Japanese Kabocha Curry
Ever since I got back from our last trip I’ve been working on perfecting one of my favorite dishes. My Japanese Curry recipe has always been a favorite, but with winter upon us and squash season in full swing I decided to make an alteration and replace potatoes with kabocha squash.
With the sweet and fluffy kabocha squash, this Japanese curry has been a huge hit this season. I’ve also omitted a few ingredients to make this an even easier curry dish! Gluten-free option is available by using gluten-free tamari and sweet rice flour instead of soy sauce and flour.
So far I have shared two similar curry recipes on Vegan Miam, but I promise you this one is far better than any curry recipe I have posted before. The old curry recipe posts aren’t going anywhere, and I have included links to them at end of this post, but the old curry recipes will be removed from my recipe index and be replaced with this new one.
For curry powder, I would recommend using the following:
1) Morton & Bassett Curry Powder (available nationwide or Amazon.com). I use this all the time and recommend it.
Ingredients: turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, mustard flour, cumin, ginger root, black pepper, all spice, cayenne and fennel.
2) S & B Oriental Curry Powder This is available at most Asian supermarkets and Amazon.com.
There are plenty of other curry powders available but when purchasing curry powder choose one that lists the first ingredients as turmeric, fenugreek or coriander. Avoid the orange colored curry powders or any curry powders with cumin as the first ingredient (like the one at Trader Joe’s). That’s not the flavor you want for this type of curry.
Japanese curry roux cubes are available at Asian markets and some grocery stores but I wouldn’t recommend them. Even when you’re fortunate enough to find one that is vegan, they still usually contain a number of heavily processed and questionable ingredients.
I’ve included a post detailing how to prepare kabocha squash. Please read here for more details.
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients½ kabocha squash (about 1½ pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil (sunflower, canola, etc) ½ large yellow onion, thinly sliced 3 ounces carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks (½ cup) 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced ½ tablespoon organic ketchup or tomato paste 2 teaspoons Oriental curry powder* 3 cups vegetable broth (Edward & Sons Not-Beef Bouillon) 1 small (5 ounces) Gala or Fuji apple, peeled, cored and finely grated (use a microplane, should have apple sauce consistency) or unsweetened apple sauce (⅓ cup) ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari ¼ cup frozen edamame or peas, thawed ¼ cup scallions, green parts only, chopped 1 tablespoon unsweetened dairy-free milk toasted sesame seeds, for garnish Salt to taste
For the Roux (see GF option in Notes) ¼ cup neutral-flavored oil (sunflower, canola, etc) ¼ cup all-purpose flour or sweet rice flour 2 tablespoons Oriental curry powder*
Put the cubed kabocha in the rack of a steamer over boiling water and steam for 10 minutes until tender. Drain the kabocha and set aside to cool.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and add the onions. Cook, stirring often until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add tomato paste and curry powder, cook for another minute, until mixed in. Add the broth and carrots, bring to a gentle boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove foam as it forms (optional). When there is no more foam, add grated apple and soy sauce. Cover immediately.
Meanwhile, make the roux. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over low heat, add the flour all at once, whisking until incorporated. Brown roux, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and continue to cook for 2 minutes until fully combined. Remove from heat immediately.
Add a ladleful of liquid (up to 1 cup or more) from the “vegetables” pot into the roux and stir rapidly with a wire whisk until smooth. Add more if needed, then transfer the roux mixture to the “vegetables” pot. Stir constantly until the curry is smooth. Add the frozen peas and kabocha. Cook, stirring often, about 10 more minutes until it thickens a little. Just before serving, stir in the coconut milk and season with salt. Serve over rice with scallions and sesame seeds.
Advance Preparation: The curry is best served the day it’s made, however this will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. The roux can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.
Broth Tip: I use gluten-free Edward & Sons Not-Beef Bouillon for the broth, it provides the curry a lovely dark caramel color and flavors. If you prefer to use water or low-sodium broth, the color of curry will be pale, but taste for seasoning, adding soy sauce or tamari if desired.
Gluten-Free Option: Cook the sweet rice flour over low heat about 5 minutes. The color of the roux will stay pale. If you are unable to find sweet rice flour, try King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour.
Oriental curry powder: See yellow box in the post. I use Morton & Bassett Curry Powder. There are plenty of other curry powders available including S&B Oriental Curry Powder but when purchasing curry powder choose one that lists the first ingredients as turmeric, fenugreek or coriander.
Spicy version: Add ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes or 2 chillies (seeded & finely chopped) in the roux, add more if needed.