the hot is not hot for anyone used to Indian curries) which is great for feeding kids.

It is quite common to find the sauce for the curry in a small box, to which you add your water and other ingredients as though it were a giant stock cube. Pure genius!  It is more than likely you have walked past this stuff in the food aisles and not realised what you are looking at. It really makes whipping up a meal very easy when you need it. I try to keep a couple of boxes (it is just one curry per box) in my larder for just this reason. Glico just happens to be one brand of these, S&B Golden Curry is another. There are many and you can find them easily enough when you know what you are looking for. Waitrose has them in their world food section with all the sushi ingredients. It is a box about the size of a pound note and roughly a 1cm or so thick. Alternatively, most Chinese food shops or even Amazon have them.

Now, when I started making these I used to follow the recipe to the letter and eventually this just evolved into something else. I also learned how to make the stock, a friend gave me the recipe for the stock/base below, so I no longer have to use the pre made packs and I can control what goes into them. My kids also really enjoy it. But don’t worry, sometimes it is a fight to get the first bite in for me too! And surprisingly, this is all vegetables… and my kids insist they don’t like vegetables. I just make sure I cut the pieces into nice little cubes so they cannot decipher what they are eating. And for the little ones, I mash it all up so they have no idea and there are no big lumps to put them off. It seems to be working so far, and for me that is a BIG thing!

So, either way, if you want to use the packet for the base, then ignore the first part of the recipe and just continue on. I have also included the sticky rice I make. It is a way I started making it ages ago and I really like the sticky rice with this recipe.

Serves 5-6

Japanese-Curry

Curry Stock/Base (adapted from my friend’s recipe)

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (optional)
  • 500 ml Vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari sauce (or light soy sauce)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tbsp Flour (or gluten-free flour)
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala

Saute the onion and garlic until soft and translucent, not brown. Add the chopped carrots and stir through. Then add all the remaining ingredients, except for the garam masala, cover and simmer on low heat for 20 mins.

After the 20 mins, add the garam masala and stir through. Simmer for an additional minute before removing the bay leaf and straining the vegetables from the liquid. You can do this with a slotted spoon or a sieve. Discard the vegetables. You should be left with a thick sauce.

This sauce can also be made in advance if you want to refrigerate it (or even freeze it). Just warm through over a gentle heat, adding a little water if it gets too thick.
Curry

  • 1 large Onion
  • 4 large Carrots
  • 2 medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 medium Potatoes

Peel and trim all the vegetables and then chop into small bite sized pieces. Keeping the onion separate from the other vegetables.

If you are using the curry sauce from above, follow these instructions:

Place the vegetables into a steamer and steam them until cooked through. You want them soft, not mushy. The carrots will take longer so I usually start with those for 10 mins and then add the remaining vegetables for about 20 minutes. The time will vary depending on how large you have cut them. So check from 15 mins onwards.

Whilst the vegetables are steaming, saute the onion with a little olive oil until translucent and soft. Set aside.

Once the vegetables have cooked, add them with the onions to the curry sauce. stir through and serve over sticky rice.

If you have opted for the packaged sauce (totally reasonable!):

Saute the onion until they are soft and translucent, being careful not to let them brown. Add all the chopped vegetables and stir through. Then add the water (~500 ml – the package will tell you how much water to add based on your brand), cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and soft. This will usually be longer than the packet will suggest for the meat option. I find somewhere between 30-40 minutes, again this depends on the size of the vegetables. Break up the block of curry paste and stir through until it has all been incorporated and is well mixed through. Simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken the sauce – it will also continue to thicken as it cools. Serve over sticky rice.

Rice

  • Nishiki, Kokuho Rose or other type of Japanese Sushi Rice – Allow half a cup per person
  • 1 cup of water for each portion of rice

To prepare the rice. Place the rice in a bowl or the saucepan you are going to cook it in, rinse with cold water. You will want to do this several times, giving the rice a gentle stir with your hands to release all the starch, and continue to pour out the cloudy water and top up with fresh cold water until the water remains clear. Then pour out as much of the water as you can or drain it in using a sieve, this will leave a little bit of water behind but don’t worry too much about this.

Add the fresh water, 1 cup per portion of rice, to the saucepan with the rice and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer for 20 mins. Check the rice, you should find all the water has been absorbed. If not, return to the heat for a few minutes longer.

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