Thursday, November 4, 2010

Japanese - Korean Curry


Up until this year I wasn't a big fan of asian cooking, sure I'd eat fried rice and noodles every now and then or ramen when I was lazy and I've always been fond of sushi, but I wouldn't touch anything spicy with a 10-foot pole and I was a very picky eater, so anything 'odd' looking scared me off immediately. You know how kids can be, once they've made up their mind about something there is no changing it. But then, earlier this year, I got into the whole Korean Wave thing, oh boy did that change things. Going crazy over Korean films, dramas and eventually music I started to become interested in Korean cooking and decided to try out some dishes. Let me tell you this: when you have 2 pounds of  home made hot kimchi in your fridge you better pray you'll develop a love for it or you'll be screwed. And fall in love I did! By now I've made my fourth batch of kimchi and it's stored in a large, especially bought container that is unfortunately taking up half of the fruit & veg compartment in my fridge. Kimchi and I are friends, big time. After falling in love with Korean food I am now slowly starting to discover foods from other Asian countries like Japan for example. Japanese curry is one of my favourite new discoveries and the recipe I'm posting today also happens to contain one of my favourite Korean ingredients: gochujang! Gochujang is a dark red and thick hot pepper paste that is used a lot in Korean cooking. Together with the Japanese curry mix and silken tofu it makes for an amazingly rich and creamy curry that will warm you right up!

Curry-Four Curry-Five

Japanese-Korean Curry
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 cup zucchini, sliced
1 cup carrot, sliced
1 cup onion, chopped
some water
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 S&B mild golden curry brick
1 generous tbs of gochujang
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 cup silken tofu, pureed
10 lentil balls
1/2 cup peas
dash of pepper (optional)

1) Pour 2 tbs of oil into a pan and heat it up on medium-high heat.
2) Add onions and sauté for a minute. Add squash, zucchini and carrots and continue to sauté for about three minutes.
3) Add just enough water to the pan so that the veggies are barely covered and cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes or until all the veggies are done, stir every now and then and add a little (!) more water if needed.
4) Stir in gochujang, garlic, soy sauce, curry brick and sesame oil. It takes a while for the brick to dissolve completely, but the sauce will soon start to thicken up. Continue to stir and add the silken tofu.
5) Lastly, add the lentil balls and peas. Stir, then turn off the heat - peas don't need a whole lot of cooking so the remaining heat should do the job just fine.

Done, serve with some freshly cooked rice and enjoy!

I used these lovely red lentil balls in the curry, you can find the recipe here over at Veggie Num Num. (The Dal Kofta recipe looks awesome btw.)

Gochujang looks pretty scary for first time users, so adding a table spoon of it will seem insane to you, but korean hot peppers are actually rather mild. You can leave it out if you don't like hot food or use a smaller amount if you want to use a different hot sauce.
Silken tofu is what makes this curry sooo creamy, so I urge you to use it if you have access to it. If you don't or simply don't like the taste of it (though I personally can't detect it in this dish) you can use a vegan creamer that is suitable for cooking and try your luck. You may have to use less water to archive the same level of creaminess, but it should work.

This is what the package of S&B Golden Curry looks like. There's also a medium and hot version and from what I've heard those are not much spicier than the mild version, but I don't know how true this is, so go easy on the gochujang if you're using the medium or hot version! :)


  1. I really like the idea of using silken tofu for the creaminess. Thanks for posting this recipe and idea!

  2. Whoa, that looks completely awesome! I'm a firm believer that non-Indian curries need some serious love too.

  3. Ooooo that looks so good. You're blog has some really interesting items on it, so I'm looking forward to what you post next!!!

  4. I totally love that purple rice, where did you get it from?
    I read about it a few times but didn't manage to fetch it by now; is there any difference in taste?
    And I wanted to tell you that I totally LOVE your blog and your fotos, your recipes sound really brilliant. Go on like that, please!

  5. @Tisi: This is a little secret, but it is actually mixed rice (white + black rice and some beans). You can find the black rice at asian grocery shops. I originally wanted to split this post in two and do one post for the curry and a separate post for the rice, but the rice recipe needs some tweaking first. I'll try to post it this week or next week and I'll definitely include ingredient pictures so people will know what to look for in the shops!

    Thank you so much for those words, I read your comment when I was shopping and had a rather big smile on my face. :)

  6. What a great story/post, Julia! I've been exploring all these different dishes and cuisines recently after going vegan, and it really is an awesome journey. Now "I" have a big smile on my face after reading your post & comments. ;)