Thursday, August 07, 2008

Japanese Curry

Two lunches again today, one for my son and one for my husband. This time, surprisingly, they both chose the same thing.

Japanese Curry is a dish my aunt introduced me to and I haven't been able to stop dreaming about it ever since. She cooks potatoes and carrots in water until tender (I added peas at the end) then throws in a bar of S&B Golden Curry. The warm, rich curry is served over white sticky rice, making it something of a Japanese Comfort Food.

My aunt mentioned that she usually has to add a lot more water than the package calls for, and I agree. I started with about 2 cups of water and still had to add more. This curry gets very thick very fast!

I wanted to make sure my husband had enough to eat, so I packed his rice and curry in separate containers in our 2-tier To-Go Ware. An orange in one of my fruit cozies is alongside.

I packed shmoo's curry and rice together in a smaller Thermos, and he chose an apple instead of an orange.

Verdict: From hubby: "Lunch was excellent. There was more than I could eat so I will save the leftovers for later. The curry was drier than I usually like it but the flavor was very good. The orange looked very cozy wrapped up in its little comforter. All it needed to be perfect was a piece of fresh-baked naan. Four stars." Hmm, Japanese naan?

From shmoo: "That curry was good! Is there any more?" Four stars.

36 comments:

anonymous said...

I had (non-vegan) Japanese curry yesterday! It was SO GOOD. It's by far my favorite food, and it's so easy to make by yourself! Maybe you should try some fried tofu for the katsu-curry crunchiness.

Christina Whiskhands said...

Shmoo's review owns.

Maybe something like this could go with curry?: http://tinyurl.com/6hwylp

Anahita Khanoom said...

looks delicious, i love your blog and read it on regular basis, i live in Australia so we have different brands for things but overall I think you are a domestic goddess, I sit here in my office every day at lunch and dream of your lunches.... I am a vegan but I usually eat the same foods, lots of fruits and vegies, and I totally agree with what you wrote about soy products.. I am from persian descent and we do have lots of beautiful plant based foods and they dont contain any soy.
thank you so much for your blog

steph said...

Hmm. I've seen the S&B curry, but haven't had the guts to try it. Now I think I will... and I just happen to have cooked potatoes and carrots in the fridge from last night's dinner. Mmmm, curry.

HipFlyGirl said...

My mother who is Korean used to make S&B "curry rice" all the time. She used potatoes, carrots, and onions. The old version used to contain beef fat *gasp*. It was served with short grain rice. The dish is very hearty and filling.
Thanks for brining back the memories.

Karen said...

Wonderful! I have a great homemade naan recipe if you want it. Costs hardly anything makes lots of naan and easy too!

Karen said...

Oh--and which do you use? Mild, Medium, HOT???
Thanks again!
Karen

Heather said...

Per the link to Amazon: there seem to be a lot of different types of the S&B curry. Which is the right one?

Jennifershmoo said...

Well, we use mild, which is what I would recommend if you don't like spicy foods or want to serve it to children. But it depends on your taste -- mild, medium, or hot.

Bianca said...

I've never tried those curry bars, but I should try. This looks delicious!

* spryte said...

I'm very familiar with the S&B Golden Curry - my ex-boyfriend is a big fan of Japanese food and made this curry all the time. He wasn't a vegetarian but it was a dish that was easy to make veggie - you just don't add meat (which, thankfully, he was always fine with after we met!). In addition to potatoes and carrots, we would also add yellow onion and celery (you have to cut the celery in thick slices so it doesn't get too mushy).

Oh, and to Karen - I am a pretty big wimp when it comes to spiciness, but he did get me to try the medium and it really wasn't that hot - a little more than the medium but certainly not too spicy.

Rachel said...

Can you speak to whether or not this product contains MSG? I have used a bar Japanese curry before. It might have been this one but I can't remember for sure. But I do remember being disappointed to read MSG on the label. I remember it being quite tasty.

Does this product contain it and if so, what are your thoughts on MSG?

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Does this product contain it and if so, what are your thoughts on MSG?

Yes, it does contain MSG.

I know that some people say MSG gives them a headache or a bad reaction? But many, many people eat MSG all the time with no bad reaction, right? So I think of it as I would any other food that causes allergic reactions in some people -- since we do not have any bad reaction when we eat it I don't worry about it.

Kim said...

Not a curry fan, but hello adorable little fruit cases! You didn't make those, did you? I wonder where I can get the pattern...

* spryte said...

Kim - she did make them! :) Scroll back to the entry from July 25. One of these days I'll learn knit and will make some myself.

Karen said...

Hi Jennifer,
I went to store and bought S&B golden curry so I could make this recipe. After I got home, I realized it is NOT vegan. S&B has disodium inosinate and guyanalate.. Both are milk-based derivatives... Help! Do you have any info?
Thanks

Jennifershmoo said...

I don't know, I had not heard that. I had looked them both up in Wikipedia and did not find any reference to dairy, just lots of chemical mumbo-jumbo. Since the packaging did not say it contained dairy, it sounded to me as if they were fine, just some kind of weird (but tasty) sodium flavor enhancers.

Obviously they are both highly processed -- not the healthiest thing in the world, but still. I guess it depends on how far you want to take things. My personal attitude is that I could spend a whole lot of time focused on these small amounts of processed ingredients, or I could do my honest best to eat a plant-based diet and if something with a long, hard-to-pronounce name possibly had some animal product in its distant past in such a small amount that it does not require an allergy mention on the package, I won't worry about it. I chose the latter. If it bothers you, though, donate it to the food bank.

