Note: This recipe takes a while to make because of the slow cooking of the beef but if you decide to use the Japanese Curry Broth as a base for a more traditional hot pot - with thin slices of meat and vegetables that you dip in the broth and quickly cook, you can reduce the time.
Japanese curry is strong in flavor but has a subtle sweetness and isn’t terribly spicy, so kids tend to like it over stronger Indian or Thai curries. The low and slow method of cooking the stew meat will break down the meat and leave it juicy and tender - so don’t bother getting higher grade cuts of meat for this as it will do the reverse and result in a tough meat when cooked for longer. You can add other vegetables like, bean sprouts, napa cabbage and shiitake mushrooms to this hot pot but to please my kids, I’ve left only what they like in this one.
Skill Level: Moderate
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
To Make in Advance: Japanese Curry Broth
Japanese Curry Broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons high-quality curry powder
1 tablespoons garam masala
¼ teaspoon ground coffee
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
5 cups chicken stock (you can substitute store-bought stock)
Make the roux. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the flour. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 6-7 minutes. The roux will rise slightly and be a pale brown color with a nutty smell. Add the curry powder, garam masala, ground coffee and white pepper and continue to cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
Make the broth. Heat a 4-quart hot pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat (about 425 degrees for an electric hot pot).
Heat the oil and add the garlic and ginger and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium and stir constantly for about 20 minutes or until onion starts to caramelize. If brown bits start to form on the bottom of the pan from the onion, just scrape them up with a wooden spoon and let them incorporate into the onions.
Stir in the tomato paste, shoyu, brown sugar, roux and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until all the flavors are combined, about 20 minutes.
Kid Friendly Beef Curry Nabe
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ pounds of cubed beef stew meat (chuck meat is best)
salt and pepper
4 carrots, peeled and sliced on opposing diagonals into bite-sized pieces
8-10 small red potatoes, sliced in half or quarters if they are larger
One 10-ounce block extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
steamed rice, for serving
Season the cubed meat with salt. Lightly coat the meat with flour.
Heat a 4-quart hot pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat (about 425 degrees for an electric hot pot)
Heat the olive oil. Add the meat and saute until browned. Cook in batches if necessary so that the meat does not touch.
Ladle the 5 cups of prepared Japanese curry broth into the hot pot until the meat is covered. Bring to a boil.
Reduce to simmer, cover for 1 hour
Add the carrots and the potatoes. Cover and cook for an additional 45 minutes.
Add tofu. Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve healthy portions over a bowl of hot steamed rice.