Cooking with Anime by Emily Bushman
Welcome 2018! This is my first food recipe of 2018, and I couldn't be more excited about it. Laid-Back Camp, the adorable new 2018 winter anime, is all about a girl getting away from the hustle and bustle of regular life to go camping for the weekend. As someone who just came back from a two-week winter break, I can tell you that there is no better thing to do while "getting away from it all" than eating some really, really good food. To be fair, camping food is not my go-to comfort food, but the recipe we're talking about this week has a certain charm to it.
In the first episode, our main character, Rin, shares a cup of instant curry-men with a strange girl she comes across. I know what you're thinking – curry-men? Emily, how can you make a recipe for a cup of instant noodles? Isn't that the point, though? They're instant and easy and require no cooking, and are therefore PERFECT for a camping trip? YES, you are correct. However, the idea of eating a delicious bowl of curry ramen so appealed to me that I knew I had to try it. I looked for instant curry-men in my local Asian grocery stores, but couldn't find it. So, instead I decided to make an at-home version, perfect for the people who both want to indulge in something warm and comforting, but who can't get ahold of the instant version themselves. Plus, I can almost guarantee that this version tastes better than cup noodles.
Now, I've never actually seen curry ramen – to be honest, curry is a soup base you would not normally see in a typical ramen shop in Japan. However, curry udon is quite popular, so I knew curry soup could certainly be done. And, Japanese curry is really, really easy to make if you use a pre-made box roux, so I figured it would be possible to keep the recipe simple while maximizing flavor. Though not quite as easy as instant noodles to make, I also wouldn't call this a difficult recipe. In the end, I modified a curry udon recipe to tailor the ingredients to what you'd see in a cup of instant ramen, and substituted ramen for udon. You could use fresh, or ramen from a package. I went with fresh and loved it, but instant ramen noodles are cheap and a cinch to make as well. I would recommend either for this recipe!
Whether you can or can't find an instant version, you should definitely try out this recipe. It's quick, easy, and warms you right through. Now, if you could only eat it while gazing at Mt. Fuji... To start making your own, watch the video below for instructions!
Ingredients for the Curry-Men
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 large carrot, diced and quartered
- 1 small or 1/2 large golden potato, cubed (small)
- 1 steak/ 8 oz beef, cubed
- Cooking oil
- 3 cups dashi stock
- 1 tbsp sake
- 2 cubes of curry roux, hot spice level
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 portions cooked ramen noodles
- Green onion for garnish
To Make the Curry-Men
1. Prepare all ingredients. Mince shallot, dice and quarter carrot, cube potato, cube beef, and portion out sake and soy sauce. Chop green ends of green onion for garnish. Make dashi, if necessary.
2. Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in pan over high heat. When hot, add shallots and allow to cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Add in potatoes and carrots for about 2-3 minutes, then add beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Season as you go.
4. Add in dashi broth and sake. Bring to a simmer, and cook about 10 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the top of the pan. While waiting, bring a pot of water to boil for ramen.
5. After ten minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through, add in soy sauce and curry roux. Allow curry roux cubes to melt.
6. While curry roux is melting, cook ramen noodles, about 1.5 minutes, if fresh, or 2-3 minutes, if instant. Drain and portion into bowls to serve.
7. Finally, stir soup base one last time, taste, and make final seasoning adjustments – add more salt if necessary. Ladle soup into bowls containing ramen noodles.
8. Garnish with green onion and serve!