Rumor has it that curry made its way from India to Japan during the colonial period via the British navy. There it morphed into a mild, savory-sweet roux-based sauce that’s the perfect counterpoint to a crispy piece of pork or tofu. If you’re used to eating coconut-milk laden or incredibly spicy curries, Japanese curry is a refreshing change of pace.
It’s dead easy to make, armed with a box of Japanese curry roux.
1. Drain, slice, and season firm tofu with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. Put a pot of rice on to simmer.
2. Coarsely chop and saute together carrots, potatos, onions, sweet potato, red bell pepper, and a bit of eggplant.*
3. Dredge seasoned tofu in flour. Dip in beaten egg, then coat with panko (Japanese bread crumbs). Season with salt.
4. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Arrange cutlets evenly on sheet and begin baking. Occasionally rotate the pan, but do not flip the cutlets.
5. Chop a 100 g. brick of hot Japanese curry roux into pieces and add to the vegetables. Add 3 c. water. Stir often so the roux doesn’t stick. Add ground black pepper and a dash of sugar to taste.
6. Check the cutlets. If they haven’t fully browned, briefly crisp them under the broiler. Plate with rice and a generous serving of curry. Serve with a cool beer.
*Eggplant may not be a traditional ingredient…but it’s damn tasty in
p.s. Nytimes.com has an interesting story on Japanese curry