If "Countries where people eat curry" were a Family Feud question, I'm guessing the top responses would be ("Survey said!") India, Britain, and maybe Thailand. Not many would guess that curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan, where most people eat it at least once per week.
Introduced by the Brits in the late 19th century, curry in Japan is typically made with meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions, and served with sticky short-grain rice (the dish is called "curry rice"). It's also thicker, sweeter, and milder than its Indian counterpart. Best of all, it's ridiculously easy to make using prepared Japanese curry "roux," which can be found in any Asian supermarket -- S&B Golden Curry is the most popular brand in North America.
In need of a quick and easy, but also warming and delicious dinner last week, I picked up some "Hot" Golden Curry mix (the "hot" is really not that hot, but you can also get mild or medium), veggies, and fried tofu puffs at my local Asian grocery and got to work. The secret to a great Japanese curry, I find, is lots of onion, slowly cooked until golden, and a couple cloves of garlic. This really deepens the flavour of the sauce. I've also heard that adding a grated apple works well, but I haven't yet tried that tack. This recipe is a great one to experiment with because it's really hard to go wrong -- throw in your favourite ingredients and come up with your own perfect curry rice! Here's mine:
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 large yellow cooking onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices on the diagonal
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 inch slices on the diagonal
2 cups fried tofu puffs
3 squares S&B "Hot" Golden Curry roux
2 and 1/4 cup water
1. Heat olive oil in a deep frying pan or pot. Add onion and salt and saute over medium-low heat until translucent and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, and celery, and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2. Add water, roux, and tofu to the pan. Bring to a simmer and stir until roux dissolves. Cover and let stew simmer over low heat until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add a little more water if your sauce is too thick. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
3. Serve curry next to sticky short-grain rice. Grab a spoon and dig in!