I honestly believe that I can eat Japanese food everyday. There’s a wide selection of food that is prepared in all kinds of ways so it’s hard to get bored of it; and correct me if I’m wrong, but Japanese food tends to be both delicious and healthy (forget the French; ask the Japanese how they maintain their figure!). A winning combination indeed!
It might be the Malaysian in me, but I just can’t pass up on Japanese curry. I used to frequent an amazing hole-in-the-wall eatery in the city run solely by young Japanese people who are very friendly and obliging (for my fellow Brisbanites, it’s Kadoya in Elizabeth Arcade). At $8 for an insanely huge serve of curry with chicken or pork katsu or chicken karaage, a mountain of rice and the teensiest bit of salad, it was such good value! I used to clean my plate out and then feel as though I needed a forklift to remove me from one of their stools. Of course, the prices have gone up since then, and so have their popularity. And I’ve learnt to make it at home.
Now, admittedly I don’t make curry like they do, so this isn’t the recipe that recreates your favourite chicken katsu curry at the shops. I avoid deep-frying at almost all costs, which of course results in a different dish, but one that I still enjoy immensely, especially on cold winter nights when all you want to do is have a satisfyingly good bowl of curry noodles. Instead, I use chicken fillets which are stir-fried beforehand along with onions, potatoes and carrots. The curry cubes meet the pot, followed by some water, and this is combined with boiled udon, then finally finished off with steamed green beans. So if this sounds like the type of hearty meal that you’d love to have, then by all means, please try this at home.
If you’ve never bought these curry cubes before, just head into your nearest Asian grocery store or well-stocked supermarket with a dedicated Asian food aisle and you should be able to find them. You can also select the level of spiciness that you like, ranging from mild to hot. Of course, for the thrill-seekers, you can always finish this off with plenty of chilli flakes or powder. It always amuses me what men will do when faced with the challenge of ‘how spicy can you go?’ I’m happy to sit on the sidelines and watch them sweat it out, and possibly cry. Whilst slurping down my noodles, of course.
Simple Japanese Chicken Curry Udon
- 3 chicken breast fillets, sliced
- 2 potatoes, chopped into large cubes
- 1 sweet potato, chopped into large cubes
- 2 carrots, chopped into large cubes
- 1 onion, thickly sliced
- 150 g Japanese curry sauce mix
- 4 1/2 cups of water
- 400 g dried udon
- 300 g green beans,
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- to serve: dried chilli flakes or powder
- Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the chicken slices and onion into the pot and fry for three minutes.
- Add in the potato, sweet potato and carrot cubes into the pot with the chicken and fry for another four minutes or so (until the chicken looks more or less cooked).
- Add in the curry sauce mix and pour in the water. Bring the contents of the pot to the boil and then let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
- In a separate pot, boil the udon for about 10 minutes or until it is ready. Drain. Steam the green beans for about 5 minutes. Portion the noodles and beans into 4 bowls.
- Ladle the curry into the bowls, along with the chicken pieces and potato and carrot cubes.
- Serve immediately.