Japanese Curry Rice: Around the Table, delicious food for everyday – Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Around the Table

Julia Busuttil Nishimura


Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781760984915


Slow Sundays are for herbed roast chicken and silky smooth panna cotta. Eating outside means cheddar scones and fresh, spring salads. Friends coming by for afternoon coffee calls for a simple blackberry yoghurt loaf or comforting ginger cake with cream cheese frosting.

Beloved home cook Julia Busuttil Nishimura always knows the right dish for the occasion, weather or time of day. She also understands the power food has to bring people together, whether that’s to prepare a meal or enjoy the delicious results.

With recipes ranging from quick, flavourful meals for busy weeknights to simple indulgences for summer feasts, Around the Table perfectly matches dishes to time and place. It includes recipes laden with personal meaning – Mediterranean classics from Italy and Malta, and Japanese dishes Julia has learned from her husband, Nori – that will soon become favourites around your table, too. 

Japanese Curry Rice

Since curry was introduced to Japan, it has been transformed into its own unique dish and is now incredibly popular. Instead of starting with a curry paste, the meat and vegetables are simmered in water,
creating a rich broth as they cook, which is then thickened and flavoured with a roux-based curry brick. Curry bricks are essential to making Japanese curry and there are many variations available at supermarkets in Japan, as well as Japanese grocers here in Australia.

This recipe shows you how to make your own bricks. It really is rather simple and just requires an assortment of spices. After lots of experimenting with ratios, my recipe is just how we like it at home,
but feel free to vary the amounts to suit your own tastes. The quantity makes enough for four curries. I store the remainder in the fridge, where they keep for a month; alternatively, the bricks can be frozen.
When we are in Japan, we visit one of our favourite places for curry, Bird Co‚ee, in Osaka, at least once. They serve their curry in vintage brown bowls with plenty of rice and a boiled egg. It is really comforting and so simple to make from scratch. A typical accompaniment to Japanese curry are pickles, in particular
fukujinzuke and rakkyo. The former is a type of vegetable pickle, generally a mixture of daikon, eggplant, cucumber and lotus root, usually available from a Japanese grocer. Here, I’ve given a recipe for a pickled shallot, which is the next best thing to rakkyo (small young Japanese shallots, originally from China), which are almost impossible to find where I am. I love making them, and while they need a bit of time to pickle, they are really simple to put together. While the pickled shallot isn’t identical, it still provides a nice sweet, vinegary and salty contrast to the curry. The vegetables added to the curry are traditionally cut with a rolling technique: simply make a cut on the diagonal, turn the vegetable 45 degrees, then make another cut. Keep on rolling the vegetable as you cut – this ensures that the pieces are of even size . p220-221


700 g skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3 cm pieces
sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 potatoes, peeled and roll cut (see recipe introduction) into 2 cm pieces
2 carrots, peeled and roll cut (see recipe introduction) into 2 cm pieces
1 apple, coarsely grated
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

To make the curry powder, toast the whole spices in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 1–2 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder or a mortar and grind or pound to a powder. Transfer to a small bowl, add the remaining curry powder ingredients and stir to combine.

To make the roux, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When foaming, add the flour and curry powder and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes. Transfer the curry base to a sheet of baking paper and,
using the baking paper to help you, form the curry base into a square brick. Divide the brick into quarters, then place in an airtight container or wrap in baking paper or plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge until
ready to use.

To make the curry, season the chicken with salt and warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. Brown the chicken for 2–3 minutes each side, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add
the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes, until it begins to soften, then add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute until fragrant.

Add the potato and carrot and return the chicken to the pan. Stir so that everything is well coated, then add 600 ml of hot water. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat
to medium–low and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Add a curry brick and mix well – the brick will melt into the curry. Add the apple, soy sauce, tomato sauce
and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 4–5 minutes, until the curry has thickened. Check for seasoning, then serve with steamed rice, jammy eggs and pickles.

