Talking with people the last few days, apparently this dish isn’t as widely known as I’d thought. They are well worth making. I made 24 to shoot this video; giving them away made me very popular with my neighbors and the rest freeze and thaw just fine, especially in an air fryer.
Here’s the video I made with the recipe.
Oh, btw, I went to cooking school in Hyderabad, India for six months and the method of adding water three times in making the masala is the standard and makes any curry better. The water is said to further release the flavor in the spices and pull the caramel from the pan and onions, and this is my experience. It does take much longer but your guests will be able to taste the difference.
Spices for the Masala
1 piece Indian cinnamon
3-5 cardamon pods
1 tsp cumin
1/2 star anise
1-5 red chilies
(optional spices include)
1 piece mace
1 Indian bay leaf
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper corns
Red chilies peppers
Red chilies powder
1/2 - 1 cup chopped onion
1 - 2 cups daikon (holds his shape, so adds mouthfeel
1 cup potato (or sweet potato)
1 - 2 cups kabocha or firm squash (like butternut)
1 cup carrot
(optional vegetables include)
1 cup egg plant
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup cauliflower
1/4 oil or ghee
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1 can/cup of chopped tomatoes
1 tbs garam masala powder
Salt to taste
For the Bread
1 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
200 grams bread flour
120ml water (or milk, which deeps the color)
1 tbs butter
Dice your vegetables.
Prepare your spices.
Heat the oil in a pan. In the video I use a special vessel to heat the oil and pour it into the fry pan.
Add the spices to the oil and cook just until the cumin pops or starts to color.
Add the onions to stop the cooking in the pan.
On a med-high heat cook the onions stirring constantly so as not to burn the spices. Cook until they’re very brown (as in the video). This can take up to 20 minutes.
Add one cup warm-hot water (I keep a pot of water boiling beside the fry pan when making masala.)
Cook until the water evaporates and you can see the oil again. The water releases flavor components from the spices and caramel from the onions. You will notice the color changes to a nice brown.
Add a second cup of water and cook until the water evaporates.
Add a third cup of water and do the same.
When you see the oil add the ginger garlic paste and cook for one minute to remove the sharpness.
Add the tomatoes. This stops the cooking in the pan to protect the ginger and garlic.
Cook until most, not necessarily all, the water evaporates. You want to partly caramelize the tomato.
Add in the turmeric, chilies, and any chili powder, stir, and then add the first vegetable. Here, the daikon. This again stops the cooking in the pan protecting your tomatoes.
Cook for five minutes, which begins to release the water and warm the daikon.
Add the potatoes and cook five more minutes.
Add the carrots and cook five more minutes.
Add the squash and then 2 cups of water. Season with 1 tsp salt.
When the water boils, add egg plant or cauliflower (if using).
Cover and cook for 45-60 on med-low heat.
Check back every ten minutes to stir and monitor water evaporation.
10 minutes before it’s done, add the green peas (if using).
When finished, add 1 tablespoon garam masala and stir.
Correct for salt and set aside – or eat.
For the Bread
Add yeast, salt, sugar to the water.
After dissolved, add the flour and butter and knead into a ball.
Rest until at least doubled.
Shape into 8 equally sized balls.
Making the Curry Pan
Roll out the dough and stuff with 1 - 2 tablespoons of the curry.
Dip in beaten egg and panko.
Fry in 180C/350F until they are a nice shade of brown.
It’s funny you posted this because I ate it for the first time two weeks ago, at a Korean bakery chain in NYC. It’s common at similar outlets here.
TLDR: not my thing. The outside was greasy (I didn’t realize it was deep fried, that’s on me), and I don’t love the Japanese version of curried potato-carrot filling. The same place makes gorgeous pastries, so the “opportunity cost” of having picked this over one of them is probably what bothered me most.
Color me impressed about 6 months of cooking school… however you then know that there is nothing formulaic like “adding water three times… is standard” in any kind of indian cooking - in Hyderabad or anywhere else
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
Indeed so. Until I read Madhur Jaffrey’s “Curry Bible”, I didnt realise how much the “curry diaspora” had spread and evolved. I mean I knew that, say, chicken tikka masala was created in Britain, although probably based on murgh makhani but not that “curry” had found its way to the likes of Japan.
It’s amazing how many things made their way to Japan and became iconic parts of japanese cuisine.
Ramen is lo mein… Then there are entire reworked sub-cuisines - “Tokyo italian,” Yoshuku ie “western” food, and so on.
What has been fascinating to me over many years is how the global fascination with Japan and japanese food culture elevates all such bastardizations, where in other cuisines they would be looked down upon as exactly that.
Ya know, over here they stuff them with pretty much every kind of curry you can imagine. There are festivals where people from around the country show off their regional versions. Trust me, Japanese beef curry (with proper wa-gyu) is amazing. Any there are baked versions, too.
I was first introduced to Japanese curry/stew as a young adult and thought there was a remarkable resemblance to Indian curries in terms of the spice profile, although my own experiences with Indian curries were that they were more chunks in sauce and Japanese were sauce with chunks. I’ve had a good amount of luck replicating the Japanese version at home with curry cubes from an Asian grocer.
Thanks also for the insight about why water is added multiple times in the process. I have a few Ethiopian stewed veggie recipes that employ the same method of adding 1/4 or 1/3 cup water several times, and I could never figure out why. Now I have possible explanations!
I find the use of the word “curry” interesting indeed! Growing up I always thought of it as West Indian, and husband still does. Of course, he thinks of almost everything is Jamaican in origin, and pronunciations other than is are just wrong. He gets apoplectic about how others pronounce plantain.