If there’s one thing we all hate, it’s the long story before a recipe. That will not happen here. BEHOLD! The recipe we will be making today!
- Sesame Oil
- 2 regular carrots, chopped into chunks
- 1 medium potato, chopped into chunks
- Half an onion, diced
- Umami spices
- Japanese curry roux
- 1 square of chocolate
- Hot honey, or regular honey and chili powder
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 serving of whatever cooked protein you choose
- In a large pot, heat about 3 tablespoons of sesame oil.
- Once hot, add onions, carrots, and potatoes.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of umami spice and mix generously.
- Once onions brown and become translucent, add about 8 cups of water and bring to boil
- Add the curry roux. This will vary based on brand, but about 2 full large squares is the norm.
- Add square of chocolate and about a tablespoon of hot honey
- Stir generously until curry roux is fully incorporated
- Plate cooked rice on half the plate, and cooked protein on the other half
- Scoop curry and cover the protein
- Eat while nice and hot
So, I never liked curry. This started when I had a job at Pei Wei and thought I just didn’t like their Coconut Curry dish, because I didn’t like coconut. But I then tried Indian curry at several reputably good restaurants and came to the conclusion I just don’t like curry.
This was my life for a long time, and while I often gave it a chance, I eventually just stopped even trying curry at all. That is until Pokemon Sword and Shield. Yeah. I learned to make this dish because of a video game. Sue me.
The minigame was simple, but I knew making Japanese curry rice had to be more complicated in real life. And I never liked curry before, so why would I even try to make it? That thought changed though. Playing the game created a mere-exposure effect and soon I became very curious about the dish.
Eventually, a Japanese curry rice place opened down the street from me. After playing this game so much, I decided to at least try it. And you know what? It was good. It was really good.
Now, to be fair, Japanese curry is different from Indian curry. It tends to be sweeter, made with apple and citrus flavors, but it’s by no means overwhelmingly sweet. It’s still very recognizable as curry. Some types of Japanese curry rice use less or no tumeric, which is a spice I don’t particularly like and its absence likely contributes to my love of this dish.
Eventually, eating the dish at the restaurant was getting to be too much. My partner and I couldn’t spend that kind of money on it so often. But looking online, something that was regularly repeated was that curry rice was really easy to make. In fact, even restaurants often used pre-packaged curry roux.
The most popular brands for the roux are Kokumaro, Vermont Curry, and Java Curry. There is another called Golden Curry that’s not the worst, but man the others are just so much better.
The upside to Golden Curry, is that it’s really easily available. I can find it at my normal grocery store, when I have to do a little work for the others. Even then, my local Asian market has most of the good stuff, and online retailers can deliver the required roux. I recommend trying each, and mix and matching between all of these, as you may find a flavor combination you like.
Lastly, we have the level of spiciness. I personally recommend getting as hot as you can stand or find. I’ve had the spiciest versions of these and felt they were very tolerable, though at this time, I had issues finding spicier versions than what you see in the photo above.
I’ve made this with some fancy ingredients, like nicely made shrimp or some perfectly fried tofu. But I’m also a gremlin who likes to just make this stuff quick, so frozen protein is regularly used as well.
It’s become a regular meal for us here, and the best part is that it makes so frikkin much of it. Leftovers for days and we could honestly always eat it. It’s really easy to mix up the protein and spices so it’s also very versatile.
Some things to keep in mind:
- The curry roux looks like chocolate. Do not bite into it expecting it to taste like it.
- The curry roux smells delicious. Do not bite into it without diluting it with water.
- The recipe makes a lot. You’ll have plenty of leftovers, so make sure you have containers that can store it all.
Let me know if you make it and how your version comes out!
Love you all,
-Ben Acosta, The Author