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Old 12-25-2018, 12:51 PM   #1
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Japanese Curry

I made some Japanese curry the other night, using S&B medium hot Golden Curry roux. All I had on hand was onion, baby carrots, and red garnet sweet potatoes. I simmered the veggies just a little too long; the carrots were soft, but not mushy, but the sweet potato completely disappeared. That wasnít my intent, but the end result was was delicious!

I got to thinking that the roux couldnít be all that difficult to make, but when I googled recipes for it, most all of them involved several steps and whole spices and seeds that I donít normally keep on hand. Not a PITA, really, but less convenient than I care for when I get the urge for kare raisu. So, for the first time, I looked at the ingredient list on the box.

I was most pleasantly surprised! There were only four ingredients that were chemical-sounding: malic acid, MSG, disodium something and disodium something else. Turns out that none of these ingredients are carcinogenic, poisonous, or likely to cause any serious side effects (Chinese restaurant syndrome has been proven to be an urban myth). Malic acid occurs naturally in pears and apples, and the disodium whatevers are flavor enhancers that add umami. Actually, the only ingredient that was questionable is palm oil, which isnít one of the ďgoodĒ oils, Iíve heard.

Japanese curry roux has become readily available in the States. It can be found in the ďAsianĒ or intíl aisle in many supermarkets and is conveniently packaged in little squares that allow you to make exactly the amount you want, even just a single serving. You can wrap the shelf-stable leftover squares in plastic wrap, and theyíll keep for a long time. They come in varying degrees of spiciness from mild to super hot. And itís not very expensive at all!

Iím gonna call commercial Japanese curry roux a big win! Iím waiting for Indian versions!

Oh, and one hack: squeeze about a tblsp of Kewpie mayo into a small bowl and temper it with the hot broth before you add the curry squares, then add it after the roux has completely dissolved. It makes the curry smoother and creamier. Super good!

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Old 12-25-2018, 01:16 PM   #2
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Cooks Illustrated determined that it was just as good to use Thai Kitchen curry pastes as it was to hunt down the ingredients and make it yourself.

It's illegal to put poisonous chemicals in food. Regarding carcinogenicity, the dose makes the poison. Don't eat 2,500 bowls a day of Rice-a-Roni with BHT and you'll be fine

You'd be surprised by the number of chemicals in food Just because we don't know the definition of a word doesn't mean it's bad, as you found.
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Old 12-25-2018, 04:56 PM   #3
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I buy boxes of S&B Golden Curry roux when on sale .... around $2.50 ea. Really good stuff, I like the extra hot mix.
That and a bag of fukujin-zuke.
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Old 12-25-2018, 06:28 PM   #4
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Some of the premade ones in heat and eat packs from Japan are good.

This is page has some good info on making your own. https://www.seriouseats.com/2018/01/...rry-thats.html
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Old 12-25-2018, 08:50 PM   #5
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I take those pre-made, boil bag curries when I go backpacking and pour over instant udon.
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Old 12-25-2018, 11:47 PM   #6
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Though I never used their roux, S&B used to be my favorite curry powder, which seemed strange to me, having been made in Japan. I bought that for many years (until I started making it myself), and compared it to many, but kept going back to it.

I don't have any experience with the packaged roux, but, despite what ATK says about packaged Thai curry paste being as good as homemade, nothing could be further from the truth! A friend, who got hooked on Thai food with me in the beginning, (we experimented with many curry paste recipes, as well as different chili peppers, garlic varieties, brands of shrimp paste and fish sauce, types of coriander seed, and probably other things that ATK didn't even bother with) moved away, and didn't have the ingredients available where he moved to (before it was all online!). He eventually found some Madras (one of the brands with best reviews) curry paste, which he said was "OK, but never the same as what we used to make." Where he lives now, he is back to making the curry, and his older daughter helps him now, and she used to hate it!
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Old 12-26-2018, 01:10 AM   #7
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Until I read this, I had no idea that S&B was Japanese curry. I've made it a few times and thought it was just "meh". Not all that great, but not bad. Oddly enough, I looked it up and found that Japanese curries are supposed to be sort of middle-of-the-road; no oustanding spice taste.

