B-kyu Gurume: Kanazawa Curry from Kanazawa, Ishikawa

 

 

Curry in Japan vs Kanazawa Curry

Curry in Japan is widely considered as a comfort food.  It’s occasionally spicy and full of flavor, and served with rice and meat. In Kanazawa, the curry is a unique experience.

Kanazawa Curry is different from most curries because of its thick texture. It is gooey and made with caramel, has a dark brown color, and is often enjoyed with a fork or spork. This Kanazawa Curry style

 can be dated to the 1950s as a specialty in western-style restaurants in Japan. This means the dish is relatively new in terms of the history of the country, but it actually didn’t catch widespread popularity until around 2005, when the restaurant chain, Champion Curry, featured the dish in their establishment.

How Kanazawa Curry Is Served

This curry is standardly served with rice and katsu, a breaded cutlet, with sauce on top and shredded cabbage on the side. Some restaurants allow you to add additional cutlets, boiled eggs, fried shrimp, sausages, scrambled eggs, cream croquettes, and more. The meal is served on stainless dishes, because the curry is heavy and needs a strong base to be served on.

Where You Can Find Kanazawa Curry

According to Food in Japan, the best places to grab this dish when you’re visiting the region would be:

  • Champion Curry: Considered the forefathers of the dish, they have several varieties of the curry. You order on a vending machine outside the restaurant and then bring your paid ticket to the shop and order with the team that’s working in the store.
  • Go-Go Curry: Another chain that contributed to Kanazawa’s regional popularity. While this restaurant’s curry is slightly spicier than other chains, they have a kid’s version that is milder.
  • Gold Curry: This restaurant features a curry that’s uniquely sweet and focuses on using local ingredients.

Make Kanazawa Curry at Home

Curious on how Kanazawa Curry tastes?  Try it out for yourself in the comfort of your own home with this ingredient list:

  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Black honey
  • Water
  • Chutney Paste
  • Tomato Puree
  • Garam Masala
  • Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • Curry Roux
  • Bouquet Garni

You’ll also need to make plain white rice, have a breaded cutlet, and some shredded cabbage when assembling the dish.

Here are some of our favorite recipes to make the roux at home: Travel Monitor | Cook Pad

Let us know if you try any of these restaurants, or make this dish at home by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

 

 

 

B-kyu Gurume: Kushikatsu from Shinsekai, Osaka

(source: Just One Cookbook)

Have you ever tried Kushikatsu?  Kushikatsu, also known as Kushiage, is a famous and delicious Japanese dish of deep-fried meat and vegetables served on a skewer. In fact, kushi actually refers to the bamboo skewers used to assemble this dish and katsu refers to the deep-fried cutlets.

The dish is most commonly made with chicken, pork, seafood and a variety of seasonal vegetables. The ingredients are dipped in egg and flour, and breaded with panko then deep-fried to be golden brown.

Kushikatsu is said to have originated in downtown Osaka in Shinsekai in 1929, and was primarily made for blue-collar workers. The skewers made the dish a fast food of sorts and were both inexpensive and filling for the locals of the region. While skewers are popular across Japan, the Osaka region’s Kushiage is particular in a few ways.

First, they offer one type of ingredient per skewer, whereas other regions might interchange their meats with vegetables, or place more than one type of meat per skewer. Secondly, the Shinsekai skewers are generally a bit smaller than other regions, because it is customary to order several for each meal. Lastly, in Osaka, the skewers are served standalone and are usually dipped in a shared pot of sauce before eating, to thinly coat the skewer (double-dipping is strictly prohibited). Other regions are known to instead serve the skewers with ginger, sauces, or other meats on the side of the skewer.

Some places in Japan offer Kushikatsu as a fondue-style meal, where you dip and prepare your own skewers at the table. If that sounds fun to you and you are ready to make this famous dish at home, here is a great video with the recipe for you to learn the ropes.

If you’re visiting Osaka and are looking for the best places to find Kushikatsu, give these a try!

  • Daruma Shinsekai Sohonten is known as one of the most popular places to grab Kushikatsu in Osaka. There are 14 of these across the region, so it will be easy for you to access on your trip.
  • Ueshima is located in Amemura, and they have no menu or price listed. The master chef will prepare the freshest ingredients they were able to find for the guests. When you are full, make sure to inform them!  It is advised to tell the chef your budget in advance if that might be a concern, so he knows how to keep the experience in your budget.
  • Rokkakutei Kuromon Honten is a more high-end Kushikatsu restaurant, with one-Michelin star. Similar to Ueshima there is no menu or price, and the day’s freshest ingredients are featured in the meal.

Let us know if you try (or make) any of these dishes by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushiamerica on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

 

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Piroshiki!

So many of our Foreign Foods in Japan have come from Europe, the US and China, so this month we’re finally focusing on Japan’s neighbor to the north…Russia!

