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Japanese Food – Japanese Curry with Fried Eggplant

Japanese Curry with Fried Eggplant, by Reggie Soang

Japanese curry is a widely popular dish in Asian cuisine. The best way to eat a bowl of Japanese curry is to serve it with panko-breaded pork or chicken cutlet or eggplant. The crunch from the panko gives a nice contrast to the creamy and thick curry.

The curry base is made out of roux, a paste made by cooking flour and butter. Once the roux is made, it could be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. The curry base is versatile in making soup and stew.

Japanese curry is both salty and sweet. Conventionally, fruits such as apples or pears may be added for the sweetness while soy sauce is added for the savoriness. Japanese curry is could be spicy or mild, depending on personal preference, but a bit of kick does make this dish more appealing. 

For the latest New Lifestyle Home Cooking Series:

Japanese Curry with Fried Eggplant
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes

Ingredients:
For the Curry Base:
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne

For the Curry Stew:
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup diced onions, medium diced
2 cups diced carrots, medium diced
2 cups diced potatoes, medium diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon curry paste, from the above recipe
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon soy sauce

For the Fried Eggplant:
8 pieces sliced eggplant, to 1/8-inch thick
Salt, for salting eggplant
Flour, for dredging 
1 egg, for egg wash
Japanese panko breadcrumb, 2 cups

To serve with:
White rice, steamed

  1. To make the curry base, on medium-low heat, cook the flour in melted butter until the flour turns light brown like peanut butter. Add the spices and cook them in the butter mixture until fragrant. Turn off the heat and set the curry base aside.
  2. Slice eggplant into rounds of 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle salt on both sides of each slice and set them aside for 45 minutes to draw out moisture. Meanwhile, make the curry and cook some rice.
  3. To make the curry, prep the veggies accordingly. Heat up a medium-sized pot on medium heat. Add oil and once it starts to shimmer, add onions. Cook the onions until caramelized. Adjust the heat if necessary and cook the onions nice and slow.
  4. Add garlic and ginger and cook until they are fragrant, and then add carrots and potatoes.
  5. After adding carrots and potatoes, add chicken stock, and bay leaf. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook until carrots and potatoes are tender.
  6. While the curry is cooking, set up a breading station for the eggplant. Put each flour, a beaten egg, and Japanese panko breadcrumb in separate bowls.
  7. Pat the eggplant dry and dip each slice in the order: flour, egg wash, and panko. 
  8. Meanwhile, heat up a shallow pan of oil in a skillet. Heat the oil up to 350 F in temperature. To make sure the oil is hot enough, place a piece of bread in it and when it becomes golden brown, the oil is ready.
  9. Fry each eggplant slice until golden brown on the outside. Sprinkle with salt when they come out of the oil. 
  10. Once the carrots and potatoes are tender, mix the curry base with a ladle of the hot liquid from the pot in a separate down; dissolve the curry base into the liquid. Add the curry base liquid back in the pot and bring the curry to a simmer. The curry will start to thicken. Add soy sauce and sugar to season.
  11. To serve Japanese curry, have a bowl of rice ready and pour the curry over it generously. Finish the dish by placing a couple of slices of fried eggplant on top of the curry. Bon appétit!

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