Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On tonkatsu sauce, and a curry story

I just wanted to feature two of my favorite things which can be found in a Japanese grocery. And yes, what you're seeing in the photo is a box of Golden Curry and a bottle of Bulldog tonkatsu sauce.


Now, both those things are special to me if only because during the times when I was still too shy whenever I entered a J-grocery (well... I was always afraid that I'll look like another trying-hard baka-gaijin-otaku to the Japanese folks who frequented the same grocery), those were the first two things which I dared to try out. I was afraid because I thought I looked like a baka-gaijin-otaku, because these things are a lot more expensive than the usual stuff I pick up from the grocery, and because I was afraid that I'd waste my hard-earned money on something that tasted awful.

Anyway, I ended up buying it, taking it home, and then ultimately loving the darn things.

Now, my kitchen doesn't seem to be complete without tonkatsu sauce around (although it doesn't necessarily have to be the Bulldog brand), in much the same way that it isn't complete if I had no salt handy. I use it on a lot of things. Besides using it for dip for fried things and some veggies, I've discovered that it also makes a tasty substitute for Oyster sauce in some dishes. I've also used it as dressing once, and I've even used it on pasta and I've also made plenty of tonkatsu-flavored onigiri.

The curry, however is a different story.

At first, I got accustomed to buying the pre-cooked, ready-to-serve variety which already had bits of meat and potato in it. All I had to do was heat some water in a bowl, then soak the curry packet in the hot bath for a couple of minutes before I could tear off the top and start eating.

I later heard that Golden Curry was a good brand preferred by most, so I decided to try it. UNFORTUNATELY, when I opened the box, I found two foil-sealed plastic trays which I honestly thought was also filled with the ready-to-eat variety which I got used to. So, I opened the corners of the trays and soaked them in hot water.

Lo and behold, after the requisite three minutes, I was surprised that the curry inside the trays was still NOT in the slushy state that they were supposed to be. I took off the foil completely and was dumbfounded to find BLOCKS of dehydrated (?) curry whose sides were only a tiny bit soft to the touch.

Since I had to serve it soon, I panicked, and it was only then that it occurred to me to dump the stuff in a pot and add water. Here, I made two bad mistakes:

- since I was caught off-guard, I didn't have any fresh meat and vegetables around. Some potatoes, some carrots, and an onion would have been nice...

- I placed BOTH blocks of curry in the pot. I found out later that unless you're planning to feed about four or five people, ONE should have been enough.

So, I ended up with way too much bland curry which I and my boyfriend then had to bear with for two days. @_@

Thankfully, the curry was yummy, even by itself, but I couldn't help but feel absolutely silly about my botched cooking session. I still do, actually...

At least, I now know that by next time, I WILL have meat and vegetables ready. And some milk to serve with it. :p

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