Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Curry Nabe

We're right at the tail end of winter now, with spring erupting in just another few days. The floors are still cold enough in the morning that I use slippers, and the lunch cafeteria hasn't yet removed Oden from the menu. But mid-day is warm and getting warmer, and the air already smells of chlorophyll and new leaves.

So I'd like to look back at the greatest food hit of the winter for us (and apparently for a lot of people): Curry nabe.

Curry Stew

Curry nabe. Japanese interpretation of Indian curry reimagined as an Asian hotpot with north-European style winter foods, finished off with Japanese rice and American-style mild shredded cheese. Goes very well with beer or hot sake.

Curry nabe is a recent addition to the sprawling family of Japanese pots and stews that you cook right at the table. The base is Japanese curry roux, thinned out with stock to become soupy rather than a thick stew. This base goes well with western-style winter foods: potatoes, onion, carrots, mushrooms, chicken, firm fish, scallops, sausages, broccoli, leeks, cabbage...

Precook root vegetables so you won't have to wait so long. Boil up the base on a pot at the table. Meanwhile cut all the ingredients, assemble on a plate and bring to the table. Throw in stuff little by little. Use a spoon to pick out food to your plate and enjoy. This nabe goes extraordinarily well with beer, by the way.

Once all the ingredients are gone and there's only some curry base left, you throw in some cold cooked rice (leftover rice from the fridge or freezer is perfect) and boil up, cut the heat, then add lots of shredded cheese to melt into the mix. The curry base has picked up lots and lots of flavour from all the stuff cooked in it and the rice soaks up all that flavour and thickens the soup. You get an intensely savoury curry and rice porridge with strings of salty melted cheese running all through it - seriously, my mouth is watering as I write this, it's so good. Of course, it's just as healthy and slimming as it sounds like, so you perhaps want to avoid eating this every day.

Try curry nabe. You'll love it. Meanwhile, I think I'm off for an early lunch today.


Peter said...

Isn't this just "soup curry"? Don't they have that in your neck of the woods? You can buy a special paste for it if you don't want to make your own. "Soup Curry no Takumi" from House is pretty good. An electric pressure cooker makes short work of it. Lose the cheese though.スープカレー

Janne Morén said...

It's not soup curry - I love that too, shame there isn't a good soup curry place around here anymore - but another different take on the curry concept. This is much closer to kare-raisu than to soup curry.