NOTE: To make the pickled shallots, peel and trim 750 g small shallots, being careful not to trim too much of the root, as ideally the shallots should remain whole. You want 500 g shallots once they are peeled.
Rinse the shallots to remove any residual skin or grit, then dry them thoroughly with a clean tea towel. Place the shallots in an airtight jar with 50 g salt (10 per cent of the shallot weight). Cover with cooled boiled water, then screw on the lid, shake well and allow to sit at room temperature for 3 days, shaking the jar a few times a day. Alternatively, especially if you live in a very hot climate, they can be stored in the fridge with an increased soaking time of 1 week.

Drain the shallots and squeeze out any excess water. Clean the jar and allow it to air-dry, then return the shallots to the jar. Heat 250 ml (1 cup) rice vinegar and 80 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar in a small
saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat. Pour the amazu (sweetened pickling vinegar) over the shallots and allow to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, store in the fridge. They are ready to eat once they have cooled and will keep for many months submerged in the amazu.

25 g (¼ cup) coriander seeds
3 tablespoons cumin seeds
3 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

140 g unsalted butter
100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour

steamed Japanese short-grain rice (such
as koshihikari)
jammy eggs, halved
rakkyo or pickled shallots (see Note)

Around the Table by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, published by Plum, RRP $44.99,

photography by Armelle Habib

Tempeh Red Curry : Doctor’s Kitchen 3-2-1 – Dr Rupy Aujla

Doctors Kitchen 3-2-1

Dr Rupy Aujla

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9780008395414

RRP $34.99

Tempeh Red Curry


2 tbsp coconut oil

200g tempeh (or firm tofu), broken into 2cm pieces

160g red onion (about 1 medium), thinly sliced

1 tbsp red curry paste (or any curry paste)

50g piece of root ginger (about 5cm), grated

160g mangetout or sugar snap peas

160g asparagus spears, roughly chopped

2 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

400g tin coconut milk

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


juice of 1 lime

20g fresh coriander, chopped

30g unsalted peanuts, chopped

1 Melt half the coconut oil in a large casserole dish over a medium heat, add the tempeh and fry for 3–4 minutes until browned all over.

2 Remove and set aside, then add the onions to the same dish with the rest of the oil and sauté for 3–4 minutes.

3 Add the curry paste and ginger and fry, stirring, for 2 minutes until coloured.

4 Add the mangetout, asparagus, peanut butter and coconut milk, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 7–8 minutes.

5 Return the cooked tempeh to the dish for the last 2 minutes of cooking.

6 Serve with the lime juice and garnish with the chopped coriander and peanuts.

#MeatfreeMonday : Roasted Eggplant Curry with Garlicky Cashews – Yummy Easy Quick Around the World – Matt Preston


Yummy Easy Quick Around the World Cover

Yummy Easy Quick Around The World by Matt Preston. Published by Plum (through Pan Macmillan)

p264 INDIA


INDIAN_ Roasted eggplant curry with garlicky cashews

Roasted Eggplant Curry with GarlickyCashews

3 large (about 1.1 kg) eggplants, cut into 4cm pieces
sea salt
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
80 ml ( cup) sunflower or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves, leaves picked
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 truss tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 × 270 ml can coconut cream
coriander leaves, to serve
flatbreads (see TIP), to serve

60 ml (¼ cup) sunflower oil
110 g (“ cup) raw cashews, coarselychopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon garam masala

Roasting the eggplant brings out a little smokiness and helps it to keep its shape when cooking; it also gives this
vego dish a real ‘meatiness’ – without any meat. The mustard seeds, curry leaves and coconut should be all the clues
you need to identify this as South Indian in inspiration.


To make the garlic cashews, heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the cashews and cook, tossing, for 2–3 minutes or until golden. Stir in the garlic and garam masala and cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and drain on aplate lined with paper towel.

Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fanforced. Line a large baking tray with bakingpaper. Place the eggplant in a bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of the garam masala, half the turmeric and half the oil. Toss to coat. Scatter the eggplant over the prepared tray. Roast for 20 minutes or until slightly charred and tender, but still holdingits shape.
While the eggplant roasts away, heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over medium– high heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or untilaromatic and the mustard seeds start to pop. Throw in the curry leaves and stir for1minute.

Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and remaining garam masala and turmeric and cook for a further 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until they collapse and start to break down. Your eggplant should be done now, so add it to the tomato mixture and stir to combine.

Season with salt. Add the coconut cream and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced slightly. Scatter the garlic cashews and coriander over the eggplant curry and serve withflatbreads.

If you want to make your own two-ingredient flatbreads here’s how. Preheat a barbecue grill plate or large chargrill pan over medium–high heat. Place 300 g (2cups) self-raising flour in a bowl. Add 260 g (1 cup) Greek-style yoghurt and stir untiljust combined. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth andwell combined. Divide the dough into six portions. Use a well-floured rolling pinto roll out each portion to an 18 cm round. Chargrill for 2 minutes each side oruntilcooked, slightly puŠed and nicely charred in places.



Sweet Potato & Mushroom Curry: Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook – Camilla Fayed

Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book by Camilla Fayed cover art

Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook by Camilla Fayed ($39.99), published by Hachette Australia.


Sweet Potato & Mushroom Curry


Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 20 minutes cooking

“This Thai-inspired recipe is a homely update on our Farmacy restaurant curry. It’s colourful and bursting with goodness. Susie says that this curry would be her desert island luxury. This is one of the recipes that elicited excited gasps at the testing table. Its flavour is deep and delicious, warming heart and soul.” p. 180


Sweet Potato Mushroom Curry

For the curry paste

1 red chilli

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 lemon grass stalks, sliced

4 coriander sprigs, stems included

1½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp salt


For the curry

4 shallots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp curry paste (see above)

1 tbsp grated fresh root ginger

500ml (18fl oz) Vegetable Broth (see page 60)

1kg (2lb 4oz) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped

200g (7oz) oyster or other mushrooms

125g (4½oz) roasted peanuts, chopped

375ml (13fl oz) coconut milk

3 tbsp Philosopher’s Sauce (see page 64)

2 tbsp coconut nectar


For the cucumber raita

2 cucumbers, seeded and diced

125ml (4fl oz) Cashew Yogurt (see page 76)

3 tbsp chopped dill

1½ tbsp lemon juice


To garnish

dry toasted pumpkin seeds

coriander leaves

2 limes, halved


Blend together all the curry paste ingredients in a food processor until they form a paste. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water. Set aside. This will make more paste than you need for this recipe, but it will last several months if refrigerated. To make the curry, sauté the shallots and garlic in the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until they are translucent. Do not let them colour. Add the curry paste and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth, sweet potatoes and lime leaves and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, the peanuts and the coconut milk.

Stir in the philosopher’s sauce and the coconut nectar. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Test whether the sweet potatoes are done and simmer longer if necessary.

Turn off the heat under the saucepan, cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the raita by combining all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Serve the curry garnished with pumpkin seeds and coriander leaves along with a dollop of raita, and half a lime for squeezing over.



Chicken Korma with Cumin Naan – Quick.Easy.Healthy. – Callum Hann & Themis Chryssidis


‘Recipes and Images from Quick. Easy. Healthy by Callum Hann (Murdoch Books).


“Making your own curry paste allows you to take control of the heat, spice and salt content. Korma is a mildly spiced curry and is super simple to make, so give it a go.”


