But, if you want to do everything in one go, the entire process is detailed below. From cooking the curry to breading the shrimps, they’re all there. Of course, the ingredients list and cooking instructions are both long, but don’t feel intimidated. It’s a doable dish.
While potatoes and carrots are lovely in Japanese chicken curry, I find that they are optional when serving curry sauce with fried meat or seafood. Of course, it’s your choice whether to omit them or not.
Japanese curry sauce
If you prefer a short cut, you can buy Japanese curry sauce in the grocery. It is usually sold in boxes that contain two or more pouches. Each pouch is more than enough for one meal for four people. Note that it is Japanese curry sauce. It’s a sauce, not a powder, and it’s not the same as curry from South Asian or Southeast Asia. They do curry differently in Japan.
It begins with a roux to which curry powder, soy sauce, oyster sauce and honey stirred in. That should already give you an idea how different this is from the common idea of what curry tastes like. If that’s not radical enough, to complete the sauce, the roux is diluted with broth to thin it out and grated apple is thrown into the mixture. So, yes, Japanese curry sauce is on the sweet side and not so spicy.
There are three things you need to familiarize yourself with when cooking this popular Japanese dish:
- How to shell and devein shrimps: There is a technique so you can remove the vein without slitting the back of the shrimp and a tip on how to prevent the shrimps from curling during frying
- Panko (Japanese bread flakes): It is not a good idea to substitute Western-style bread crumbs which, unlike panko, is dense and can harden as the cooked shrimps cool
- How to coat the shrimps before frying: You’ll need an assembly line of flour, beaten eggs and panko
After you’ve gone through those three posts (they come with detailed illustrations), you won’t find the lengthy recipe below intimidating at all.
Shrimp fry (ebi furai) curry
Make the curry roux
- In a sauce pan, melt the butter.
- Stir in the flour, all at once, until the mixture is smooth.
- Cook the roux over medium-low heat, with occasionally stirring, until lightly browned.
- Off the heat, stir in the curry powder, chili flakes, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup and honey. Set aside.
Make the curry sauce
- In a wok, heat the cooking oil.
- Soften the onion slices with a little salt and pepper over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and ginger. Sprinkle in a bit more salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring often, for a minute or two.
- Throw in the carrot and potato cubes, and cook with occasional stirring for a minute.
- Pour in the broth.
- Grate the apple dirctly into the pan and stir.
- Cover the pan and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until both the carrot and potato cubes are cooked through.
- Add the roux, a heaping tablespoonful at a time and stirring after each addition. When all of the roux has been added, simmer curry for another 10 minutes.
- Taste the curry sauce and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
Fry the shrimps
- Shell and devein the shrimps. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Place the flour, egg and panko in three separate shallow bowls.
- Beat the egg.
- Holding the shrimp by the tail, dredge each in flour; shake off the excess. Repeat with the rest of the shrimps.
- Dip the floured shrimps one by one in beaten egg.
- Roll the shrimps one by one in panko to coat every inch of the surface.
- Heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Cooking in batches of four to six, drop the breaded shrimps in the hot oil and cook until the coating is golden and crisp, about two minutes.
- Scoop out the shrimps and drain on a rack.
Assemble the dish
- Scoop rice into shallow bowls.
- Ladle curry sauce around the rice.
- Arrange fried shrimps on top.
- Garnish with sliced scallions and serve.