Friday, October 30, 2009

Curry part 2 - Japanese curry

It may be a lowly, fast-food dish in Japan, often prepared from a sauce mix. Yet Japanese curry is one of my favorite Japanese dishes -- and one of my favorite curries.

Its personality differs from the curries of India, Pakistan, and Malaysia. The best version I have found is at Kubo's Cafe in the Bellaire Chinatown.

Is it curry or is it roux?

The word "curry" is confusing. In Japan, there is a distinction between curry sauce and roux. The roux is the base and is often as simple as curry powder and flour cooked in oil. The roux is then used to make a curry sauce which includes other, chunkier, ingredients like meat or potatoes.

Yet every version of Japanese "curry rice" that I ordered in the U.S. serves only the roux. Other ingredients -- rice, pickled vegetables and someimes a side protein -- are served on the side. At Kubo's, you can order just curry rice, or curry sauce with beef, chicken, pork katsu, or shrimp tempura.

Curry with Japanese personality

Curry came to the Japanese via the Europeans, not from India. So you might look at Japanese curry as a dumbed-down, milder version of an Indian curry that appeals to an audience afraid of too much spice.

But that is not how I look at it. Sure, the personality of Japanese curry couldn't be more different from the Malaysian dry curry I described in part 1. But the personality seems inherently Japanese.

The texture is smooth and delicate, almost creamy. There are no lumps. The roux is, more than anything else, consistent.

The flavors are beefy, mustardy, and slightly spicy. Yet no one flavor stands out. And every bite tastes exactly the same.

The flavor is unified, and distinctive. If you did a blindfolded tasting of curries from 10 countries, the Japanese version would be easy to identify.

This curry makes sense in light of the Japanese aesthetic, which values simplicity and an almost obsessive pursuit of perfection.

Why do I like it so much?

I should prefer the intense spice, variety, and earthy grittiness of the Malaysian curry. But something about Japanese curry is more comforting, almost addictive.

Perhaps it is the texture, almost exactly like my East Texan grandmother's cream gravy. But it also has something to do with that distinctive Japanese curry flavor.

Unfortunately, Japanese curry rice has been hard to find in Houston. Most Japanese restaurants don't serve it -- since it isn't sushi. I became addicted to it 18 years ago in Boston, and have had a hard time finding it here ever since. Fortunately, Kubo's Cafe now serves 6 varieties, all with that same roux.

If you like some heat, like I do, make sure you get one of the small red tubes containing Japanese crushed pepper. Ten or so dashes of pepper it just as hot as a curry from India or Pakistan.

And nothing beats a spicy, smooth gravy.

Next: Thai Curry

39 comments:

cojonesajones said...

Sushi Jin also offers a great Japanese Curry. I recently had it with some of the biggest fried shrimp I've ever seen.

14670 Memorial Dr

cb said...

you should try picking up the S&B Golden Curry mix. They have them in different spice levels as well.

It's easy and delicious. I usually add carrots and potatoes to the mix and serve it with chicken katsu and pickled ginger. DELISH!

ChristopherAnn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChristopherAnn said...

Great topic.

I, too, love curries and am eagerly awaiting your next installment.

Daniel said...

hey, you should check out my blog
http://yovia.com/blogs/naturalingredients/

John said...

The curry with pork katsu at Genji is one of the best versions in Houston.

imported products said...

I am a fun really of this curry thing. Its an asian delicacy.

Houston Divorce Attorney said...

Looks like a great dish. Thanks for introducing the restaurant.

Arizona foreclosures said...

Hello, i am glad to read the whole content of this blog and am very excited and happy to say that the webmaster has done a very good job here to put all the information content and information at one place. Personal Injury Attorney Houston

Free Credit Score said...

Looks yummy but I still prefer Indian curry with some coconut milk. The aroma is different :)

Isaias valencia said...

I have stumbled upon your blog and found it to be very useful! Many thanks for this post and hope you have a good one, Cheers! Ramji Law Firm, Houston injury attorney specializing in Houston personal injury attorney services.

Isaias valencia said...

Austin area defense attorney. I am an Austin Criminal Attorney and Austin DWI/DUI Attorney. I also practice all other areas of criminal defense work including charges of drugs, theft, assault, fraud. Criminal Attorney In Austin

gift to pakistan said...

Interesting post and thanks for sharing. Some things in here I have not thought about before. Thanks for making such a cool post.

rnd technologies said...

Your blog is very nice.

Infrared security cameras said...

Your site having consideration efficacious so by reading this site everyone getting a huge lesson that’s by I am crazy for this site ……….

Military Challenge Coins said...

It is really awesome i like the curry very much.

intraday trading tips said...

I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us nice info. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post

Villas in Tuscany said...

I like the way you said that The word "curry" is confusing. In Japan, there is a distinction between curry sauce and Roux. The Roux is the base and is often as simple as curry powder and flour cooked in oil. The Roux is then used to make a curry sauce which includes other, chunkier, ingredients like meat or potatoes.

Villas for Rent in Italy said...

There is no doubt that you did super job.Just keep it up and share more posts like it.Thanks

intraday trading tips said...

Very good written information. It will be helpful to anyone who utilizes it, as well as me. Keep up the good work – looking forward to more posts.

rnd technologies said...

Nice blog

Vegetarian omega 3 dha supplement said...

unimaginable and well decorated site theme. so its too good…. And first Impression of your site is so much effective that’s by I am really thanks full for sharing these ideas……….

Espana la lucha contra el envejecimiento productos cosm├ęticos said...

your share unpredictable ideas which are very important for us and I want to discuss it with our friends…...

online christmas gift shop for Pakistan said...

I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect!

send a Christmas flower

Gallipoli Tour said...

Wonderful collection of words in this blog post. I am very impressed this post. Thanks for to sharing this valuable blog.

business analyst jobs said...

I like this blog very much so much excellent information.

business analyst jobs said...

I have noticed many new facts for me. Thanks a lot for sharing this useful and attractive information and I will be waiting for other interesting posts from you in the nearest future.keep it up.

Dock Bumpers said...

Very nice and impressive words for this article I will always searching for this atterective words.thanks for sharing!!!!!!

option tips said...

I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us nice info. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post

intraday trading tips said...

I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us nice info. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post

Hundai gps navigation said...

you provide such a good theme and this is in well formed or characterization is too good so it seems that it getting great traffic.it reveals that everyone like this site….

intraday trading tips said...

Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include approximately all significant infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.

intraday tips said...

Thanks for taking the time to write down this article. It’s been very useful. It could not have come at a better time for me!

Espana la lucha contra el envejecimiento productos cosm├ęticos said...

By reading this site I am getting more new concept which are very helpful for doing blog that’s by this site increases knowledge about blog post…..

Wholesale Car Vaccum Cleaner said...

Nice blog post ! I always search for such a nice article like this, and admire the content you written & i will recommend this post.

mcx tips said...

I actually added your blog to my favorites and will look forward for more updates. Great Job, Keep it up..

intraday tips said...

Really i am impressed from this post....the person who created this post is a genius and knows how to keepthe readers connected. Thanks for sharing this with us. I found it informative and interesting. Looking forward for more updates.

EQUITY TIPS said...

Thanks so much for this. This is awesome post I ever seen on internet. This is rare to find that’s why difficult to understand. Anyway, you are definitely someone that has something to say that people need to hear. Keep up the good work.

stock futures tips said...

Become familiar with the futures. On the NASDAQ, futures do play an important role as the stocks usually move upward or downward with the futures. For example, you should never short a stock if the futures are in a strong upward trend.