Tell me about Japanese curry
[The Chowhound Team split this topic off from its original place on the DC / Baltimore board]
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Tell me more about Japanese curry. I used to patronize a Japanese place near the University of Minnesota campus in the early 70's. It served a delicious chicken curry, but, unfortunately, went out of business in the early 80's, I think.
I never encountered Japanese curry again and have just assumed it was one chef's idiosyncratic version of Indian curry (analogous to my German mother's concept of what pizza ought to taste like).
Can you describe it? I'd love to see if it's the same thing.
japanese curry has long been an unsung favorite of mine and many expats/travelors that has recently (here in NYC anyhow) started gaining popularity. while japanese curries themselves vary a bit of course, i think its safe to say that the real standard japanese curry (as exemplified by many katsu-karei shops and the boxes of rouxmix you can buy in many shops) is most like what many americans would probably call a spiced beef stew. it is usually a brown sauce that has sweated onions and a mix of potatoes, carrots, and beef chunks in it. wonderful stuff. not ultra-spicey like many think indian or southeast asian curries are. this is totally tame stuff - sometimes even withadded sugars for a sweetness rather than a spiciness. in japan it is always served over boring old white rice.
we should all be clear tho, japanese people do know what real curry is and all over japan one can find indian, thai, etc curry joints, too. its just that japanese people have japanified curry much like we in the US have our own american-chinese food, etc.
japanese curry is similar to british style curry and originated from them. It tastes nothing like indian curry at all. Korean curry is the same thing too.
you basically sautee onions, carrots, (sometimes celery), add potatoes and add either chicken pork or beef. You then add water and some curry roux to the mixture and simmer it for a while and serve it with a side of rice. You aren't supposed to mix the curry into the rice, but I do it all the time. Its usually served with pickles (odn't know their japanese name). But growing up in a half korean family, I ate my curry with takuan (pickled daikon) or gak du gi (cubed radish kimchee).
oh and if you look at the ingredients in a curry roux there are some strange items in it like aged gouda. I kid you not, I would type up the ingredients, but I threw away my curry box.
Curry rice is very good and you should definitely try it. its the easiest thing to make and typifies a simple, easy, and delicious meal that a lot of koreans and japanese tend to eat
just pulled out a box of House brand's Vermont Curry. how vermont ever got connected to curry...i have no idea. however, here is what it says for ingredients:
"palm oil, wheat flour, sugar, salt, cornstarch, curry powder, onion powder, tomato powder, autolyzed yeast extract, fruit paste (banana, sugar, honey, tomato) honey, skim milk, dry whole milk, cheese (cheddar, gouda), peanut butter, soy sauce powder, chutney, cocoa, apple paste, garlic powder, red pepper, MSG," and the rest is scary stuff that's hard to pronounce.
there was a recipe for "wafuu" curry in Saveur magazines top 100, which i think is still the current issue. it had nothing as strange as cocoa and gouda, but had grated apple for sweetness. i haven't tried it yet, but that might be a good alternative to these tasty, but scary curry roux boxes.
While I imagine that most of the Japanese curry you will get in the US probably uses some kind of commercial product (i.e., the roux bricks), it's really a complex dish. There has been a few discussions of this before on these boards. Here's one.