We had a soup and stew cookoff at our place last night. It went well. Japanese curry is one of my old standbys, but the accepted way of making that dish is to just open a box and go at it. I’ve been altering my own curry a lot compared to the box’s instructions over the years, and when I (finally) found this recipe for a homemade version of the same curry I couldn’t help but make similar modifications.
In the end I only really followed its instructions on how to make the roux, but the linked recipe is excellent. Here are the alterations which I attempted and recommend:
- My Japanese curry cooks as a beef and carrot stew for a few hours, with the roux being added in near the end to minimize burn potential. You don’t have to cook chicken as long to get it tender, but then your stew won’t end up with the delicious flavor you get from stewing beef.
- No potatoes. The only vegetables/fruit in here are orange carrots, yellow onions, and pineapple.
- Sear the beef in butter on all sides before tossing it into the stew pot. This maximizes tastiness and keeps it from getting chewy in there.
- For the roux: less ketchup, more tonkatsu sauce. That stuff’s delicious and does a lot to make this a unique, kind of fruity tasting curry vs. a creamy garam masala stew. I’d recommend skipping ketchup entirely and doubling the tonkatsu sauce, if possible.
- I use yellow onions. Cut the onions very thinly, cooking them in a bit of butter at medium heat. Add a can of crushed pineapple once they’ve gotten started caramelizing, adding water as necessary afterward. Toss them into the stew once it’s gotten a bit mushy looking. I’ve found that letting the curry cool down and reheat once you’ve added the roux improves the texture massively. My goal is to make the onions “dissolve” into the curry. Blending seems to make onions taste horrible; I’ve not figured out why, but it sort of makes sense.
- I double or triple the cayenne. Obviously should be altered for your own taste, but I’ve found that very few people have trouble with the spice, especially since this dish is served on rice.
- Make enough for leftovers. This only gets better after fridging/reheating.
Pumpkin butter in beef curry? Great idea. Go me.
1/4 - 1/8th inch slices of sweet potato, pan fried in olive oil for about 15 minutes, until they’re crisped on the outside and soft on the inside.
Stir fry yellow onions, red and yellow peppers, and chicken in olive oil and barbecue sauce (Famous Dave’s Devil’s Spit, if you’ve got the cojones). + Green onions. Have enough sauce to coat everything, but don’t make it drippy. Avoid burnalating the sauce.
Mix in the sweet potato chips until they have a tasty sheen of sauce on them.
These fried marshmallows are battered and fried in a cocoa-graham cracker breading with chocolate drizzled on top. The marshmallows inside puff up quite dramatically during frying and deflate while cooling, leaving you with a pretty tasty balloon of smoresy goodness.
- Graham crackers
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Canola oil and a deep fryer at 350F (or a pot on medium-high)
- Chocolate (for melting)
- Skewers, or at least a pointy chop stick.
- Crush the graham crackers into a powder. I took one of the two bags in my standard-size graham cracker box. Some chunks are fine, but will probably fall off of the marshmallow while frying.
- Stir in the cocoa powder to taste (the more the better, imo) and an egg, adding milk to achieve the desired consistency. You want something that’s thick enough to compensate for the marshmallow exploding when fried. Otherwise your marshmallow will escape into the oily abyss of the fryer, which is pretty sad.
- Add sugar to taste. Graham crackers are actually pretty sweet already, but sugar will also caramelize in the fryer, which is pretty keen.
- Skewer a marshmallow. I used a cooking chopstick for this, but hopefully you have something slightly better suited for the task. Put the skewered marshmallow onto the batter, rotating it and dropping batter on it with a spatula to cover it completely. Any gaps in batter will result in a marshmallow leak. Avoid that.
- Once your marshmallow’s covered, sprinkle it with some panko for crunch and color and dunk it in the fryer. Spin it around, watching for any punctures. If one occurs it’s not the end of the world; just don’t fry that side any more. They’re done once they’re satisfyingly puffy.
- Melt down your chocolate and drizzle it on top. I made a chocolate sauce with unsweetened baker’s chocolate, cream, and sugar, but it’d probably be easier to just melt a chocolate bar or use chocolate sauce.
- Let it cool for at least a minute or two before eating. They’re good after cooling down entirely, as well. The encased marshmallows somehow retain some of their delightful meltiness at room temperature.
- You just made a fancy looking dessert with a deep fryer. Good for you.
Cheesy balls of sweet potato breaded in panko, with a hint of garlic and spice in the aftertaste. Yeah, you’ll like these. If you do it right they end up with a nearly roasted marshmallow texture.
- Red sweet potatos or yams (the ones that are orange inside)
- Shredded cheddar
- Cajun seasoning (salt, cayenne paprika, garlic powder, onion powder)
- Panko (Japanese breading)
- Italian breadcrumbs (dried oregano + basil and parmesan could also suffice)
- Black pepper
- Canola oil
- Make mashed sweet potatoes. Chop the potatoes and boil them. Mash away with a masher, adding a tiny bit of butter to make your mash smoother. You really don’t need much butter here as these are sweet potatoes and you’ll be deep frying them shortly. I added maybe a teaspoon to four potatoes worth.
- Stir in the cajun seasoning. Shoot for an aftertaste of garlic with a hint of spice.
- Stir in the shredded cheddar. We want this to be pretty cheesy. Add it until you can taste it, but try to keep the sweet potato as your main flavor. I dumped 8 oz into my four potato mash.
- Chill that shit. Fridge it for a half hour or so. This will make the balling/battering steps easier.
- Mix your breading. I did about 1/3 Italian bread crumbs and 2/3 panko.
- Setup three plates: one with flour, one with mixed raw eggs + black pepper, and another with your bread crumbs. This will be your breading assembly line. You’ll probably want two more plates for handling pre and post-frying battered balls.
- Make balls about 1 inch wide and roll them first in the flour, then in the egg, and third in the breading, covering them completely in each, in turn. Don’t worry about making them perfect spheres until they’re completely breaded, as they’re pretty hard to handle until that point. Feel free to make these larger. I had a couple 2-3 inch wide ones and they were freaking delicious, if more difficult to cook.
- Deep fry those suckers. Now, if you have a deep fryer this will be a pretty simple affair. If you don’t, you can just fill a pan with oil and heat it on medium (adjusting later for minimum burnination, ideally) so you can roll-fry the balls in it instead.
- High five yourself, but do not clap. Enjoy.