Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Japanese Curry Sauce

I love Golden Curry (GC), and I use it all the time. My problem with GC, though, is that it contains monosodium glutamate, like many other packaged Asian food products. It also contains disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate, which are flavor enhancers. Disodium guanylate, I learned yesterday, is made from either dried fish or dried seaweed.

I have no idea what, in fact, the disodium guanylate used in GC is made from. But the addition of these flavor enhancers was reason enough for me to investigate curry roux alternatives that were healthier and, of course, animal-free.

How hard could it be to replicate GC? A roux is a mixture of butter (typically) and flour that is used as a thickening agent. The ingredients on the back of a box of GC list flour, salt, and curry powder, all items I already have in my pantry.

Actually, it was not hard at all!

Japanese Curry Sauce
Makes approximately 2-3 servings

2 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons butter melted
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili powder), to taste

Salt, to taste

In a skillet (not a pot), heat the vegetable broth over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine the flour and butter. Add a tablespoon of hot vegetable broth to the flour and butter and stir until a thick paste is formed.

Gradually (1 tablespoon at a time) add the flour-butter paste to the vegetable broth (simmering over low heat) until it starts to thicken like a gravy. (You may or may not use all of the paste.) Next, stir in the garam masala, turmeric powder, soy sauce, and a couple dashes of Japanese chili powder (or crushed red pepper flakes). Add salt, to taste.

Add cooked vegetables to the sauce (see note below) and serve over rice.

(Note: I used a pressure cooker to quickly cook some chopped carrots and potatoes. I also served the curry sauce over breaded chicken-style seitan cutlets or katsu, the recipe for which I've posted separately.)

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