This dish was inspired by a dish at Kin and Comfort, and it has a heavy dose of the comfort food for me. It is my take on the Japanese Curry Meatloaf. The two components, curry and meatloaf, of this dish can used in a variety of ways. The meatloaf part of this recipe first appeared in my blog in 2009 as the meat base of the deep fried nori rolls. It is also the same base recipe for the Lion head soup, which is one of my favorite soups. The curry sauce in this recipe is commonly served over rice as a vegetarian option such as the curry bowl at Ramen Tatsu-ya or with pieces of bones in chicken thighs like my mother used to make. The curry sauce can also be mixed in with cooked ground meat, minced onions, and carrots to form a meat sauce. My mother would often make puff pastry with said meat sauce. The options are endless so get creative. Please do note that if you omit the flour in the roux recipe, this is a gluten-free recipe.
Meatloaf (turn the into meat balls):
2 pounds ground pork
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced water chestnuts (you can find these canned in many grocery stores now).
1 cup diced dried mushrooms (soak mushrooms for at least one hour prior to use)
2 table spoons garlic ginger paste - optional (find this in the Indian food section)
2 tablespoons of corn starch (optional)
Salt and Pepper (I used white pepper.)
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add more eggs or corn starch to achieve a sticky but not overly dense consistency. Transfer into an oven safe pan and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until the center reaches 160 degrees. The time is really going to depend on what shape you use.
Japanese Curry Roux (two methods)
This recipe will make enough roux for at least 5 batches of curry.
8 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of tumeric
4 tablespoons of Garam masala
2 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoon coriander powder
2 tablespoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoon of black pepper powder
1/2 cups plain flour (for method 2).
Method 1 (contains gluten): Heat up the butter, and flour in a pan. Whisk the mixture until the roux becomes a golden brown. Add all the additional spices and whisk until thorough combined. It should start to roll and clump together like claydough. This is ready to use or you can store it in the freezer in an airtight container.
Method 2 (gluten free): Heat up the butter in a pan with the spices. Whisk until it comes together. It will clump together when ready to use. You can use this right now or store it in the freezer in an airtight container. When you use this roux for cooking, you will need to make a slurry of cornstarch and cold water to thicken your curry towards the end of cooking the dish. Just pour in 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup of cornstarch slurry into your curry while it is simmering, and that ought to thicken your dish right up.
This is the most basic and popular version of Japanese Curry is a medley of onion, carrots, and potato. If you're curious what that is like, order the curry bowl at Ramen Tatsuya. My mother often made the same recipe with chicken thigh meat for us ominvores. Seriously, you can put this over what ever you want.
Ingredients (adjust quantity to your liking):
1 large onion, large dice
3 carrots, peeled and diced about the size of the onion pieces
1 potato (typically yellow), diced into cubes.
1-2 tablespoons of the Japanese Roux
Oil for cooking
Optional: whole garlic cloves and chicken thigh pieces, deboned or butterflied.
In a large pan or soup pot, heat up a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add in the onions, carrot, and potato. I like to add whole garlic cloves because there's nothing better than a good vampire deterrent. Totally optional though. It really doesn't matter much if you add these ingredients all at once or in order of cooking time as this dish usually takes a while to simmer. Everything will be thoroughly cooked once you are finished.
*If you want to make the chicken version, quickly fry up the chicken thighs first. They don't need to be completely done, but they should be partially cooked before adding the veggies. Once the onions are translucent and the potato chunks are about 75% done, add in the roux and mix it up thoroughly coating all the ingredients and giving it a light fry. Add about 1-2 cups of water or chicken stock to make your sauce. Your potatoes and chicken should be completely cooked by now. At this point, you need to adjust the strength of the curry. If you want it to be stronger, add more roux. If you want more sauce, add more water. If you want a thicker curry, add a cornstarch slurry and simmer for a few minutes.
Assembly: Put meatloaf on a plate. Put curry sauce over it. Eat up!
Meatloaf ingredients. My mother would say that the mushrooms should be smaller pieces.
Meatloaf ready for the oven.
Here's the spices or the curry along with flour (which can be optional).
This is just the start of the Japanese Curry Roux.
This Roux is ready to be used.
Carrots and onion go into the pan.
Extra roux going into the freezer.
A finished curry sauce with onions, carrots, and garlic. I didn't use potatoes in this batch.
Meatloaf plus Japanese curry = happy me.