130 g (41/2 oz/1/2 cup) low-fat Greek-style yoghurt

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 thumb-sized piece ginger, finely grated

2 handfuls coriander (cilantro), stems finely chopped, leaves reserved

2 teaspoons garam masala, plus 2 teaspoons extra

4 x 100 g (31/2 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or olive oil)

1 brown onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 red capsicum (pepper), thinly sliced

2 teaspoons curry powder

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)

2 handfuls baby spinach

Chicken Korma with Cumin Naan

Cumin Naan bread

100 g (31/2 oz/2/3 cup) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting (gluten-free flour works just as well here)

95 g (31/4 oz/1/3 cup) low-fat Greek-style yoghurt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

pinch of salt

Stir together the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, coriander stems and 2 teaspoons of the garam masala in a large bowl. Slice each chicken thigh into four pieces, then each of those into three pieces so you
have twelve pieces per thigh. Stir the chicken into the yoghurt mixture and set aside to marinate.


Heat a large deep frying pan or stockpot over high heat. Add the rice bran oil, then add the onion and capsicum and stir for 2–4 minutes until the onion starts to become golden brown. Add the curry powder and the extra 2 teaspoons of garam masala. Cook for a 1–2 minutes, stirring until fragrant, before adding the chicken and yoghurt mixture. Cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring often until the yoghurt has started to brown. Stir in the passata and cook for a further 5–10 minutes until the chicken has cooked and the sauce has darkened slightly in colour.


Meanwhile, make the cumin naan bread. Mix the flour, yoghurt, cumin seeds and salt in a bowl using a spatula, then use your hands to bring the dough together. Divide the mixture into four and dust each piece with a little extra flour. Press each dough piece down into a thin circular shape. Heat a frying pan over high heat, add the naan, two at a time and cook for 1–2 minutes on each side until golden brown.


Stir the baby spinach through the chicken korma and top with the reserved coriander leaves. Serve the korma with the cumin naan.


Nutrition tip Curries are a great way to increase vegetable intake, as the vegetables absorb the flavour of the dish.


Substitution Try substituting prawns for the chicken.



Energy  2033 kJ (486 cal)

Protein 25.2g

Sodium 410mg

Fat 28.7g

Sat Fat 28.7 g

Carbohydrate 29.2g

Sugar 8.9 g

Fibre 4.8g

Vegetarian Meals Made With Love

Last week my daughter fractured her shoulder; she was on an evening out, ready to order her meal, was about to take the last step on the stairs to the venues dining area, hand on rail and slipped in a pile of something disgusting- we wont go there. Consequently she now is suffering with a fractured shoulder – and needs assistance with most things – washing her hair, cutting up her meals, preparing meals. She cant drive , cant shop, cant work, for at least 6 weeks.

It is times like  this that it is very difficult to be a parent who lives 3 1/2 hours away from one of her children who is in pain and in need.  Her sister has been very helpful, she has been up to visit a  few times, taken her shopping, taken her to the doctors, styled her hair, took her dog for a walk….These two are great supportive sisters.  On the last visit I sent up a care package – food made with love 🙂  I am currently preparing more meals.

The injured daughter is vegetarian – and I haven’t really cooked many vegetarian meals since this daughter left home, many years ago. Lately I have just made the odd meal when she has visited – vegetarian pizza, curry, chilli beans etc To make a 6 weeks of vegetarian meals that can be eaten with one hand ( preferably a spoon) is a challenge. Thankfully I have some wonderful new cook books to help me out.

Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas

Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas


Deliciously Ella is a great resource. I am currently soaking red kidney and black beans (I prefer not to use tinned legumes) to make a Ella’s Black and Kidney Bean Chilli.  Last week I made Ella’s Lentil and Butternut Squash Dhal, Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas and Almond Butter (or nut butter if you prefer),  I made Anna Gretta’s Banana Cakes – one for the freezer and one cut into slices for use now and Dan Churchill’s Protein Balls (always a favourite). I also made huge saucepan of vegetarian minestrone soup – a meal in a bowl, and bean patties with Quinoa flakes – my own creations –  recipes I will share with you at a later date.

Bean Patties with Quinoa Flakes

Bean Patties with Quinoa Flakes

What to make for the next 5 weeks? Any suggestions?  The food must be able to be frozen, be vegetarian and not require cutting.