I work everyday with a few Indian, Bengalese, and Thai immigrants, and tbey have all said that while their families love the convenience of pastes, cubes, and powders, they all say that it's just not as good as doing it from scratch. I guess there really are good shortcuts, but scratch made food is always better.
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Old 12-26-2018, 02:17 AM   #8
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BuckyTom wrote:
Quote:
I guess there really are good shortcuts, but scratch made food is always better.
For most things, I’d have to agree, BuckyTom. But Japanese curry has a very distinctive flavor that isn’t easily replicated. I’ve tried, with only very limited success.
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:22 AM   #9
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Japanese Curry

Although the instant curry mixes are good, whether S&B or the House Vermont brands, I like J curries from local curry joints. There are a couple of J curry franchises in these parts which are very good.
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Old 12-26-2018, 02:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperhead212 View Post
Though I never used their roux, S&B used to be my favorite curry powder, which seemed strange to me, having been made in Japan. I bought that for many years (until I started making it myself), and compared it to many, but kept going back to it.

I don't have any experience with the packaged roux, but, despite what ATK says about packaged Thai curry paste being as good as homemade, nothing could be further from the truth! A friend, who got hooked on Thai food with me in the beginning, (we experimented with many curry paste recipes, as well as different chili peppers, garlic varieties, brands of shrimp paste and fish sauce, types of coriander seed, and probably other things that ATK didn't even bother with) moved away, and didn't have the ingredients available where he moved to (before it was all online!). He eventually found some Madras (one of the brands with best reviews) curry paste, which he said was "OK, but never the same as what we used to make." Where he lives now, he is back to making the curry, and his older daughter helps him now, and she used to hate it!
I was remembering this wrong. The book I have - The Best International Recipe - was published in 2007, when it was more difficult in many places to get Thai ingredients like lemongrass, galangal and makrut (kaffir) lime leaves, and especially shrimp paste. If you don't have an Asian grocery nearby, this can be almost impossible to find (remember the book was written before Amazon had been widely adopted).

It was actually Thai chicken soup where they were trying to substitute more easily available lemon zest, ginger, etc. But it didn't taste right, so they tried curry paste. They only used it for the soup. In the curry recipes, they found that ginger and lime juice approximated galangal. Even now, pea eggplant breadfruit, young jackfruit, etc., are difficult to find.

So - sorry, I misspoke
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Old 12-26-2018, 05:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I was remembering this wrong. The book I have - The Best International Recipe - was published in 2007, when it was more difficult in many places to get Thai ingredients like lemongrass, galangal and makrut (kaffir) lime leaves, and especially shrimp paste. If you don't have an Asian grocery nearby, this can be almost impossible to find (remember the book was written before Amazon had been widely adopted).

It was actually Thai chicken soup where they were trying to substitute more easily available lemon zest, ginger, etc. But it didn't taste right, so they tried curry paste. They only used it for the soup. In the curry recipes, they found that ginger and lime juice approximated galangal. Even now, pea eggplant breadfruit, young jackfruit, etc., are difficult to find.

So - sorry, I misspoke
I remember them doing several things attempting to substitute for hard to find ingredients, and I figured it was an article from even longer ago, that you were remembering. I remember an article on Thai curries by ATK, which was good, though they had an unusual suggestion for the curry paste - it used all fresh red peppers, instead of dried. Didn't taste right, when I tried it once, but still better than canned.

Funny you should mention pea eggplants. I grew those twice, each time producing about 40 one recipe (about 2/3c) batches on just one tree! I freeze them in foodsaver packs; when I run out, I'll grow another one. Nothing like those in Thai curry!
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:17 PM   #12
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Sorry JJ, I'm late to this party as well, but I saw this on
some Social Media site and wanted to share this with you:

https://www.justonecookbook.com/how-to-make-curry-roux/

Japanese-Style Curry is extremely popular in Hawaii,
you can find a curry dish in just about any restaurant, even the "Fast Food" joints. My fav being Rainbow Drive-In and Zippy's

I saw on Zippy's FB feed the other day Katsu Shrimp Curry
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Old 01-20-2019, 02:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaneohegirlinaz View Post
Sorry JJ, I'm late to this party as well, but I saw this on
some Social Media site and wanted to share this with you:

https://www.justonecookbook.com/how-to-make-curry-roux/

Japanese-Style Curry is extremely popular in Hawaii,
you can find a curry dish in just about any restaurant, even the "Fast Food" joints. My fav being Rainbow Drive-In and Zippy's

I saw on Zippy's FB feed the other day Katsu Shrimp Curry
Thanks Kgirl, I’ll have to give that a try!
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