Karen said...

Thanks for checking into it. I have a severe allergy to dairy (remember "Hitch" and shellfish?) so I have to be SUPER careful. I remember that PETA once said that those ingredients could be animal based. But I agree with your opinion regarding, "How far you want to take things." Most other miniscule quantities don't bother me--but this I must be careful with.
Thanks for your AWESOME blog! I look forward to it every day.

geekbearinggifts said...

Hi, Jennifer! I've been using S&B Oriental Curry Powder for years, and we love it. I haven't seen their other products in my local store, but I'll sure keep an eye open for them now. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

Kathi said...

Aloha! I love your blog and your posts have inspired me to pack healthier meals for my workdays.

My mother is from Japan and I have grown up with the curry from S&B and also, the House brand curry. I have learned a trick from mother that adds a bit of depth and extra flavor to the curry dishes...grate a peeled apple into the pot after you have added the curry spice. The amount of apple depends on how much curry you've made. Yummmm...

The Foodening said...

I'm in Japan at the moment and all of the curry roux have beef, chicken or pork extract in them... sadly. Another "secret" tip is to add ketchup (sounds gross tastes great) towards the end. I prefer to ass chocolate, it makes it so creamy and good!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

As I do have a very strong allergic reaction to msg, I chose not to buy the S&B curry sauce mix, but I bought the S&B Oriental curry powder instead. Has anyone tried them both? Do they have the same flavor? Or am I getting something completely different in the powder?

HipFlyGirl said...

S&B golden curry contains disodium guanylate.Is that a byproduct of fish or sea vegetable. I was just wondering if that ingredient is vegan.

alien said...

MSG normally bothers me, but in curry it does not.
Most of the packaging in the US is clear on the ingredients, although filled with chemical names of various enhancers and preservative.

Many curry bars have meat additives in them, so really read the labels!
The S&B powder is great to have on hand...make a Mild curry for the kids, add powder to yours to make it hotter. Powder is good to add a curry flavor to stirfry veggies, or even a potatoe salad. If you want a thick sauce using just the powder, you'll have to add some thickener like cornstarch, rice flour or something and oil.
I add a peeled and chopped granny smith, something my grandma taught me. Chopped eggplant is also good into curry. Also the curry sauce freezes very well.
We also put the curry sauce over spagetti, udon or ramen noodles. Sometimes using just rice gets boring.

SallyT said...

Just tried the S&B curry and really liked it! There were no objections from the troops either which is quite an achievement around here.

I'd call it a "sometimes food" and just enjoy the ease and flavor occasionally.

Thanks for the tip.

Robyn the Slug said...

Wow did you find S&B curry with no lactose in it! I am lactose intolerant and I can't get the S&B curries here without the milk sugar added as a sweetener. (I'm not sure why they add it as most Japanese folks are just as lactose intolerant as I am!)
I do have a soft spot for this curry as I loved it growing up.

Miss.Valerie said...

oh yum! this recipe seems very simple to make. Though, I always have issues with making rice :( I was wondering if you had ANY recommendations or tips/tricks you use. I was even thinking about investing in a rice cooker/steamer but not sure if what kind/brand to get. I found these http://wize.com/rice-cookers-and-steamers/t738-white-rice on this great website but they look very complex to use!!!

Jennifershmoo said...

I don't have a rice cooker (yet!), but I would recommend one if you have trouble cooking it in a pan on your stove (some stove burners just don't go low enough and the poor rice gets burned). They're also convenient if you like to eat a lot of rice. I hear that Zojirushi is a good brand:

http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/ricecookers/ns_zcc.html

Megz said...

I enjoy your lunch ideas, so much. I’m a vegetarian, not a vegan, but still it helps me with my food choices. I’m in high school, and am going to graduate, but I will still use you recipes. Your so talented, keep up the good work!

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Krista said...

I made some curry last night (potatoes, carrots, cabbage, chickpeas, apples) and here's a trick if you don't/can't eat the S&B curry.

Throw your veggies in a pot and add water to cook. Make a roux in a bowl with oil, flour, and all the curry seasonings you want. I used curry powder, cumin, garlic and onion powders, and turmeric. Oh, and chili sauce.

After veggies are cook take a few ladles of hot veggie water and whisk it into the roux. Then scrape the roux into the veggies and cook until sauce is thick.

Yum yum.

new laptop battery said...

Many curry bars have meat additives in them, so really read the labels!
The S&B powder is great to have on hand...make a Mild curry for the kids, add powder to yours to make it hotter. Powder is good to add a curry flavor to stirfry veggies, or even a potatoe salad. If you want a thick sauce using just the powder, you'll have laptop battery to add some thickener like cornstarch, rice flour or something and oil.

Mimi said...

Wow, that stuff is good! I just picked some up today at our local Asian grocery store. I cooked it with carrots, corn, and asparagus. You definitely need to add more water than the instructions indicate. The only downside is the saltiness. I drank about a gallon of water afterward. Still, I will eat this again and again! Thanks for the information! BTW-your website is fantastic and so original. Congrats!

Frank said...

Ah, I thought this made a good potato curry. Thanks for the confirmation. S&B Golden Curry.

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Unknown said...

Williams-Sonoma has a Japanese Curry Powder-- vegan and with no MSG. I recently bought a bottle on clearance. I haven't used it yet because I had no idea what to do with it. Thanks for the inspiration.