Tuesday, October 9, 2012

VeganMoFo Day 7: Japanese Curry Pan

Japanese curry is one of my favorite foods. In contrast to Indian curries (which I also love), it’s sweetened with grated apples and sometimes contains Worcestershire sauce. It’s usually served with rice, but you can also get a taste of it in Japanese kare-pan (curry bread). Muracci's in San Francisco offers a delicious veggie curry pan…talk about the best of both worlds:  savory and sweet curry all wrapped up in pillow of bread and coated with crispy panko breadcrumbs.

If you’re making the curry and bread all in the same day, you should start with the dough first, since it requires a few hours to rise. You should also let the curry cool down before filling the dough. It would probably be best to make the curry a day or two in advance.
Makes 8 pieces.  Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup water, warmed to 110°F - 115°F
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery sticks, melted and cooled
1 cup water
1 cup of Japanese curry (recipe below)
Egg replacer for 4 eggs (I used Ener-G powder mixed with water)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 cups canola oil, for frying
  1. Mix the yeast, ¼ cup warm water, and a pinch of sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.
  2. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, melted Earth Balance, and 1 cup of water. Mix with a fork until a dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for about 60-90 minutes, until it doubles in size.
  5. Punch down the dough, cover again, and let sit for another 45 minutes.
  6. Punch the dough down again and knead for 2 minutes.
  7. Cut the dough into 8 pieces and set aside.
  1. Roll out each piece of dough into a 6-inch circle and place a spoonful of the curry in the center.
  2. Brush water around the edge of the dough, fold over, and pinch to close.
  3. Dip each dough ball into the egg replacer mixture and then into the panko breadcrumbs to cover. Transfer to a plate or baking sheet. 
  4. Cover the breaded dough balls with a clean towel and let rise while you heat the oil to 350°F in a large skillet or Dutch oven.
  5. Once the oil is heated, place dough balls (1-2 at a time) into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  6. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool.

For the curry:

In a pinch, you can use those pre-made blocks of roux, such as S&B Golden Curry. The packaged stuff is usually high in sodium, MSG, and other unsavory things, so check the label if those are things you’re trying to avoid. I used the Japanese curry recipe featured in the March 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times (posted online here). You can make the curry while waiting for your dough to rise.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, cut into ½-inch-thick half moons
2 ½ tablespoons curry powder, such as S&B
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 ⅔ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small apple, peeled and finely grated
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, such as Annie's
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 cup fresh or frozen shelled edamame or peas
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Sauté onion 7 to 9 minutes, or until it starts to brown.
  3. Add carrots, and sauté 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in curry powder and garlic, and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  5. Add broth, potatoes, apple, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and miso.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  7. Add edamame or peas, and simmer 5 minutes more.

Some notes:
  • Next time I’ll either mash the curry or cut the carrots and potatoes into smaller pieces so that it’s more manageable when filling the dough.
  • I’ll also roll the dough out thinner, because I ended up with more bread than curry in the final product.
  • I’ll also add cubes of tofu to the curry.  :)
As you can see, curry pan-making is quite a process, but I had to try it out. It’s such a fabulous snack and now I have a greater appreciation for the folks at Muracci’s. Try it out and let me know know how it goes!