Whenever Japanese people ask what your favorite food is, do everyone a favor and don’t say “sushi.” Because sushi is what they think you’re going say. It’s what they want to hear. But that’s like a black guy saying his favorite food is fried chicken. Now it may be—-who doesn’t like fried chicken?—-but if you’re black, you don’t say it. I don’t know why, since I’m white, but that’s just how things work.
So don’t say “sushi.” Instead, say “curry.” Because curry is every Japanese person’s favorite food. I mean, I guess if you’re black, you could say “sushi,” because at least that’s your second worst answer, but still, “curry” is better. Try it—-ask a Japanese guy what his favorite food is. He’ll think for a moment and then say something like “Uuh, fried chicken.” Because really his favorite food is curry, but if you’re Japanese, you don’t say it. That’s just how things work.
Curry actually is my favorite food. See, I’m not afraid to admit it. I eat it about five times a week, because making it is butt easy and it tastes fantastic. But before you rush off and mix up a steaming vat of deliciousness, you need to make sure that curry is appropriate for your situation. People are really good at talking about how to do this or that, and really bad at discussing whether or not you should. Belly dancing’s an excellent example. Anyway, curry.
The Curry Suitability Calculator
To determine if curry is the right choice, right now, simply rate the following on a scale of 1 to 10:
|How broke are you?|
|Is payday still a really, really long way off?|
|When you look at your naked body in the mirror, how much do you think, Oh the hell, I might as well just eat that tub of ice cream and worry about dieting tomorrow?|
|How sure are you that you won’t suffer a massive coronary in the next half hour should you suddenly introduce a significant amount of saturated fat into your arteries?|
The higher the number, the higher your Curry Suitability Factor. Anything above 25 and you can safely put on your chef’s hat. I assume I’m not the only one who wears one instead of pants in the evenings. I really gotta buy some curtains. Anyway, you’d ideally want to make curry after blowing your entire monthly paycheck on too much booze and sushi, then failing to hunger-strike your way to payday. That’s when it’s at its flavor peak.
How to Make Curry
Once you’ve determined that you’re A) broke and B) don’t give a damn what you look like, it’s time to get cooking. Now, If you’re a real man’s man, then making curry involves only two steps:
1. Put a bunch of stuff in a pot
2. Add some curry
That’s about it. All the macho people in the house can stop reading at this point. If, on the other hand, you’re a guy who moved to Japan for some reason he can no longer remember and then started trimming his eyebrows and wearing skinny trousers, then you probably need a few more details. Never fear—-man’s man Ken Seeroi has got your back. I know that sounds kind of gay, but just relax and go with it. Sure whatever. That’s the attitude. Anyway, let’s get started. Go buy yourself some
You’ll also need a package of Japanese curry. That’s the secret sauce. And don’t think you can just fake it with Indian or Thai curry or something. That’s not the same stuff. Japanese curry comes in cubes, and is dark, sweet, and thick. Picture floating in a bathtub full of molasses. It’s packaged like chocolate, and no, you can’t just eat it straight with some carrot sticks, because I know a guy who tried that while drunk and it was not tasty at all. So you’re gonna have to actually do a minor amount of cooking.
Could you make your own curry from scratch and not use the cubes? Sure, but then you could also craft a pot from mud and forge your own iron stove too. Jeez, buy some cubes and get eating already. Packaged curry comes in spiciness ranging from Mild to Holy Fuck, and you can probably find it in your local Japanese grocery store. Or if you live in the middle of a forest or swamp or somewhere, you can order it from Amazon. Maybe someday I’ll branch out into the curry export business. 2014.
All right, once you’ve laid your hands on the necessary ingredients, first wash and peel the vegetables. Japanese people peel everything. If you’re worried about losing the valuable vitamins in the skin, well, take a multivitamin or something, and that’ll give you the strength to keep peeling. Cube the potatoes and soak them in water for a couple of minutes so your curry doesn’t taste all starchy. See, now you’re like a real cook.
