One of the things I miss very most about living in Japan is the food. You could get any type of food you wanted, any time of day or night (except Mexican. Good Mexican was hard to find there). A great reason to visit Japan, however, is the Japanese food. Ramen (NOT AT ALL the same as 12-cent ramen), tonkatsu, sushi, oh my! But a favorite of many is Japanese-style curry. The largest curry chain (in Japan? In the Tokyo area? I don't know) we frequented was Coco Ichibanya, or Coco's as it is affectionately known, is delicious, amazing Japanese curry, fast-food Japanese-style, and excellent drinking food. (Our favorite location was at the closest train station, which was really handy coming home late from a bar or trip downtown.)
It's impossible to duplicate the deliciousness of Coco's, but making Japanese curry and rice is a task I've taken on and something that I love even if it isn't the same. This is a SUPER versatile dish, depending upon what you like.
Japanese Curry and Rice
Makes about 4-6 servings, depending upon how much you devour.
-Vegetables (common: spinach, onions, garlic, potatoes (any variety), carrots, parsnips, corn, squash, celery, tomatoes... really anything you like, probably about 1 chopped cup of each, more the fewer veggies you choose)
-Protein (pork, chicken, beef (breaded, fried, however you like), tofu, or skip it)
-Curry roux (S&B Golden Curry Sauce or similar)*
-2-3 cups of some sort of stock or broth (or just water, really), to your desired thickness (we like it soupy but not watery)
-White, sticky rice (about 2 cups)
-Jack cheese (if desired)
-Chop vegetables into similarly-sized cubes or pieces (not the corn or the spinach of course, but the choppable veggies). Saute until beginning to soften.
-Meanwhile cook meat to your liking.
-Combine vegetables and meat, break apart roux and add it to the mixture, and add broth/stock/water.
-Cook over medium-low at a simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often, until roux is fully broken apart and everything is easily mixed together.**
-Meanwhile, cook white, sticky rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop.
-Serve curry over rice, top with cheese, and eat with a big spoon.
The only caveat to making this delicious meal is that your whole home will smell like curry. Until the next day. But you guys, it's worth it.
*In my area I have to go to Walmart to find this, which seems ridiculous. But at a regular, well-stocked grocery store, a commissary (if you have access to a military base), or international store you shouldn't have trouble finding it.
**Once I threw everything into a slow cooker, went home at lunch and stirred it, and it cooked on low all day and was delicious.
Do you have a favorite international food?