Aya says: “The Japanese are experts at inventing their own versions of foreign dishes. They have a slight obsession with curry, so naturally they created a Japanese version.
For 4 people
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 50 minutes
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, grated
- 30 g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 4 skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 small apples, peeled and grated
- 2 carrots, coarsely grated
- 1 quantity of steamed rice (see recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
- 35g plain flour
- 3 tablespoons mild curry powder
- 200g tinned crushed tomatoes
- 1.2 liters of good quality chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoon of honey
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- pickles, small pickled onions and a boiled egg, for serving, optional
Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan over low heat.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until it takes on a deep golden color and begins to caramelize.
Increase the heat to medium and sauté the mixture until the onion is golden brown.
Reduce the heat, add the chicken and sauté for 3 minutes.
Add butter and flour and stir for 2 minutes.
Add the curry powder, then increase the heat and cook until aromatic.
Add the crushed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
Add 250 ml of broth and mix well. Pour in the rest of the broth, then add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, honey, soy sauce, apple and carrot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Add salt, to taste.
Divide the rice into bowls and pour the curry over it. Serve with pickles, pickled onions and a boiled egg, if using.
Aya says: “The general rule of rice to water ratio is 15% more water than rice by weight. There are many varieties of Japanese rice available – some types are expensive but worth trying.
“For example, freshly harvested rice has a truly sublime flavor, and if you ever find sinmai, which means ‘new rice’, give it a try – you’ll be surprised how amazing it tastes!”
For 4 people
Preparation: 5 minutes, plus 30 to 60 minutes of draining
Cooking: 15 minutes
Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and set it over a bowl filled with cold water. Gently stir and wash the rice with your hands.
As soon as the water turns milky, lift the strainer and drain the water. Repeat this process three to four times until the water is less milky.
Let the rice drain in the colander for 30 to 60 minutes. The rice should turn clear to white during this process.
Place the drained rice in a heavy bottomed saucepan (ideally cast iron) with 350ml of water. Cover the pan with a thick, tight-fitting lid.
Bring the rice to a boil over high heat. As soon as you hear the water boiling vigorously and the liquid bubbling from the pot, reduce the heat and cook for 11 minutes. While the rice is cooking, don’t lift the lid – it’s a strict rule!
Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Open the lid and gently stir the rice with a rice spatula.
Adapted from Japanese cuisine made simple by Aya Nishimura (£14.99, Murdoch Books), out now