What to add to Curry
Do you like meat? Cut up some meat. How about chicken, seafood, or that leftover thing in the back of your fridge? Get chopping. You can put in any damn thing you want, because in the end it’s all just going to taste like curry anyway. Depending on how freaky you like to get, you might want to add garlic, mushrooms, beans, Japanese pumpkin, okra, asparagus, or spinach. Personally, if it’s vegetable matter and it’s in my kitchen, into the fiery cauldron it goes.
So cut whatever you’ve got into large chunks and put it all in a big pot. How much to put in depends entirely upon how much you like leftovers. I love them, since it means I don’t have to cook again for like two months. Curry is infinitely scalable, so long as you maintain Ken Seeroi’s golden ratio of one onion/two carrots/four small potatoes. Or not, whatever. Hey, it’s just cooking, not a science experiment on your stove. Then sauté everything in little bit in a bit of oil. That’s French for “pan fry.” Now you’re getting all international. Then add some water and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the magic curry cubes. How many? What am I, Betty Crocker? I’ve no idea. If it tastes weak, add more. If it tastes too strong, add some water. The cubes will dissolve and create a rich and deliciously artery-clogging stew where the longer you simmer it, the better it’ll taste. Curry is pretty impossible to screw up. Just make sure the potatoes are done.
Curry Secret Ingredients
Everyone’s got their favorite secret ingredient that they add to curry. Some people put in chocolate, apple sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, coffee, or some crazy thing they dreamed up when they were stoned. That alone is reason enough to avoid ever going to someone’s house for curry. For me, I put in exactly nada due to my incredible whiteness. That’s Spanish for “a big cup of nothing.” I figure the S&B Curry factory employs about twenty thousand people who are all way more Japanese than I am and if there was something more delicious they could have added, they’d have already done so. Like there’s probably not some Quality Control manager saying, No, that would make our product taste too good, better not put that in. Okay, maybe you could add a bit of soy sauce, but other than that, nada.
You can eat curry without any toppings, but a lot of people (okay, me) like to add something cooling to contrast the heavy flavor. Pickled radishes or onions are good choices. But make sure to use Japanese pickles, not those damn green dilly things that come in a jar. Diced tomatoes also work. If you’ve got guests coming, like maybe some Japanese girl named Naoko or something, you can pile on some flash-fried vegetables, such as broccoli or eggplant, and she’ll say Oh, that looks so nice. To balance out any lingering feelings of health, you can also liberally apply Japanese mayonnaise to your plate while she’s not looking. But Japanese mayonnaise, not that horrible sour American stuff that comes in a jar. (Americans love stuff in jars, because it’s a step up from cans. That signifies High Class.)
How to eat Curry
Curry goes with pretty much anything—-rice, bread, hell, just dip your palms into it and it’ll taste fantastic. For me, I like rice, but then I’ve got sensitive hand parts. I always think of Mitch Hedberg when he said, Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something. But no matter what, use a spoon, not chopsticks, because if you eat with chopsticks, some girl named Naoko will say,
“You know, we eat curry with a spoon.
“Pass the pickled onions,” you’ll reply. “And what’s wrong with chopsticks?
“Such a gaijin,” Naoko will snicker. “It’s too soupy for Japanese people, so we use a spoon.
“You said you didn’t even like curry. I thought your favorite food was fried chicken.
“Who doesn’t like fried chicken?
“Black people, apparently. Then how do you eat miso soup?
“With chopsticks, of course,” she’ll reply. “But that’s different.”
Well, you gotta speak truth to power, but when it comes to Naoko, I suggest you use a spoon. Anyway, if you do the whole thing right and don’t drink too much beer during the cooking process, you should be able to make a flaming vat of wonderful in about 30 minutes, which if you eat it for a month like, uh, some people I know, works out to exactly one minute of cooking per day. Okay, that’s still a lot, but it beats spending eight bucks at CoCo Ichibanya down the street on a daily basis. Curry, like love, is best made at home, or possibly out in a park. Anyway, go get some potatoes and get cooking. Heaven awaits.