Recipe: Japanese Beef Curry with Rice (ビーフカレーライス)

What is Japanese curry? See my previous post.

This recipe’s ingredients are mostly all used in an American or European kitchen. The ones that are not often used are Japanese curry powder, garam masala, Japanese worchester and tonkatsu sauces, short grain rice (Japanese or calrose), and the fukujinzuke used as a garnish. I have explained a few of them in earlier posts, and the rest explained below.

Garam masala:
This is an Indian spice blend. I use it for Indian cooking. If you are interested in Indian cooking, you can buy it at an Indian grocery store. If you are already experienced in Indian cooking, just use the garam masala you use for Indian food. Here is a recipe for homemade garam masala I found, if you are interested in making it yourself. If you are not interested in Indian cooking, the garam masala is optional.

Japanese worchestershire (ウスターソース – usutā sōsu – ooss tah sohss) and tonkatsu sauce (中濃ソース – chūnō sōsu – choo noh sohss) are made by the company Bulldog. The sauces are made of fruits and vegetables. For Japanese curry, you have the choice of using only one, or using both.

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The pickle you need is called fukujinzuke (福神漬け – fkoo jeen zkeh). It’s made from seven kinds of chopped up vegetables, pickled in a brine with soy sauce and rice vinegar. You can find it at Japanese grocery stores. You can also make it yourself; here is a good recipe I found.

On to the recipe!

Japanese Beef Curry with Rice (ビーフカレーライス – bīfu karē raisu – beef kah-day daiss [rhymes with “nice”]; “beef curry rice”)

The ingredients and directions are split so it is not too confusing.

This recipe was created by me using these two recipes as a guide:
This one and this other one. Through trial and error, testing the recipe several times, I have created this recipe below.

This recipe takes around 5 hours to make. It is not a regular weeknight meal!

450 to 500 grams (1 lb to 1.1 lb) beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt
freshly ground black pepper
all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cooking oil

1. Sprinkle both sides of beef with salt and pepper, then coat with flour.
2. Heat a pan, and add oil. Brown beef on all sides over high heat. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan – you can do two batches. When all sides brown, transfer to a plate and set aside.

4 to 6 very large onions, thinly sliced (this seems like WAY TOO MUCH and barely fits in my Dutch oven. After an hour of caramelization, they shrink to a very small amount!!)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt

3. Heat a Dutch oven with butter until melted.
4. Add onions and sprinkle salt. Stir if possible. Cook over medium heat for an hour or more. Stir every once a while, especially once they start to brown. When the onions are brown and caramelized (if you’ve ever made French soupe à l’oignon, you know how to tell), proceed to the next step.

1 tbsp garlic paste (put garlic in a garlic crusher)
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Japanese curry powder

5. Add garlic and ginger, cook 5 minutes, stir once a while.
6. Add ketchup and curry powder, combine well.

1 cup red wine (Don’t worry, children can eat this dish too. The alchohol will all evaporate.)
1 can (16 oz size) crushed tomatoes
1 quart (4 cups) beef stock

7. Add the beef, turn heat to high and add red wine. Bring to a boil, stir.
8. Add tomatoes and beef stock- you may not need all of the beef stock if your Dutch oven cannot fit all of it- in that case, add the remainder when simmering and it reduces.
9. Bring to a boil. Use a foam skimming tool to remove all of the foam.

1 or 2 bay leaves, torn a little but keep whole
1 star anise
1 apple, pureed
1 tbsp honey

10. When no more foam, add the above and bring to a boil again. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, uncovered.

3-4 large carrots

11. Peel carrots if you want, then cut rangiri (look up on Google for some pictures).
12. Add to the stew and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered.

TIP: Wash your rice and put in rice cooker while simmering carrots. If rice cooker takes 30 minutes to cook rice (like the Aroma brand), press cook right before step 14. If rice cooker takes 1 hour to cook rice, wash it when simmering beef in step 10, and press cook right before step 11.

3-4 potatoes

14. Peel potatoes if you wish. Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes.
TIP: Do NOT cut the potatoes ahead of time. They will brown. Do NOT try to soak in water. They become crunchy and raw tasting after simmering for a whole hour! I learned the hard way!!!
15. Add to the stew and simmer 20 more minutes, uncovered; they should be very soft.

3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp Japanese curry powder

16. While simmering potatoes, prepare the roux (pronounced “roo”). A roux is a cooked mixture of butter and flour. In a small pan, add butter. Melt over medium heat.
17. Add flour, stir well. Stir constantly over medium heat to medium-low heat until light brown color.
18. Turn off heat, stir in curry powder quickly. It will become very fragrant.
19. Ladle one ladleful of the liquid from the stew into the roux, stir well; the roux will come off the sides of the pan and form one lump.
20. Add to the stew through a mesh strainer. This way, no lumps. Combine very well, stir the stew very well.

2 tbsp milk, cream, or yogurt
1/2 tbsp Japanese worchestershire sauce AND/OR 1 tbsp tonkatsu sauce
1/2 to 1 tbsp garam masala, to taste (optional)
1/2 to 1 cup frozen green peas
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

21. Add the above. Mix well and simmer 5 minutes, uncovered.

TIP: Your rice should be done during this time. If it is still cooking, continue simmering until rice is done cooking.

6-8 servings cooked short grain rice (Japanese or calrose)
minced parsley or dried parsley flakes
fukujinzuke

22. Put one portion of rice on each plate. Ladle curry around it. Sprinkle parsley, put the fukujinzuke somewhere on the plate.
23. Enjoy!

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The next day, the curry becomes very thick, so you can serve it as a donburi; put rice in a bowl and top rice with curry, fukujinzuke, and parsley.

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