Japanese curry is an interesting phenomenon – traditional Indian curries twisted their way through the British to Japan and beget this now widely popular dish. Usually served over rice (or sometimes noodles) and often called “curry rice” as a result, Japanese curry adds extra sweetness over its predecessors (from a grated apple in this recipe – sometimes raisins are also added) and is thickened with a flavorful roux. I can’t help but love every incarnation of curry, from Thai to Indian to British, and Japanese curry is no exception. Usually made with humble potatoes, carrots, and peas, I like to switch out the potatoes for cauliflower and add in mushrooms and chickpeas, resulting in a variety of flavors and textures, as well as quite a lot of food.
Japanese Curry (adapted from No Recipes)
Yield: 8 – 10 servings
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1″ piece ginger, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
- 1 tsp + 1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala or curry powder
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks or half moons
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 1 apple, peeled and grated
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 Tbsp ketchup*
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce**
- 1 large (28 – 32 ounce) can chickpeas
- 1 lb peas***
- salt, to taste
*Or tomato paste.
**If you can’t eat gluten, make sure you’re using a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce. You could also use tonkatsu here.
***Frozen peas are just fine – actually, peas are one vegetable that is just as good frozen as fresh, and I try to always keep a bag of frozen peas in my freezer.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp coconut oil over medium high heat, and sautee 2 onions, thinly sliced until translucent and starting to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
- Add 1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced, and sautee until they release and then reabsorb their juices, about 10 minutes.
- Add 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced, 1″ piece ginger, minced, 1 jalapeno pepper, minced, and 1 tsp garam masala or curry powder, and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add 2 carrots, cut into chunks or half moons, 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets, 1 apple, peeled and grated, and 4 cups vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer until the carrots and cauliflower are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbsp butter, then whisk in 3 Tbsp flour and 1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala or curry powder to form a roux, and cook, whisking, until the mixture starts to darken, about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 Tbsp ketchup and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, stir together, and cook until it forms a crumbly paste. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the carrots and cauliflowers are done cooking, ladle approximately 2 cups of the veggie stock into the roux, and whisk together until the roux is completely dissolved.
- Pour the roux mixture into the curry vegetables, and simmer.
- Stir in 1 large (28 – 32 ounce) can chickpeas and 1 lb peas, and continue to simmer until the liquid has thickened and the chickpeas and peas are slightly softened.
- Add salt, to taste, and serve.