Welcome to The Avocado’s weekly discussion of Japanese pop culture! As I was watching Sing “Yesterday” for Me the other day, I was reminded of the very first Japanese dish I successfully made: curry and rice.
When I was in college I pretty much lived off peanut butter sandwiches, instant ramen, and pasta. This is not an exaggeration. But one day I decided I was going to try expanding my culinary skills and attempt making Japanese curry and rice. This was a pretty big leap for me, but I was so inspired by one of my favorite anime at the time: Kyo Kara Maoh! I haven’t watched the show in years, but every time I see curry I think of it because it was described in such a loving way that it left a very strong impression on me. The main character’s mom makes curry several times throughout the series, and even claims that her curry is the key to world peace (or something like that, it’s been a long time and my memory is fuzzy).
Of course, her curry is completely homemade and simmers for hours, but the Internet informed me that you could make a pretty great curry with the store bought sauce mix, and I was lucky enough to have a grocery store nearby that sold it. So, I cut up some carrots and potatoes, boiled them, cooked some stew meat, and added the sauce, letting it simmer just long enough to mix it all together, and served it alongside some rice. And it was delicious! The most delicious thing I had ever eaten! Finally, I had something substantial to eat! And I felt like a real cooking pro for being able to make it. Of course, I realize now that it’s an incredibly easy dish to make, but I still love it just as much. Since my college days I’ve learned that it tastes even better if cooked all day in a slow cooker with the addition of onions (I foolishly thought I didn’t like onions when I was younger), that you can substitute the meat for cauliflower, and that it isn’t that hard to make it from scratch.1 I’ve even been lucky enough to eat Japanese curry in Japan!
But, after all that, my favorite curry is still the simple curry I make at home in my slow cooker using the store bought sauce mix. Sometimes, that’s all you need. The perfect comfort food that, while not likely to bring about world peace, certainly lifts my spirits whenever I eat it. With each bite I’m transported right back to feeling like I’m in college again watching Kyo Kara Maoh! 2 everyday and cooking a real meal for myself the first time. What about you? Do you have a favorite curry-making method and/or memory? If so, please share!
And, as always…
What have you been watching/reading/playing/eating/listening to lately?
Happy Wednesday! 🙂