Recipe Time: Kare-Raisu (Japanese Curry) カレーライス
I’ve gone on about curry before. But really, what’s not to like? It’s delicious, exotic, good for you, and relatively easy to make (provided you have all the ingredients). One thing that I particularly enjoy is discovering new ways to make curry dishes. Every new one I find is familiar, but has its own little twist on it. A year or so ago, I discovered the concept of Japanese curry. It’s weird to think of it, since curry itself derives from India for the most part, and is also popular in Thai cuisine as well. But Japan? No way. But that’s where “yoshoku” comes in.
Yoshoku is variety of cuisine in Japan, which is essentially “loan” dishes. Over the past couple of centuries, the Japanese have really dug borrowing shit from other cultures, which is pretty awesome actually since they have their own rich, amazing culture and history. But because of that, any traditions or foods or other aspects they borrowed generally get a nifty Japanese spin on it when imported into their culture. Yoshoku, as mentioned, is all food that the Japanese developed from borrowing foods and recipes from other cultures. As such, they’re not actually all that, well, “Japanese-sounding”. We’re talking stuff like spongecakes and ketchup-fried-rice and in this case, curry.
Kare-raisu, カレーライス (curry-rice) is unique in that it’s vastly different from most Indian curries. It’s thick. Like, really thick. And really chunky. And it’s way sweeter, with a smoother flavor than you’d expect from the pungent, spicy curries you may have eaten. Some people compare it to a stew, but its ingredients are still very curry-y in nature. Either way, it is super, incredibly delicious, and it tastes like nothing else.
One disclaimer I will put out right from the start: kare-raisu isn’t difficult to make, it’s pretty easy. But it is a biiiitch to actually make because it requires like 8 billion ingredients and takes a while to cook. But! Don’t let that discourage you. It tastes amazing, and this ingredient will produce a TON of food, which means you will have leftovers galore all week! If you have all the ingredients on hand, it should only take about 40-60 minutes to cook total. Just make sure you have all the ingredients beforehand.
Kare-Raisu (Japanese Curry)
- 2 large chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
- 2 potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 onion, cut into slices
- 1 apple, grated
- 3 tbsp sesame oil or olive oil
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp turmeric (optional)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tsp tomato paste OR 2 tbsp crushed tomatoes
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp garam masala (optional)
- 3 tsp coriander
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp chipotle flakes OR any spicy addition (tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, etc)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sage
- 1 tbsp barbecue sauce
- Cut chicken and vegetables up into respective sizes. Grate apple down to the core using a cheese grater into a separate bowl and set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, add the oil and heat on a medium-high flame until it coats the bottom of the pan. Add potatoes, carrots, and onions to pan and begin sautéing for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are golden-colored.
- Add chicken to pan and start cooking with the veggies. Season the chicken and vegetables in the pan with chili powder, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Stir well, and stir-fry chicken in pan for 7-10 minutes, or until chicken is mostly cooked.
- Pour the chicken broth into the pan and stir well so that chicken and vegetables do not stick to bottom. Reduce heat to low-medium.
- Using a sieve or sifter, sprinkle the flour into the pan slowly, while stirring to avoid it clumping up too much. (If clumps do form, don’t worry, they’ll cook out eventually.)
- When flour is blended well into broth, and broth has thickened, add in tomatoes and butter and stir until well combined into broth mixture. If sauce is not thickened, add 1 tsp of flour until it does.
- Add the cumin, garam masala, coriander, cocoa powder, chipotle pepper, and sage to the pan and stir well.
- Stir in the grated apple, soy sauce and barbecue sauce, and mix until sauce is blended and same consistency throughout.
- Reduce the heat to lowest flame and cover pot. Let the curry simmer covered for 10 more minutes, stirring every so often to ensure it does not stick.
- Remove lid, stir the curry one more time for one last mix of the sauce, and remove from heat. Serve your curry alongside a plate of rice or even some chicken katsu!
Serves at least 6 people.
See, that wasn’t… so bad… right? Okay, I warned you, it is a massive recipe, but like I said, it’s absolutely worth it since it tastes so delicious. One other thing I would point out is that you actually can buy special “curry starters” at Asian markets, which cuts down on the ingredients you’d need here, but not by a whole lot. You’re better off just making it from scratch; it’s really satisfying and fulfilling to finish it and look at the awesome, delicious, giant dish of food you’ve made.
Also did I mention it’s delicious?