Mandy from Lady and Pups has been one of my biggest flavor inspirations for years. I think we share a penchant for flavors that pack a punch and innovations that some might consider sacrilegious.
She is also a pioneer in the moodier style of food photography I thought I’d end up doing before I turned into a brightly colored butterball.
So when her book The Art of Escapism Cooking came out last year, I just had to have it.
Where Mandy and I grow apart is that I tend to like short cuts where she appears to be a gluton for punishment. The chapter Shit I Eat When I’m By Myself thus rang the most true to me, and this kare (Japanese curry brick) risotto was the first recipe I cooked from Escapism.
Japanese curry bricks
Now you can make your own curry bricks for Japanese curry, but Japanese food tends to be high quality at all levels. And making life harder for yourself is so not the point of this dish. So get yourself some bricks.
Because I get greedy when I go to my bigger Asian supermarket, I got a few brands. My favorite was the Kokumaro-brand. The hot version isn’t that hot, and it has a nice creamy edge to it that I get off on.
All the brands I got were hot. Some packed too much of a punch for me, were too salty or too bland. Do with that information what you will. I’d recommend trying a bunch if you can afford to. If not, go with Kokumaro and blame me (no refunds tho).
I thought I’d get smart and fancy with this recipe and not read the instructions properly, so the first time I made it with arborio rice in my Instant Pot. This was a bad idea.
Curry bricks are an instant cooking solution and don’t need a lot of time to thicken (or burn). Use leftover rice from the day before (or: make sure you have leftover rice at hand).
I have on occasion been out of ginger and curry powder to add and didn’t miss these. I did try and make this without any of Mandy’s additions to the bricks at some point and that was very meh, so please don’t omit too much.
I did doll up mine with some peas. I think broccoli would work equally well. But maybe I just like green veg. I didn’t miss the Parmesan on days where I didn’t have any, I do miss this dish now that I have run out of curry blocks though. So on to the recipe.
Curry Risotto from The Art of Escapism Cooking
- 1 c chicken stock
- 3 tbsp milk most variaties work - more as needed
- 30 gr Japanese curry bricks whichever kind you like
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder yes really
- 1 tbsp caramelized onion powder I buy ready-made and smash it to a pulp
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1/2 tsp ginger freshly grated
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1 1/4 c rice cooked, leftover is fine
- 1 egg yolk you can freeze the whites for up to one year
- Parmesan cheese grated, to serve
- black pepper freshly ground, to serve
- 1 c peas frozen, optional
- Combine everything except the rice, yolk, peas, Parmesan and black pepper in a medium sauce pan.
- Bring to a simmer and stir until smooth.
- Add the rice and peas and warm through. Adjust thickness with milk if so desired.
- Serve with the raw egg yolk on top and lots of cheese and freshly ground pepper.