Curry is truly a dish that crosses international lines and simply means 'spicy dish'. It is the combination of turmeric, coriander, cumin and pepper that give it a distinct taste and is popular in Indian and Asian cuisines. I have made different currys from scratch before and they all have unique flavors, but this one I am going to share with you is my husbands favorite and a very easy one. Some might say cheating because you use a box of seasonings, but I have tried to copy it and have failed enough times to just rip open the package when we feel like curry.
This is the package, which you can find pretty much anywhere in the Asian section at the store.
It comes in mild, medium and hot; we usually get mild or medium. There are instructions on the box and depending on the brand you get, are entertaining to read because of the botched English translation. I have tweeked the recipe to my liking and do my own thing.
I make beef curry but chicken or pork would work just as well. First you take 1-2 lbs of boneless meat that has been cubed 1". Saute in a little oil in a large pot.
When the meat is no longer pink on the outside I add enough water to cover the meat. When the mixture comes to a boil, I turn it down and cover, to simmer an hour or two to get more tender. If you were doing chicken you would omit this step and proceed below to where the vegetables get added. You do need to check the water level every now and then to make sure it doesn't burn.
When you feel that the meat is tender enough you prepare the vegetables. For this meal I chopped half an onion, 3 stalks of celery, 4 carrots and 5 small potatoes. Any combination of vegetables works fine.
Add to the meat mixture and add just enough water to cover the vegetables. (If you add too much water the curry might be too thin.)
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Just when they get soft enough to easily fork, you add the curry. It is a hard block of condensed curry seasonings; you just take a sharp knife and shave off the curry into the pot.
You don't want the pieces to large...running into a piece of strong curry when eating is not fun. Once it is all shaved in you mix gently, being careful not to mash any of the vegetables. At this point of you feel that your curry is too thick you can add a little water until it gets to the right consistency.
This is now ready to eat, or it can now sit on the back burner on very low heat while you prepare the Miso. There are a couple condiments that we eat with Japanese Curry....pickled red ginger and Tonkatsu sauce.
These really add to the flavor of the dish but are not totally necessary. You can find both these items at an Asian food store. This dish could be prepared vegetarian; just start by adding the veggies and then covering with water to cook.
Here is our dinner:
Now there is an ingredient in the Japanese Curry and also in the Miso that some people might have a problem with. MSG. I have done a little reading on it and am OK with our family eating it periodically. We do have Miso once or twice a week, but as you will see in that recipe, the amount of MSG in the soup is minimal. My mother in law probably takes in more MSG then our whole family put together and she is, like most Japanese, very healthy. With most food issues, I feel that having an overall healthy diet is the key, and not focusing on single ingredients used minimally.
Next recipe I will post very soon....Miso!
1 Curry Mix
1-2 lbs beef, chicken or pork, cubed.
1/2 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
4 carrots, sliced
5 small potatoes (about 2 c.) chopped
Saute meat in oil until brown. Cover with water and simmer until tender. (If using chicken omit this step.) Add prepared vegetables and cover with water. Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Add shaved curry seasoning, fold in well. Serve with rice.