Piroshiki are hand-held dough pockets filled with various types of fillings. The original dish from Russia is spelled as pirozhki, piroshki or when plural, pirogi or pierogi. In Russia, pirozhki can be found all over the place, made at home, in restaurants and at street food stalls. The Russian version is commonly filled with meat, vegetables, cheese and infrequently fish, when savory, or with fruit and jam when sweet. The dough is typically a yeast dough, leavened and brushed with egg wash, and the entire pocket is baked in a hot oven…perfect for the cold Russian climate!

Pierogi

In Japan, pirozhki were adapted to Japanese taste and cooking methods. One account states that this dish was introduced to Japan after WWII, and the original Japanese piroshiki were filled with minced onions, boiled eggs and ground beef and deep-fried, instead of baked. Another states that Miyo Nagaya, a Japanese chef from Tokyo, became interested in the cuisine of Russia and Central Asia, and opened a restaurant in Tokyo in 1951, where she modified the Russian dish to Japanese tastes.

Piroshiki

Today, piroshiki can be found at bakeries and restaurants in Japan and frying is still the most common way of preparing the dish. Typical fillings range from ground meat, fish and vegetables such as onions, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. One delicious and unique Japanese-centric filling is cooked and chopped up harusame glass noodles, which add incredible texture and umami to the piroshiki. Some believe that piroshiki were the inspiration for kare-pan or curry pan, which is a beloved Japanese deep-fried dough pocket filled with curry flavored ingredients.

Kare-pan

No matter where you get your piroshiki in Japan, you’re sure to enjoy this hot pocket. Have you had it? Have you made it? Share your favorite recipe with us below!

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Doria!

Dorias are so quintessentially Japanese that we sometimes forget they were once a foreign food introduced into Japanese cuisine!

Many foreign foods were introduced to Japan during the Meiji Era, from 1868-1912, as Japan began its journey towards global modernization. After the First World War, even more foreign influence permeated the country, and foreign-born and trained chefs began introducing new dishes inspired by their homelands yet catering to Japanese tastes. One such dish is the doria. It is said that Saly Weil, a Swiss master chef at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama, developed the dish in the 1930s. The dish was inspired by classic French gratins and baked Italian casseroles, with signature components including a creamy béchamel sauce and melted cheese.

Instead of being made with potatoes, similar to pommes de terre gratinees, the Japanese doria was made with the local staple: rice. And while European gratins often featured beef or ham, the Japanese version most commonly used seafood. Today, numerous variations exist among Japanese dorias, including ones with vegetables, chicken, mushrooms and a host of other ingredients!

The classic Japanese doria starts with cooked white rice. The rice is typically buttered, and depending on taste seasoned with aromatics such as garlic or herbs such as parsley. To the buttered rice is added seafood such as shrimp, scallops or fish, or chicken or vegetables, such as broccoli and mushrooms. And the entire mixture is then folded into a classic French béchamel sauce, made of butter, flour and milk. The combined ingredients are layered into a baking dish and topped with meltable, creamy cheese, such as parmesan or gruyere. The dish is then baked until the cheese is golden on top.

Dorias are served at Yoshoku restaurants throughout Japan but are also frequently prepared at home for lunch or dinner. Our classic recipe is the Green Peas and Asparagus Doria, which is made using rice cooked in our rice cookers.

Have you made this comforting dish? Try it out…it’ll be great for the coming winter months!

Japanese Bento – Kyaraben!

We’ve saved the best for our final post in our Japanese Bento series… kyaraben!

Character bento, or kyaraben, are famous for their style, originality, fun and creativity. Initially created to entice children to eat their lunch, kyaraben focus on the concept of “kawaii”, or cuteness, to present a well-balanced meal in a convenient, portable bento box.

Kyaraben come in an endless variety, all depending on the creativity and wherewithal of the maker. The simplest kyaraben showcase cars, trains, airplanes, stars, hearts and flowers. As the kyaraben artist makes more sophisticated bento, they add cute animal shapes to the bento, including grinning panda bear patties, smiling penguin rice balls, octopus-shaped sausages with flapping arms, porky pigs and small rabbit-eared eggs.

The most popular types of kyaraben, in Japan and internationally, are ones that showcase characters from Japanese anime and manga as well as from Western animated TV shows and movies. Imagine eating a nutritious lunch with Hello Kitty or Gudetama! And how about Doraemon and Pikachu, stacked with fried chicken and sausages! And let’s not forget Totoro and Anpanman on a bed of fried rice surrounded by colorful carrots and edamame! And for kids who love American cartoons, Disney’s Tsum Tsum characters and Winnie the Pooh are big favorites!

Kyaraben artists use both everyday kitchen tools along with special tools made for creating character bento. Plastic wrap is generally used to shape rice balls, but special shapes can also be made using rice molds. Vegetables can be julienned with a sharp knife and also cut into flowers, stars and clouds using miniature veggie cutters. And meats, poultry and seafood are served in bite-sized pieces. Rice and other items are decorated with cutouts of nori seaweed or with designed using powdered seaweed sprinkled through stencils. So elaborate are kyaraben designs that numerous books have been published and popular blogs such as Little Miss Bento are visited by foodies from all over the world!

Ready to try your hand at kyaraben? Check out our ideas for these beautifully-shaped fun bento. And as always, be sure to share your pictures with us!