Sunday, 29 May 2011

I feel like Chicken tonight! - Japanese Chicken Curry.

For those of you who have never tried Japanese curry, this is a most simple and may I add, very addictive & flavoursome dish. Japanese curry cannot be likened to Indian or Thai curries. It is a curry all in itself with a mild flavour and a thick texture not so unsimiliar to a spicy casserole or hot pot. This is a commonly made dish at home by Japanese mums, but it is also popular enough to also find at restaurants in Japan. Japan even has specialized curry restaurants, offering a variety of 'extra toppings' such as a crumbed and fried chicken or pork fillet on top. Curry restaurants offer a unique pickle that can also be placed on top of the curry for extra texture - highly recommended.

Now, to create your own curry experience at home, you will need one of the following:
S & B Golden Curry Sauce Mix (200g)
S & B Torokeru Curry (Tasty curry sauce mix) (200g)

The key to Japanese curry is using a unique curry sauce mix, that although is probably not the most healthy, is certainly the maker of the dish. I opt for the largest packet available in asian supermarkets (200g) and make a big batch, one that will feed 3 people for dinner and again for lunch the next day (watch out for my curry gratan recipe to follow).
Ingredients (my version):

3-4 chicken thigh fillets diced
5-6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-3 carrots peeled and cubed
2 brown onions sliced
extra vegetables as desired (I used some leftover enoki mushrooms for added texture)

Cooking Instructions:

1) Peel and cube the potatoes and carrots. Cut the skin off the chicken thigh fillets and cut into cube sized pieces. Cut any other vegetables you would like to add (I cut the ends of some leftover enoki mushrooms).

2) Add a lug of olive oil to a large heated saucepan and brown chicken and onion.

3) Once the chicken and onion are nicely browned, I then add 6 cups of hot water to the pan and boil the chicken for about 15 minutes. This ensures the chicken is stewed for a short time creating a much more tender result.

4) Make sure you scoop out any chicken/vegetable scum that appears on the surface of the boiling water. The Japanese are very attentative to this process and believe it can make or break a dish. I must agree.

5) Add all of the diced veggies to the boiling water and boil for a further 30 mins. At the end of about 20 minutes you will need to add another 2-3 cups water (to maintain the original 6 cups). Be careful when adding water, as if you add too much the result will be a very runny flavoursome curry. Try and keep a consistent 6 cups in the pan. (During the 30 mins wait time, you could put on your rice to cook at the same time).

6) At the end of the 30 mins or so, turn the heat off, break up the curry sauce mix and add it all to the pot. Stir well to dissolve the sauce and then turn the heat back on (medium heat) and simmer slowly for 5 mins.

7) DEKIAGARI -DESU! (It's ready!)

All you need to do now is serve your curry with some rice. This is a really popular dish with my 3 year old and family and friends alike. Not overly gourmet, but hearty and warming, and unusally Japanese. I highly recommend it.

that's all for today!