Saturday, 22 June 2013

"Oishī Nihon no karē" or The Tasty Japanese Curry

Ok, so you guys probably have figured it out by now that I love curry. Yes it's true. I love all kinds of Asian foods, but curries are some of my favourites. They are easy to make, flavourful and the mix of spices just smells so good; especially the Indian and Thai ones. Japanese curry though is a little different. I found that it's a little sweeter than Indian curry and either very mild or not even spicy at all. It's a little closer to Thai curry, but kind of in between with the Indian one. The flavour is pretty unique and I think it's a lot more accessible to people who are a bit fussy about foods that are too spicy or too aromatic. And its texture and consistency resembles a lot that of an ordinary beef stew.

I've never done Japanese curry before so this week I decided to make some for myself. I bought some potatoes, carrots and onions. I also thawed out some chicken breasts I had in the freezer. And I visited the Korean Japanese grocery store in NDG and bought myself a box of Japanese curry broth cubes. That, with a side of white rice and I was all set. Lemme show you how I did it and how it turned out.


  • 1 box of Japanese curry cubes
  • 1 large regular onion (or half a sweet onion in my case)
  • 2 big white potatoes
  • 2-3 large carrots (or half a small bag of baby carrots)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • white rice (just regular rice, not necessarily the converted one - I just had that one on hand)
  • couple of tablespoons of grapeseed or vegetable oil (one that doesn't have a strong flavour)


First off, clean up your potatoes and cut 'em up into small cubes a little less than an inch in size.

Follow up with the carrots if you have the large carrots and do the same. I just cut my baby carrots since they're already clean.

Then cut up the onion into big pieces. Don't mince it, we need to keep the pieces big so we can pick them up with the rest of the vegetables in the curry.

Finally, cut up your chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.

Now, it's cooking time. First off, add a couple of tablespoons of oil in a big pot, enough to cover the bottom, and turn the heat on medium. When it's getting hot, start frying the onions until they are caramelized and slightly brown.

When that's done, put 'em aside somewhere. Then add some more oil and start cooking the chicken cubes. Just cook them enough so that you get two sides browned. You don't need to cook them thoroughly because we'll boil them in broth later on.

When the chicken is browned, add all the vegetables. Potatoes, carrots and caramelized onions. Then mix it all up real good.

Then look at the curry sauce package and check how much water you're supposed to add. In my case, their recipe calls for 5 cups of water for the whole package. So add that and bring to a boil.

When it starts to boil, lower the heat and bring to a simmer and cover, leaving a gap to let some steam out.

At that point, add the entire package of curry sauce cubes into the mix. The whole thing. Not just one half of the box, like my stupid self did.

Mix it well until broken down and fully diluted, then cover again and let simmer for another 10-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Yeah, see here? There should be two pieces like this in there.

The consistency of the sauce should be thick, like a stew. So, in case it's too watery, leave it on the heat to simmer, uncovered, and stir once in a while. The water should evaporate and the sauce should thicken to look like this.

When that's over, serve with a side of white rice and you've got yourself a nice, warm Japanese curry!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Marmite Burgers

I've been eating my vegetarian couscous salad all week last week. I wasn't eating much to be honest. But this week, my body told me it needed something. I was craving some junk food. Badly. So I went to this place called La Friterie while I was in my home neighbourhood of Pointe-Aux-Trembles. It's a greasy spoon that sells burgers, hot dogs, fries and of course, poutine. They have been open for as long as I can remember. I went all out and got myself this.

Looks disgusting doesn't it? But, man oh man was it ever satisfying! Two hamburgers (with a slice of ham!), a small poutine and a root beer.

The next day, the craving wasn't gone. My body wanted more. MOAR! So I went and got some ground beef an some buns and made my own burgers. Except, mine are a little different and I added a little bit more stuff to the patties to make them more delicious like the left over green onions I bought last week for my salad. But, my secret ingredient, which should be in any burger meat, is Marmite. Or, you can use Vegemite as well if you're from the land down under. Here's how I did my burgers.


