There are lots of things different here in the UK as compared to India.
Like for example, many of us (Indian parents/grandparents) pride ourselves in saying our children are ‘Oh soooo naughtyyyy….’ whereas here ‘naughty’ indicates the kid is ‘bad’!
And when I say ‘tea’ I really mean the sweet, hot liquid with milk.. tea! Not the ‘London’ version of tea that means a nice evening snack (that tea is a part of!)
Or for example, ‘curry’, which to me, means vegetables, diced/chopped/etc, tempered with mustard seeds and seasoned with regular, mundane spices and not a thick gravy flavoured with cream or coconut milk! Which by the way, reminds me of what a local tour operator once said… ‘Britain’s favourite food isn’t Fish n Chips, but ‘Chicken Curry’!
So here is a dish, that we absolutely LOVE! With a Japanese/Chinese flavour, this is a one-course dish, scrumptious, filling, healthy (well, in part!) and absolutely droolicious.
Its actually a signature dish of Wagamama, called ‘Yasai Katsu Curry’ (Fried vegetables curry with rice). Obviously this is the ‘vegetarian’ version (actually, ‘eggetarian’ as you do need a little bit of egg to coat the veggies in). However, you could easily replace the veggies with slices of chicken and it would taste just as good (my non-vegetarian friends would claim it tastes even better!) The curry here refers to a Japanese style of curry. Wiki says it all!
First, let me post a picture.. to see if it tempts you!!
Ok, so I hope I have your very kind (stomach-growling) attention now!
Before I very generously share this magic recipe with you, let me give you an estimate of how much time this dish takes, to make. Er.. around an hour (more, if you make all the ingredients from scratch, and less, if you decide to play smart like I did, and buy some of it from the store).
The trick, really, is to get all the ingredients ready before-hand, and then the actually cooking/serving is actually quite quick.
I can guarantee you, the effort is really worth it, considering this is a one-pot meal, that your folks are going to LOVE!
So, for the ingredients.
We actually have FOUR sets of components here.
1) For the main Yasai Katsu:
(a) Vegetables like Brinjal (aubergine), Butternut squash and Sweet potato work best. Just slice them. This really depends on how you want your veggies. Wagamama serves thick slices, whereas I like em thin so I sliced a brinjal into 0.5 thickness.
(b) Half a cup of ordinary white flour with a pinch of salt
(c) Two full cups of a mixture of crumbs (Bread crumbs and plain salt crackers (I used Melba Toasts) ground into fine crumbs, to add a crisp texture to the veggies)
(d) One egg, beaten lightly.
You could add your choice of spices to any of these, really. I just added some salt to the flour, and some more salt, coriander powder and tumeric powder (Tee hee… an Indian cook after all!) to the bread crumbs mixture. But make it the way you like it. If you like your food spicy, then go for it!
2) The side: Now you could serve either crunchy vegetables or a side salad. I chose the veggies, simple because I had no salad at home Take your pick of colourful capsicum(peppers), baby-corn, mange-tout… vegetables that will suit a quick stir-fry.
3) White rice. You could either use plain ponni rice/sona masoori rice or basmati rice. It tastes good either way. Wagamama serves this dish with some yummy sticky white rice, that I have NO clue how to make. So I faithfully stuck to our aromatic basmati
4) And lastly, the curry sauce. Now, Google says it is to be prepared this way.
Onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder – Fry it all, simmer with a little water for about 15 mins, cool it, and grind it with a little more water. Simmer again for about 15 mins.
Now, how do you cook this delicious meal? Really , truly simple!
Step 1: Cook your rice. I washed 1 cup of basmati rice, added 2 cups of water to it, and chucked the bowl into the microwave, first for 10 mins, then a quick stir, and another 7 minutes.
Step 2: Now, while your rice is getting cooked, take a couple of minutes to grind the bread and the crackers together to get a fine bread-crumbs mixture. Beat an egg, and keep it aside. Keep the flour ready. Start heating up the oil. Don’t slice your brinjal until it is time to fry them.
Step 3: Get your curry sauce organized. I’ll be honest. I didn’t make the curry sauce myself. Just bought a pack of ‘curry sauce powder’ from the supermarket and added it to boiling water. Voila!! A nice, thick, sticky curry sauce.
Step 4: Roughly chop your side vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Heat one teaspoon of mild/medium olive oil (for health reasons… well, don’t ask me why I insist on olive oil, when the bleddy veggies are going to be deep-fried!!), and throw the veggies in. Stir-fry on high heat for about 3 mins and take them off the pan. Puhlees, for heaven’s sake, don’t cook them soggy!
So, tell me, did you like it? Did you?