Mandy from Lady and Pups has been one of my biggest flavor inspirations for years. I think we share a penchant for flavors that pack a punch and innovations that some might consider sacrilegious.
She is also a pioneer in the moody style of food photography I thought I’d end up doing before I turned into a brightly colored butterball. So when her book The Art of Escapism Cooking came out last year, I just had to have it.
Where Mandy and I drift apart is that I tend to like short cuts where she appears to be a gluton for punishment. The chapter Shit I Eat When I’m By Myself thus rang the most true to me, and this kare (Japanese curry brick) risotto was the first recipe I cooked from Escapism.
What are Japanese curry bricks?
Now you can make your own curry bricks, but Japanese food tends to be high quality at all levels. And making life harder for yourself is so not the point of this dish. So get yourself some bricks.
Because I get greedy when I go to my bigger Asian supermarket, I got a few brands. My favorite was the Kokumaro-brand. The hot version isn’t that hot, and it has a nice creamy edge to it that I get off on.
All the brands I got were hot. Some packed too much of a punch for me, were too salty or too bland. Do with that information what you will. I’d recommend trying a bunch if you can afford to. If not, go with Kokumaro and blame me (no refunds tho).
How do you eat Japanse curry risotto?
This is a very filling main course and it really doesn’t need anything else.
I added frozen peas to mine for some greens. Broccoli would probably also work. But I like all green veggies.
If you have to eat this as a side I would cook whatever greens you are having separately and serve it with chicken or pork schnitzel for Tonkatsu (Japanese schnitzel) vibes and use the recipe below to serve two.
Some things to look out for
I thought I’d get smart and fancy with this recipe and not read the instructions properly, so the first time I made it with arborio rice in my Instant Pot. This was a bad idea.
Curry bricks are an instant cooking solution and don’t need a lot of time to thicken (or burn). Use leftover rice from the day before (or: make sure you have leftover rice at hand).
I have on occasion been out of ginger and curry powder to add and didn’t miss these. I did try and make this without any of Mandy’s additions to the bricks at some point and that was very meh, so please don’t omit too much. Though I also didn’t miss the Parm on days where I’d run out.
What I did miss is this recipe on days where I didn’t have any curry bricks. The egg yolk really is a must-have finishing touch. So on to the recipe.
Curry Risotto from The Art of Escapism Cooking
- 1 c / 250 ml chicken stock
- 3 tbsp / 45 ml milk most variaties work - more as needed
- 30 gr Japanese curry bricks whichever brand you like, can find or afford
- 2 tbsp caramelized onion powder I buy ready-made caramelized onions and smash them to a pulp
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1/2 tsp / 3 gr ginger freshly grated
- 2 tsp / 12 gr unsweetened cocoa powder yes really
- 2 tsp / 12 gr curry powder
- 1/2 tsp / 3 gr Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp / 3 gr honey
- 1 1/4 c 160 gr rice pre-cooked, leftover is fine
- 1 egg yolk you can freeze the whites for up to one year
- Parmesan grated, to serve
- black pepper freshly ground, to taste
- 1 c / 125 gr peas fresh or frozen, optional
- Combine everything 1 c/ 250 ml chicken stock, 3 tbsp/ 45 ml milk, 30 gr curry brick, 1 tbsp/ 15 gr caramelized onion powder, clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp/ 3 gr of ginger, mustard, honey and the 2 tsp/ 12 gr of cacao and curry powder in a heavy based saucepan until everything is thoroughly mixed.
- Bring to a simmer and stir until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Add 1 1/4 c/ 160 gr rice and 1 c/ 125 gr peas and warm through. Adjust thickness with milk if so desired.
- Serve with 1 raw egg yolk on top and lots of the grated Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.