  • 2 lbs or 1 kg of extra lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • a couple of stalks of green onions
  • 1/2 a cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp of Marmite or Vegemite
  • 1 tbs Montreal Steak spices


First things first, rinse and finely chop the green onions.

Next, in a large bowl, mix everything together as thoroughly as possible.

Take one handful at a time, make it into a ball about the size of a tennis ball, and flatten into patties and place on a grill. I don't have a barbecue so I used a grill I had that goes over a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the burgers for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. They should come out nice and juicy.

Finally, just go ahead and slap that meat between two buns, add whatever you want and you got yourself a nice juicy tasty burger. And it's guaranteed to be healthier than the junk I ate at La Friterie. In fact, I used whole grain hamburger buns, lettuce, tomato, processed cheese, ketchup, mustard, relish and a little bit of Sriracha for an extra POW! Mmmmmm! Delicious.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Cool CousCous Salad.

So, I just lost my job last week. (Boo!) Now, whenever I spend money on something, however important and necessary, I feel guilty for doing so. But, I still gotta feed myself. Thankfully, like the ant in the fable of the ant and the grasshopper, I had enough food stacked in my pantry to survive a nuclear winter. Especially beans. I have mung beans, fava beans, romano beans, lima beans, all dehydrated. I also have tons of rice, couscous, orzo, pasta, all sorts of dry goods, really. I also have frozen meats like bacon, pork chops, chicken breasts, and even one of my grandma's meat pie. I thought now is a good time as ever to put 'em to good use.

With the summer heat setting in (along with the humidity) I thought it'd be good to do something light and that you can eat cold. Meat was out of the question then. So, I settled on a bean and couscous salad using the romano beans. I had to plan ahead because those damn dehydrated beans take a whole 24h to re-hydrate! However, in the end I would have a nice filling meal with protein and vegetables and basically all that I need to survive! Here's how you can do it:


  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of couscous, uncooked
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp of red cooking wine
  • about 2 green onions
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 finely chopped red bell pepepr
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 cup of dehydrated romano beans
  • salt and pepper if you like


First of all, make sure you prepare a day ahead  if you are using dehydrated beans like me, because you have to soak the beans in water for a solid 24 hour for them to become soft and ready to cook. So start with that. Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with lots of water and leave it overnight and the day after. Really let them soak.

When you're ready to make your couscous, drain the beans, fill up a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the beans and cook until soft. Not mushy, just soft like beans right out of the can. My advice is to start this very early because it takes a heck of a long time to cook beans. While these cook, just do the rest of this recipe. Drain them in a colander when they're done and rinse in cold water.

Another thing is to set aside one cup of frozen corn kernels and let them thaw out. Unless they're from a can and ready to eat, then, whatevs.

In a pot, bring 1 1/4 cup of water to a boil and add the chicken broth powder as indicated on the container.  Or bring 1 1/4 cup of actual chicken broth to a boil.

When it starts to boil, slowly add the couscous while stirring. Then immediately cover and take off the heat. Let the hot broth cook the couscous for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork and transfer to a cool container, like an aluminum bowl.

While all this stuff is boiling you can start on the vegetables. First wash everything under cold running water. Then start chopping! I went by order of how much stuff sticks to the cutting board. First the pepper.

Then the green onions.

Then the cilantro. Make sure you chop that really fine so it mixes well with the couscous.

Set all of this aside and look at the awesome colours.

Now for the vinaigrette. In a large bowl, mix the oil, lemon juice and cumin and whisk it up.

Add the vegetables to the vinaigrette and mix it up real good so it covers everything. Then add the couscous and the beans when they're done cooking. Mix this all up together until it's even.

You can serve it right away or cool it in the fridge for a long time to serve later. It's a great cool refreshing little salad with everything you need. Vegetables, cereals, proteins, etc. And it makes a really big batch so you can have some for a long time! Perfect for a dude like me who just lost his job and needs to eat something light in the hot summer heat. I hope you enjoy!