Kare soba

This dish wasn’t as healthy as our typical fare, but it was very filling, warming, and satisfying.

Yusuke said that this dish could be drawn right off a soba shop menu. カレー南蛮 (kare nanban) is a typical Japanese noodle dish that usually has udon (thick noodles), chicken or duck, and a curry-based broth. It often calls for katakuriko (potato starch), too.

Fun facts: Apparently the “なん” (“nan”) part of the name refers to the word for south, a reference to the fact the dish originated from the Portuguese from the Meiji era. According to Yusuke’s reference (dictionary? encyclopedia? I forget.), it was originally pronounced なんば (nanba), but it later become なんばん (nanban). Yup. 

For the main body of the stew, in our version, Yusuke boiled firm tofu, carrots, potatoes, and white onions and then added packaged Japanese curry cubes (soooo convenient).

Lacking udon, we used regular soba—thin buckwheat noodles. They only take about 5 minutes to cook in boiling water.

The cooked noodles were stirred into the curry stew and the soba sauce was added:

  • dashi powder
  • soy sauce
  • sugar
  • tiny chunks of daikon (cooked in the sauce)

Last came the garnish of chopped green onions.

See Google image search for more examples of カレー南蛮 here and here.

As I wrote in a previous post, curry (カレ or “kare”) dishes are extremely popular in Japan: there’s even a wikipedia article on the subject, naturally. The pre-made cubes vary in spiciness, and I think we usually have a medium one. The curry is not hot at all in the way it would be in Indian cuisine, but there’s a sweetness mixed with the spice that I find lick-the-bowl addictive.

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