Japanese beef curry
Serves 4 with leftovers
You can substitute chicken, pork, or firm tofu in this dish. Cut tofu into 3-inch pieces; simmer only the vegetables for 15 minutes or until tender. Add the curry, stir to dissolve it, then add the tofu and cook for a few minutes to heat it through.
1 1/2 cups short-grain white rice, well rinsed under a running tap
5 3/4 cups water
1 1/4 pounds stew beef (such as round), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 kiwi, peeled and grated or 1/2 apple (skin intact), grated
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, thickly sliced
3 carrots, thickly sliced on the diagonal
2 large russet potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 package (4 ounces) Japanese-style curry roux, broken up
1/4 cup red ginger (beni shoga)
1/2 cup pickled scallions (rakkyo)
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rice and 1 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, set on the cover askew, and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and set on the lid securely. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and remove the lid. With a rubber spatula, fluff the rice. Replace the lid and let the rice steam for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the beef, grated kiwi or apple, half the garlic, and plenty of salt and pepper. Set aside for 20 minutes.
3. In a large flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, carrots, and remaining garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Cook the beef, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until it is browned.
5. Return the carrot mixture to the pan with 3 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and set on the cover askew. Simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface occasionally. Add the potatoes and simmer 10 minutes more.
6. Add the curry roux and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until the chunks dissolve and the stew thickens, and the meat is tender. Add more water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the mixture seems too thick. Set aside 3 cups of stew for the noodles.
7. In 4 shallow bowls, spoon rice on one side, beef curry on the other. Serve with pickled red ginger and scallions.