Home-made Japanese Curry


My house is redolent with the scent of Japanese curry. It has been so for days: I prepared Hiroko Shimbo’s recipe for karei risu from scratch, and it’s a long-cooking stew made with fresh ingredients that make your mouth water long before dinner-time. It thickens by reduction rather than addition of flour or starch to the liquid so the flavors are blended, complex, and intense. But even with a very nice ventilating fan, the odor is durable.

Kurimu Shitu (cream stew): Ready to eat Japanese food

If you visit Hokkaido, the largest northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago, try a regional specialty: cream stew! But this yoshoku dish made with chicken, pork, or seafood, and onions, carrots, and potatoes is popular all over Japan. It is sometimes called white stew (白い野菜の白いシチュ) because the sauce is made with milk and the secret ingredient (cream cheese) thickened with a roux. Kurimu shitu is the Japanized English word for ‘cream stew’ (say each word fast: ku-ri-mu shi-tu).

Mentaiko Spaghetti: wafuu supagetti


wafu-spaghetti-8910Some time in the ’70s people began to experiment with Japanese flavors. Essentially, things that are usually eaten with white rice were mixed into or put on top of spaghetti. Until recently, wafuu pasuta or wafuu supagetti was unknown in the West, and not seen on menus of Japanese restaurants frequented by tourists. I read in many blogs that it’s popular in homes and small cafés (kissaten) and as Japanese food has become popular in the U.S. we can now enjoy some very interesting flavor combinations.

Hiroko’s Mom’s and Sister’s Beef Tongue Stew

Back in February, I posted about making a Japanese-style veal-tongue stew. One day, I was browsing Ms. Shimbo’s blog and she mentioned her mother’s beef tongue stew. Of course I had to ask!
I haven’t been doing my usual quota of blog surfing lately, but last week Ms. Shimbo posted a recipe from her mother and sister! I’m looking forward to preparing the recipe soon. And of course I very much thank Ms. Shimbo (and her mother and sister) for this recipe and for their efforts.

Hito Kuchi Tonkatsu: Bite-Sized Pork Cutlets

Bite Sized TonkatsuThis dish is a decorative version of tonkatsu, deep-fried pork cutlet. Tonkatsu (ton=pig, and katsu=cutlet) is a poplular dish that came to Japan through the Dutch influence in the late nineteenth century. Tonkatsu is so popular in Japan that there are even restaurants that serve only tonkatsu and similar items such as kushikatsu (bite-sized fried bits of pork and other things on a skewer).

Chikin Raisu: Stir-Fried Rice and Chicken

chikin raisu Japanese stir-fried rice and chickenWhen I told Mr. Tess that we’d be eating “chikin raisu” he was skeptical. This Japanese dish is made with leftover rice, chicken, and ketchup. Chikin raisu was introduced to Japan at the turn of the 20th century, and though it is a meal without a long tradition, it is “comfort food” which appeals to children of all ages. And you know what? It was really nice, and tasty, and comforting.

Stir-Fried Rice with Curry

Japanese Stir-Fried Curry RiceThis dish is easy enough to make after a day at work and it is delicious. It’s a fine example of Japanese home cooking flavored with the historical influences on the country over the past 150 years. This is the second curry recipe from my project-book and is much simpler. If you have sauce leftover from the recipe in the link above, add about 1/2 cup to this recipe for a richer flavor.