Looks like vomit, tastes like heaven. Will has some remarkable comments about how unappealing this stuff looks. If it looks terrible and tastes fantastic I’d also suspect that it’s massively unhealthy. Not true, it’s chock full of good stuff for you like mangos, apples, carrots and ginger.
When I read the article and recipe I was hooked.
“It is Japan’s chili, its bacon cheeseburger, its meatloaf and gravy all in one, a hangover-killing man meal found in bars and restaurants up and down the country narrow, never as good as Mom’s. It is katsu curry: a thick, fragrant, porky roux glopped across delicate short-grain rice… reaches heights to which stews and soups can only aspire as they sit warm and bubbling in their enameled pots. Katsu curry defines rib-sticking. Fiery, rich and deep with smoky flavor, it towers above delicious. …This is British Indian food as imagined by excited Japanese and cooked in the United States a hundred years later, a small triumph of postcolonial cuisine, a culture mashup of the most delicious sort.” – Sam Sifton NYTimes.com
The first couple times I followed the recipe as closely. I was overwhelmed with ingredients and the process. Due to it’s demanding labor it was relegated to special occasion meals. Once my food processor broke and I had a nearly hysterical crying fit trying to prepare it for guests. Will has blocked out the memory of coming to my rescue by mincing a mountain of produce. It was still worth it.
I have since simplified the process. It still involves a solid list of ingredients, and a blender or food processor is the only sane way to go. But I eliminated some parts and stopped expecting multi-tasking speed. I don’t follow the recipe so closely. I am proud to say I recently made it without any fuss or stress. It fed not only me and Will but a hungry Outward Bound instructor. And so I present my Katsu Curry process. (I strongly recommend you read the real one first, as I am not a professional.)
Prepare for blending or food processing (like do the obvious peeling etc):
3 cloves of garlic
1 green apple
2″ of ginger
1 large carrot
Blend/process those things with:
2T tomato paste
1T Worcestershire Sauce
It never looks smooth, just turns into a grainy kinda nasty looking smoothy. Set aside, ready for the next part.
In a large saucepan, or I’ve started using my large dutch oven:
Melt 3T butter on medium-high heat.
Add 1lb ground pork.
Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the meat has browned (although I’m sometimes not so patient) and much of the moisture has evaporated.
Turn heat to low then…
Add 3T flour and 3T curry powder. Stir and cook until powders are absorbed by the meat and oil (about 3-4min). I always get a residue (I think it’s called a fond) that starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Before that gets too brown…
Add the smoothy stuff. Stir. It should be quite thick at this point.
Add 1c chicken broth (low-sodium suggested). Cook on low for about hour (or as long as I can stand it). I start with it covered to get it to a soft blurpy heat (I suppose it might be simmering if it weren’t so grainy and stuff) and then uncover so it can reduce and thicken some more.
I make rice in my microwave rice cooker.
I like to serve it with thinly sliced raw red cabbage (because I think it’s a nice color contrast and crunch), and lots of raw green onion (again, color, but also the bright grassy oniony flavor)
If you read the real recipe you’ll notice I completely dropped the frying of the breaded pork cutlets. Total overkill. I also stopped trying to fry ground pork and prepare and blend stuff at the same time. Because it still takes time I now double the recipe for the goop part. It reheats like a dream. I imagine I could freeze it, but we always eat leftovers too quickly to bother with freezing.