Curry + a toasty warm bread bowl is the stuff legends are made from- the ULTIMATE comfort food.
By some twist of fate, I made something truly delicious and sacred this week. Upon tasting it, the heavens opened up to me and said "Go forth and spread the gospel of the curry bread bowl", so here I am.
Let me start at the beginning...After a few kitchen problems (my roommates are all getting ready to move out, meaning my kitchen is severely crippled. I didn't really realize it, but I don't actually own any pots or pans...I've always depended on my roommates for these things), I came to the conclusion that this week I'd have to go simple or throw the towel in. After originally planning some really fancy looking crepes from Bungo Stray Dogs, I was forced to admit that my kitchen just wasn't up to snuff to handle the delicate flipping required for the dish.
So, I turned to Twitter to seek inspiration. Before I could even ask for food requests, @felladin, almost as if it was fated by the gods, sent me this suggestion on Twitter! I hadn't seen Comet Lucifer, which came out late last year, but none of this mattered because the picture displayed with the request was enough to knock the breath out of my chest with pure wonder and delight. A curry bread bowl. Magic to my bread bowl loving ears! I quickly settled down for some anime binging to test out the series.
The anime itself is adventurous and fun- there's some cool mecha, some cute characters, and a really interesting world. It focuses on a boy who accidentally uncovers a top secret, super powerful weapon that happens to live in the body of a (really adorable) little girl. He brings her home, only to discover some of her crazy powers when she delivers his dinner to him by levitiating it over to his table. What was his dinner, you ask? Answer: That fascinating looking curry-in-a-bread-bowl. Mmmmmmmm.
Now, I live in California, which is famous for exactly two places: Los Angeles and San Francisco. I don't have a whole lot to say about LA, except that it's awfully sunny there, but San Francisco is a different story. San Francisco is famous for a lot of things, but most importantly for my gluttunous little heart, it's famous for clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls.
When I was little, every time we went to San Francisco, I would light up with the promise of clam chowder in a bread bowl. I didn't like seafood at the time, but heaven help the person who tried to deny me clam chowder from San Francisco. But it wasn't just the soup- the promise of a warm, soft, sour bowl made out of BREAD was mind numbingly amazing, and I would devour the entire bowl with a fervor unseen by even the most talented of bread bowl bakers. The esteemed bread bowl was so hallowed by me, regarded as such a special and rare treat, that when Panera became popular, I was absolutely flummoxed by the realization that I could have a bread bowl for my soup any old time I wanted.
So, when I saw this picture of CURRY in a bread bowl, I was intrigued.
1) Would it be good? Answer: Yes, it was good. (Shall I compare thee to a winter's day? Thou art more warm and fragrant. Cold snows do drive us indoors. And winter is too short to fully enjoy the comfort you bring...) So good that I can write bad poetry about it.
2) Which bread would be better, a regular french bread bowl or a sourdough one? Answer: Sourdough was my favorite.
3) How quickly could I put this into my mouth? Answer: Very, very quickly, it turned out.
This recipe, with the right ingredients, was incredibly easy and quick to prepare. I think everything took me about 30 minutes total, and most of that was waiting for the curry to simmer down. So, let's get into it!
- 1 lb stew meat
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 big carrot
- 1 big potato
- 1/2 box of Japanese curry roux (4 pieces; I used Kokumaro (Medium), but Vermont Curry is also popular. Any Japanese roux curry will do, though. Go for medium spicy- trust me. I can't handle spicy at all, but mild tastes sad and boring. Medium is a step up- I'll try spicy next time. The Japanese have a very odd sense of what spicy truly means when it comes to boxed curries.)
- 2 1/8 cups water
- 4 bread bowls (I got this at the popular super market by my apartment. It was available next to the soup bar and also in the artisan bread section. When I bought mine, the package said it was just French bread in the shape of a bread bowl, but it TASTED exactly like sourdough. I thought it was amazing, but am sure it would be good with any kind of white bread.)
Making the Curry Bread Bowl!
Start off by washing and roughly chopping vegetables. Scrub potato well, peel the carrot (I always use the back of a knife- just scrape it along the carrot), and peel the onion. Chop everything into bite-sized pieces.
Cut stew meat into smaller, bite-size pieces if any are too big.
Heat some oil in the bottom of a large stew pot to medium. I had the choice between two that randomly belong to one of my other housemates who has not packed up everything yet. I chose the smaller of the two, and instantly regretted it. Go for a pot or pan that was more surface space on the bottom. When oil is heated, dump stew meat in first, and pile veggies on top. I mixed it all together- don't do as I do. Let the meat be on the bottom. It needs some personal time with the heated part of the pot.
After a few minutes, give everything a good stir. When the meat is brown all over (5-7 minutes total), pour in water according to the curry roux instructions. Mine called for 2 and 1/8 cups water. Bring to a simmer and let cook until vegetables are soft (about 15 minutes). Below are the ingredients without the water.
While simmering, some scum might come to the surface. Just spoon this off and discard.
While the stew continues to simmer, get out your curry roux and cut into smaller pieces. Set aside.
Set your oven to broil, take out your bread bowl, and cut a circle around the top in the size you want the opening to be.
And carefully dig out the innards with your figers, working them down into the bowl along the cut you made. Be careful not to go too deep and take out the whole bottom.
Then, butter the inside of the bowl as well as the lid/extra bread if you are going to serve it with the bread bowl. Pop this into the oven, right under the broiler, and let it lightly brown and get toasty. This took me about 7 minutes but watch it carefully-ovens heat differently and yours may toast faster or more slowly than mine. Feeling around the inside of the bowl, the bread felt dryer and crunchy on top, but still springy underneath.
When veggies are soft, drop in the pieces of roux and stir through. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes. DON'T let it thicken up too much- we want this a bit more liquidy than is normal so there is more sauce to bread.
When ready and everything tastes ok to you (feel free to adjust salt and pepper if you think it needs extra), plate it up into your bread bowl!
OK, so here's the low-down on this dish. I can see you saying: Emily, this is so simple. Does this even count as an anime recipe? It's just curry in a bread bowl, both of which require very little skill or effort to make/ acquire. Also, haven't you ever heard about curry bread, you uncultured swine?
To that I say: Just because it's easy doesn't mean it's not real cooking. And yes it counts because it was in an anime. Also, please don't bring up curry bread. I realize this combination already exists, and I'm here to tell you that THIS is definitely better than curry bread.
More than any of that though, more than anything...this is just plain good. It's simple, it's easy, and the flavor payoff is HUGE. I was kuma-shocked by how tasty and satisfying this dish was. It combines everything great and good about a bread bowl with the interest and flavor-punch a curry brings. I like this better than curry and rice, because the mild sour tast of the bread bowl coupled with the salty-butter crunch and the savory curry was really addictive!
Even better, I can see this as being a PERFECT fall/winter meal (yeah, only caveat- it's burning hot here, making hot foods kind of unappealing at the moment), and I will 100% be making this again. Probably the thing that makes this even, EVEN better is that this recipe is EASILY doubled, and you can feel a crowd a truly impressive (and inexpensive) meal, making yourself look like a cooking champ. Even, EVEN, even better, if you want to make it all for yourself and eat leftovers for a week- you totally can, and they only get tastier.
I hope you enjoyed this post! To check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog for more anime and manga themed food. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like, and DEFINITELY feel free to send me food requests! My tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr.com. Enjoy the food, and if you decide to recreate this dish, show me pics! :D
In case you missed it, check out our last dish: Rem's Stir Fry from "RE:Zero". What other famous anime dishes would you like to see Emily make on COOKING WITH ANIME?