One of the things I like to eat here in Australia are meat pies. They fit in your hand, are a full meal in one, are served warm, and with a drink can be very satisfying. I’m also fond of pasties for the same reason. I mean, a food you can eat with one hand and a book or magazine in the other is tops for me.
Japanese Curry Bread is one of those delightful concepts where they took a good thing to an entirely new level. Instead of baking the stuffed bread, they dip it in egg, coat in panko bread crumbs and deep fry. Result: Crispy, savoury stuffed doughnut filled with comfort food. How could I not try this? I’ve technically eaten something like this in the Mini Stop shops back in the Philippines, but the dough left my mouth feeling dry; too much baking powder, perhaps? Nevertheless, they were filling, and cheap. But that’s all the way over across an ocean, and I’m in the Land Down Under. So, after my brother-in-law introduced me to a manga called Addicted to Curry, I resolved to make my own. I’m not as obsessive about curry as the folks in Addicted to Curry are, so I use the pre-packaged Japanese roux.
It took me a while to find a dough I was satisfied would roll out and pinch shut; some of the recipes I found online were too dry. The first batch (of which the photo above is the result) needed to have water dabbed onto the dough for me to be able to stretch the dough into a large enough circle to let me fold it over the curry, and more water to let me pinch it shut. It also took a lot of effort to roll out, which is a problem when one is slightly too short to be able to exert the maximum arm strength relative to the table or counter top. Maybe sometime I’ll try it while sitting on a prepared area on the floor.
The second batch I made used pizza dough; and while it rolled out wonderfully, it rolled out thinly enough that when I fried the bread, the pocket broke, so I was forced to fish the bread out early, and the slightly thickened sections were somewhat undercooked. So I added more flour to the recipe. Bear in mind that flours tend to be different and you may need to experiment before you get a dough that is right for you.
Usually made with leftover curry in Japanese households (so I have read), my friend Foxfier decided to try it with leftover stew and bread machine roll bread (Ok when fried, not so good when baked.) Her children, I am told, adored the results (‘inhaled them’), and that the recipe is ‘dangerous’ from how quickly they’re devoured. So feel free to use the idea and stuff the bread with whatever you want! (and let me know how it went. I’d like some ideas =D)
Japanese Style Curry Bread
5 cups all-purpose flour (or more if needed)
1 tbsp salt
1 packet yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4c warm water
Curry for the curry bread:
Mince meat of choice 1kg
1 large onion, diced
1 packet instant French onion soup
1 100g package of S&B Golden Curry sauce mix (They have Mild – not spicy – medium hot, and spicy; I use Mild, since the kids don’t like spicy food often)
Optional: Potato and carrots, diced; red and yellow capsicums, diced, and other vegetables you want to add.
Cornflour dissolved in water, to thicken
Japanese style / Panko breadcrumbs
enough oil to deep fry, in a pot.
Brown the onion in a little oil over low-medium heat until translucent. Add the mincemeat, and brown it, while breaking the meat apart. Halfway through browning add the onion soup. Continue browning and breaking apart mince until just browned. Add the curry sauce and about 2-3 cups water, and vegetables. mix and cook on high for 20 minutes, then bring down to simmer until cooked through. To thicken, mix about 1 tablespoon cornflour in with water, dissolved in a bowl, and pour into the curry while stirring rapidly to mix cornflour without clumping. Simmer for 10 more minutes then let cool enough to refrigerate until mostly solid. *
Make the dough, and when ready, roll out small balls of dough into circles; don’ make the middle too thin; about 1/4 cm thick. Put 1 spoonful of curry in the centre of dough. Fold over to cover the curry, and pinch shut. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the dough and as much curry as you have.
Scramble 2 eggs and some water, in a shallow bowl. In another bowl pour panko and roll the stuffed and egged bread in the crumbs until covered. Deep fry over low medium heat, until golden brown, turning the bread over when one side is golden. remove from oil, and place on plate with paper towels to drain the oil, or over a dripping rack. Enjoy while warm.
If planning to freeze, wrap individually in foil and then freeze. To reheat, heat in microwave for 1 and a half minutes.
*Note on thickeners – I recently was buying some (very oh so scrumptious) steamed BBQ pork buns from a shop, and ordered so much that I had to wait for a batch to finish steaming. As I was waiting, I noticed I could see into the preparation area, where a huuuuuuuge block-like mound of dough leaned against the wall, and on the counter, what looked like a 2-inch thick, broad rectangular block of brownish jelly was being cut up into roughly 2 by 1-odd inch chunks. The man set them aside, then cut a large chunk of dough, rolled it into a log, cut that into chunks and then working really quickly, rolled the dough into flats, sandwiched the jelly cubes into them, pinched them shut and put on a square of paper and into a massive bamboo steamer. The jelly chunks were the meat filling, with the sauce congealed into a jelly! The sauce would melt when steamed. Now, BBQ pork is usually made with pork belly, which is a fatty cut of meat that also gives you a fine gelatinous sauce – aspic- when stewed and cooled down.
Since I use a beef mince I don’t get quite as much aspic so I tried using a flavourless jelly powder to achieve the same result, which I have to say, is much neater and easier to work with! The gelatine also makes it so that the stew sauce doesn’t end up dribbling everywhere if you have a juicy curry. I thought I’d share the idea though! This is entirely optional and you don’t have to do it and can stick with the corn starch thickener if you prefer.