Japanese Style Beef Curry

Japanese Style Beef Curry

I had this dish a couple of times at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo and fell in love with it. When I came back I had to recreate it at home. After searching the internet for a scratch recipe and a few hours over a hot stove tweaking it to resemble what I ate in Tokyo the following is the result and is it great!!!!

1 ½ lbs stewing beef, cut into cubes 1” square
3 medium onions, sliced thin
½ tsp salt
6 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp ginger paste
1 - 14 oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
5 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
2 pieces whole star anise
2 - 3 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Curry Roux (recipe follows below)

Heat large non stick pan and add 1 Tbsp oil. Place cubed beef into pan and fry for 10 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set beef aside.

Return pan to heat, add 2 Tbsp oil and onions and ½ tsp salt, cook on low-medium heat for ½ hour stirring occasionally until caramelized (you may need to crank the heat to finish them well, but be careful not to burn). Once well browned and caramelized add ginger paste, apple and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, careful not to burn or crisp the mixture

Add tomatoes and 2 cups of beef stock to onion mixture, bring to a gentle boil. After all ingredients are well cooked and very soft, puree the mixture with a hand blender or use a food processor. (Be very careful using a food processor or blender as hot ingredients expand very quickly when blended and can blow up very quickly and send the chef to a hospital and a plastic surgeon. Ruins the dinner too!) I prefer a hand blender...

Return pureed mixture to pan and add browned beef, bay leaves, star anise and the remaining beef stock, simmer for 2 hours or longer until beef is very tender. Keep topping the simmering mixture with water or beef stock to maintain consistency throughout the process.

While the beef is simmering, prepare the curry roux.

In a small frying pan, melt ¼ cup butter and heat until it quits foaming. Add ¼ cup flour and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it becomes a medium brown in color.

Take the pan off heat, add 1 Tbsp garam masala, 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder and 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper, return to medium-low heat and stir constantly until mixture is a rich brown colour and DON’T BURN IT. Burnt curry roux can wound your olfactory senses for life and strip paint from the ceiling(you can tell it’s burnt if you begin to see little black flecks in it). Remove from heat and set aside, let cool.

Just remember that in all cooking and in particular when making something tricky like a fragrant roux, the French term - “Mise En Place” should be your habit. Translated it means “Everything In Place” so have everything ready you will need in the assembly and preparation of the dish sitting in front of you to ensure you don’t get distracted by having to search for a tool or ingredient.

Take the beef mixture off the stove and remove the bay leaves and star anise.

Place beef back on heat and add the curry roux 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring well as you add it to avoid clumping, and keep adding roux until the mixture is a very rich, medium thick consistency (gravy consistency).

The finished dish should be deep brown (chocolate brown) and very fragrant (it will be so fragrant Japan Airlines may fly overhead in a holding pattern waiting for a share).

Cook for 5 minutes longer over medium heat, stirring gently and serve with steamed Japanese rice or Arborio rice and oven roasted vegetables (carrots, parsnips and sweet potato are great). You could put the root vegetables in the sauce to cook up like a stew, but I prefer to serve them on the side.

Note: This dish is unlike most Indian Curry dishes and calls for it to be sweet and hot. IF it is not sweet enough add more honey 2 tablespoons at a time until desired sweetness is achieved. Likewise, if you want the dish spicy hot add more ground cayenne pepper until your desired level of heat is reached. Add both the additional honey and cayenne before the roux is added so they can cook for at least a few minutes.
Enjoy and you’re welcome...