Hey, I know what this is >>Find Curry RestaurantsIf you say curry in Japan, what comes to mind? Curry is the king of home cooking popular among both children and adults. From elementary school lunches to dinner made by mom and dad, when it's curry night, you're guaranteed to have a meal that makes kids so happy they can practically fly. Curry is also a standard meal for camping-trips in the mountains. Anyone can easily make a lot of delicious curry, so, from the cook's point of view, this ‘convenience' is one of curry's main draws.
Another delicious and distinctly ‘Japanese' way to experience curry is to try ‘curry-pan' or curry bread (found in bakeries and most convenience stores), curry wrapped in dough and then deep-fried.
Japanese style curry is made by boiling cut-up potatoes, carrots, onions and meat (usually beef or pork, but chicken is also common) in a pot; to this stew, curry flavor (usually in the form of a rue purchasable at nearly ever grocery store) is added. Then the curry sauce is served over piping hot white rice. This dish is called, simply, ‘curry rice.'
There are many varieties of curry, from Indian curry and European-style curries to Thai curry and Chinese curry*, so how, exactly, did the prototypical Japanese-style curry come into existence?
What's in Japanese Curry?The standard Japanese curry contains potatoes, onions, carrots and meat. Beef, pork and chicken are the popular meat used in curry. Sometimes, grated apples, honey, and spices are used to add extra flavors to curry. People who are not satisfied eat Katsu-curry which adds Tonkatsu for topping.
Also, two kinds of pickles are available. One is “Fukujinzuke”, a combination of chopped daikon, eggplant, lotus root and cucumber.
The other is “Rakkyo, a Chinese pickle, which is a bit sour so that it can mitigate the spicy of your curry.
You can adjust or ask the level of spicy at some restaurants. So, don't hesitate to ask a waiter.
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Restaurants need props too >>Find Curry Restaurants"First-rate flavor for little to no effort"
While curry is a quick and easy dish to make for oneself, visiting a curry restaurant is a convenient and tasty alternative to cooking which also satisfies all your curry cravings.
It is said that leaving curry sauce to set overnight improves the flavor. While this saying is very well-known in Japan, does any kind of change actually occur? The fact of the matter is that curry left overnight does taste better than curry served right away, though there are different theories as to why, exactly, this is the case.
One theory has to do with the concept that letting the stew sit allows for a more thorough permeation of the curry's flavor to the other ingredients in the stew. In freshly-made curry, the flavor is only in the sauce coating the surface of the ingredients, so the flavor only goes surface-deep. Leaving the curry stew to sit overnight, however allows more time for the flavor to soak deep into the potatoes, making them more flavorful.
Another theory (moving in the opposite direction) involves the idea that flavors from the ingredients permeate the sauce and improve the flavor of the curry itself. This theory says that the heating and reheating process extracts and then dissolves amino acids from the meat and natural sugars from the carrots into the stew, lending the curry sauce more body and flavor.
Whichever theory you prefer, the end result is the same: if the curry is left overnight, the various flavors of the meat and vegetables in the stew and the spices in the curry have more time to mix together, giving the flavors and fragrances in the dish time to come together in deliciously perfect harmony. And curry restaurants know it.
Every region of the world has its own curry, (India, Europe, Thailand, etc) all of which developed independently in conjunction with that region's unique culture. Regional curries differ in terms of appearance and flavor, and the diversity in types of curry can be seen in the diversity of different kinds of curry restaurants in Tokyo today. Even a single region can have several different kinds of curry. For example, there are several types of Southeast Asian curries from the islands of Java and Thailand. These curries are made primarily from a base made of cayenne peppers and coconut milk. However, depending on the type of pepper used, one can make several different kinds of curry, such as red curry, green curry and yellow curry. While these varieties of curry are all a far cry from the ‘typical' Japanese style curry, they're all delicious.
Most local restaurants in Tokyo, especially those serving Japanese-style curry, have devised their own special curry recipes in order to deal with the fierce competition between restaurants in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. As a result, there are a plethora of wonderful restaurants which serve elaborate and deliciously unique curry. So, why don't we start our journey through the curries of Tokyo? What kind of curry do you like?
A History in Curry, Japanese style"The influence of Indian and European curries on Japanese cuisine"
In India there is a five thousand year old medicinal practice called Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, the use of spices in cooking was thought to have medicinal value and to preserve health. It is in this medical tradition where the roots of curry lie. Nearly every household in India had its own set of spices and seasonings which were mixed to taste for cooking. These mixtures of spices are the origins of Indian style curry.
At the beginning of the 19th century, these mixed spices were transported from the then British colony of India back to the British Isles. There, a special blend they called “curry powder” was created along more English tastes. The English company C&B started marketing the newly created ‘curry powder' to the world. Curry powder circulated throughout Europe until it was a normal spice that could be found in the average European household. These are the roots of so-called European curry.
After Commodore Perry arrived with his fleet in 1853 and effectively ended Japan's period of national isolation, a lot of Westerners began to live in the area just outside the city of Yokohama. Naturally, Japan's newest residents brought their favorite foods with them, and so curry powder came to Japan.
To this European-style curry base, the Japanese added onions, and large slices of potatoes and carrots, creating their own distinct style of ‘curry.' 1970 saw the launch of ‘bon-curry,' a pre-packaged instant curry, which became an instant hit. The rest, as they say, is history.
* Here, “Chinese curry” refers to a traditional Chinese practice in which some foods, usually prepared as part of a soup, were believed to have medicinal value.
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