Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Japanese Curry

Eli is our resident Japanese chef, and this is our favorite meal for adults and children alike, served at the reunion. The following are his own words:

In Japan, curry is the comfort food of choice. While living there, I fell in love with Japanese curry, and I make it at least once a month for my family and once a year at our reunion. Every year, our crowd gets bigger. Cooking for fifty can be intimidating but quite rewarding, as everyone seems to love it.

The easiest way to make Japanese curry is to buy the pre-packaged curry roux. You can purchase it in bulk on Amazon. Most US grocery stores now carry "golden curry" but it is usually in smaller portions than what you'll find online. My personal favorite brands are Kokumaro and Torokeru. They are sold at various spice levels. I pre­fer the spicy, but buy it according to your taste. I add milk and cheese to the spicy one, which ultimately makes it mild with a bit of a kick.

Disregard the directions on the box and use the recipe below that I learned from a chef at a famous curry house in Japan.

This serves 12-16 people.

4 large russet potatoes
8-10 large carrots
6-8 cups of Japanese sushi rice or Botan or Calrose rice (This is much better than basmati, jasmine, or long-grain for this dish­ trust me.)
2 large onions
4-6 chicken breasts (or more if you like lots of chicken)
10 cups water
2 8.4-ounce boxes of roux (golden curry or the recommended brands above)
2 cups milk
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese 

1. Start a large pot of boiling water while cutting up the potatoes and carrots. Start cooking the rice either over the stove or in a rice cooker. Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes about the size of dice.

2. Cut the carrots into pieces about the same size as the potatoes. Put them in the water and boil until they start to soften.

3. While boiling, dice the onion and pan-fry the chicken breasts (with salt and pepper). Add the onion when the chicken is nearly cooked through. You can cube the chicken either before or after you cook it. For a big crowd, we barbecue the chicken and then cut into bite-size pieces.

4. Once the potatoes and carrots begin to soften, drain all of the water.

5. Measure 10 cups water and pour into the pot with the potatoes and carrots. Bring back to boil.

6. Once boiling, stir in the curry roux. It's important to keep stirring at this point so the roux dissolves and doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. The sauce will thicken as the roux dissolves, and you'll smell the aroma of the curry.

7. Put chicken and onions into the pot so everything is now mixing together.

8. Add 2 cups milk to the mixture, and add the grated cheese. Let simmer while stirring occasionally.

9. Serve over the sticky rice. Depending on how much you like cheese, I like to sprinkle a little more cheese on top and let it melt into the curry. Enjoy your new favorite food!

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