All aboard for a taste of Japanese curry straight from pages of Japanese Soul Cooking(Ten Speed Press, November 2013) by Tadashi Ono of Maison O in New York and Harris Salat of comfort food restaurant Ganso in Brooklyn and The Japanese Food Report...
This is the curry served every Friday aboard the Japanese naval patrol ship Hachijo (see page 50), which we adapted for four, instead of four hundred! We love the curry creativity of Japanese navy cooks. Check out the ingredients in this version: cheese, honey, ketchup, a hit of strong coffee—the last one, we guess, to keep sailors extra alert when the Klaxon blares! When we cooked it up, we were surprised how tasty and complex it came out. The cheese melts into the curry, adding another layer of flavor, and thickening it, too. Add more pork if you like your curry meatier; Japanese cooks usually go lighter on the protein. And don’t forget, navy curry isn’t navy curry without salad on the side and a glass of milk (see page 50).
Serves 4, with leftovers
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into bite-size cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound medium onions (about 3), peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 ounces carrots (about 2 medium carrots), cut rangiri style (see opposite)
5 cups torigara stock (page 25) or water
5 tablespoons curry powder
3 tablespoons tonkatsu sauce, store-bought or homemade (page 62)
2 tablespoons Japanese Worcestershire sauce (see page 234)
1⁄2 teaspoon ichimi togarashi (see page 235), or 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 medium Idaho potatoes (about 2⁄3 pound), peeled, cubed, and placed in bowl of water
1 tablespoon katakuriko (potato starch)
1 tablespoon water
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1⁄2 cup grated mild Cheddar cheese (about
1⁄2 cup brewed black coffee
Steamed rice, for serving
Season the pork with the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Preheat a large pot over high heat. Add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the pork. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, until the exterior of the pork turns white. Add the onions, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
Add the stock to the pot. When the liquid boils, reduce the heat to low and add the curry powder, tonkatsu sauce, Worcestershire sauce, remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ichimi toragarshi, honey, and ketchup. Mix well to combine the seasonings. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.
Add the potatoes to the pot, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. While the curry is simmering, mix together the katakuriko with the water in a small bowl.
Add the Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, coffee, and katakuriko mixture to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes more, mixing occasionally.
Serve with steamed white rice, a side salad (see below), and a glass of milk.
Curry fires up Japanese Soul for Tokyo Thursdays # 276
(*Reprinted with permission from Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Food Photography: Todd Coleman © 2013")