I first had Japanese curry in Hawaii. I was up late one evening having had a bit to drink and I got the munchies. I headed out of my hotel to one of Waikiki’s curry houses. I ordered a chicken curry to-go and headed back to my hotel. Once there and settled, I tucked into it and it was delicious. Hot, rich, flavorful and with plenty of gravy for the rice that accompanied it. YUM!
Japanese curry while familiar tasting definitely has its own thing going on. Much the way Thai, Indian and Chinese curries are all familiar yet uniquely different. The version I had could be categorized as a little milder compared to an Indian curry, but with a host of other pleasant things going on. It has a certain “silkiness” I guess. Anyway, it was the perfect thing to stave off my late-night hunger and any hangover or headache that could have come along because of all the wine. I slept like a baby and left Oahu for Kauai the next morning. Distractions and travel plans soon swept the sweet memory of Japanese curry from my mind.
Then one day several years later I was talking to my dad about Japanese food, (he was a Marine stationed in Japan in the late 50’s). When I asked him what the best thing he ever had there was, he said that every week he would go to a local restaurant and get curry. “Swoosh” came my own memory and I told him about it and we agreed it must have been the same kind of curry. Memory reloaded and enthusiasm piqued, off I went to the internet to find out how to make my own Japanese Curry.
In my initial research, I found out that unlike Indian curry powder and Thai curry paste the Japanese produce their curries in a block. I also found out that there are no recipes to make your own curry blocks. Rather, everyone buys their blocks from a few manufacturers. A little more research and I found that the S&B company of Tokyo, Japan produced the kind of blocks I was looking for. Though if anyone knows of a recipe for preparing your own blocks please let me know! I like making most things from scratch if I can.
I soon sourced the S&B curry blocks from a local Japanese and Korean market and my love for Japanese curry was renewed. It is a very easy curry to make, especially if you’re in a hurry. Even people who don’t usually care for curry tend to enjoy it. You can even tell them it’s “stew” to start them off. Below you’ll find the recipe I prepared for my family tonight. I’ve also listed an online source so you can purchase your own blocks if need be.
Japanese Golden Curry with Carrots and Pistachios
2 lbs. boneless chicken breast (cut into bite-sized cubes)
1 lb. onions (halved and then sliced thin)
2 carrots (halved and then cut into 1/2″ pieces)
1/3 cup of pistachios (shelled)
2 TBS peanut oil
2-1/2 cups of water
3.5 ozs. S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix (I use mild but also available in medium or hot)
In a large skillet over a high flame, add the peanut oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the chicken, onions, carrots and pistachios and cook until onions begin to brown.
Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Break up the S&B Golden curry block and add it to the simmering water. Stir the curry to help dissolve the block. Simmer for 5 minutes and allow mix to thicken.
Serve over your favorite rice, (I use steamed basmati).
Like many similar dishes, this is even better the second day.Water