How to Make Incredible Curry

     If you have tried curry in the past and did not like it, you should give it another chance!  Curry is a dish that, if improperly prepared can be not good at all.  On the other hand, if made properly, can be great!  What was so special about the good curry and what went wrong with the bad curry?  It may be that you do not like too much curry spice in your dish and tasted some made for a regular consumer.  If eaten regularly, you will build up a tolerance to the spices and actually crave more spice every time you eat a curry dish.  So here are my secrets to perfect curry preparation, and by me I mean my wife!  The Japanese are big on curry and that is where I have had some of the best curry that I had ever tasted.  That is what we are making here.

First, you must remember that there are a few rules when it comes to great cooking.  This is one of the secrets that the Japanese have learned to master.

  1.  Simplicity is one of the best ingredients you can use.  Don’t over complicate things by adding the kitchen sink.
  2. Take your time when you’re preparing dishes.  You can always tell when someone makes something with love.
  3. Quality counts.  People, especially your kids can tell when you used a lower quality item.  This does not mean that the cheaper item is always of lower quality.  Try a new brand once in a while, you may be surprised.

Curry Ingredients:

2 medium Diced White Onion (or 1 large)

1 Small Tomato (type does not matter)

1-1/2 lbs Chunk Beef, Pork, or Chicken (for stew)

3 Medium Carrots (peeled)

4 potatoes (we use russet)

4 Cups water

1 Tbs Olive Oil (regular is fine)

½ box Vermont Curry paste (mild, medium or hot, start with mild)

     You can get curry paste is ethnic groceries however; most supermarkets are starting to carry them in their international isle.  They are similar to bouillon cubes but moist and come in a rectangular box.  You do not need to use Vermont as there are other brands; it’s just what we like.

Cooking instructions:

     In a medium pot, put the Olive Oil in and coat the bottom of the pot.  Turn your stove on medium-high and add the chunks of beef, pork, or chicken once the oil is hot.  Cook until mostly done and slightly browned.  You may also add salt and pepper to taste during the cooking process.  You do not need to marinate your meats.  Add the onions and cook until caramelized (browned).  Add the water, potatoes, tomato, carrots, and curry paste and bring to a boil stirring frequently for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

     At this point you should only see meat, carrots, and potatoes in the curry (which looks like gravy).  The onions and tomatoes should have “melted” and should not be very detectable.  This comes in handy when you have kids that do not like to eat their vegetables!  Remove from heat and let cool slightly until ready to serve.  This dish is traditionally served with rice on one side and the curry on the other.  You can use Japanese (short grain) style rice, Jasmine (long grain), or your favorite variety.  There it is!  Short, simple, and easy to make but tastes like it took you hours and tastes even better the next day!

Rice preparation:

     If you do not know how to make rice or do not have a rice cooker then I suggest that you get one as soon as you can.  They are not only easy to use and maintain but also save you money on your grocery bill.  You can get a small model for under $25 and they will last you years.  No matter what type of rice you get, it is always necessary to wash your rice.  I highly advise against using instant rice such as Uncle Bens.  It is best (and more cost effective) to get a 20lbs bag of rice which can be found at your local international market for around $20 per bag, depending on type and quality.  To wash your rice, measure out the amount you want to make (3 cups is enough for our family of 4) and place it into the rice cooker bowl.  Fill the bowl half way with water and rub the rice together with your hands while mixing the rice around.  The water should turn milky white while doing this.  Drain the water and repeat 2 more times.  You do not generally want to wash your rice more than this as you will start to wash away the vitamins with any more washing (however the Japanese can sometimes wash up to 5 times).  Drain the water and fill the bowl up with the same amount of water as you used for the rice (e.g. 3 cup of water for 3 cups of rice).  Some places require that you use more water where the level of water should come up to your first knuckle if you were to place your finger in the water touching the top of the rice.  At this point all you need to do is replace the bowl into the cooker and push the cook button, close the lid and walk away.  It is best to prepare the rice before the curry so the rice can dry out a little bit if you add too much water.