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Curry Udon

Japanese curry? Actually, curry has been a part of Japanese cuisine for more than a hundred years. The Japanese navy adopted it in the nineteenth century from their British counterparts, who ate it on ships. Soon, eating curry on Friday became a Japanese naval tradition. And not just for sailors. Japanese citizens fell in love with curry, too, especially kids. I should know—I was one of them. When I was growing up, I was crazy about curry. Now my own kids adore it, especially in this dish. You can use any cut of beef that you like. If you want to go upscale, try rib eye, but even beef scraps work just fine.–Takashi Yagihashi

Curry Udon Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • For the udon broth
  • 3 cups dashi (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • For the curry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 cup peeled and thinly sliced salsify
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 6 cups Udon Broth
  • 3 ounces medium-hot Japanese curry sauce mix (see Notes)
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces beef, sliced paper thin (ask your butcher to slice it for you)
  • 1 pound dried udon noodles
  • 2 scallions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 8 mitsuba leaves, thinly sliced

Directions

  • Make the udon broth
  • 1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Make the curry
  • 2. Set a large saute or wide-bottomed pan over high heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot, about 30 seconds, add the onions and salsify. Cook for 1 minute, then decrease the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, approximately 45 seconds longer. Add the curry powder and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed, about 30 seconds.
  • 3. Pour the broth over the vegetables and increase the heat to high. Add the curry sauce mix and stir until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in the milk and heat for 1 minute. Stir in the beef and cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
  • 4. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, following package instructions. Drain well. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Into each bowl pour one-fourth of the curry broth and the beef and garnish with the scallions and mitsuba leaves.

Notes

  • For two quarts of dashi, place 2 large pieces of kombu, or kelp, (approximately 10 by 4 inches each) in a large stockpot filled with 9 cup of water and let it soak at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove the kombu, and decrease the heat so the liquid is simmering. Add 3 cups packed katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and gently mix into the liquid; do not stir vigorously. Simmer for 10 minutes longer, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Japanese curry sauce mix is sold ready-made as a paste in Japanese and Asian food stores. It comes in different degrees of heat.
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