Considered real Japanese comfort food, Japanese-style curry is typically eaten as curry Katsu (a curry sauce with rice and either sliced, crumbed chicken or pork) but is excellent in a soup iteration for thick, chewy udon noodles, boosted with chicken mince and finished with a whole raft of fun and delish toppings.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
500g (1 lb) chicken mince (you could also use pork)
1 litre (1 qt) chicken stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
180g (6 oz) (about 9 pieces) Japanese curry cubes*
4 x 200g (7 oz) packs precooked, vacuum-packed udon noodles
3 spring onions (scallions), trimmed, finely sliced
2 soft boiled eggs, halved, to serve
pickled ginger, to serve
sliced nori seaweed, to serve
bean shoots, to serve
Pickled daikon salad:
1 small daikon radish, peeled, finely julienned
3 tsp caster sugar
1½ tbsp rice vinegar
1½ tbsp soy sauce
1½ tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, or to taste
Bring a large pan to the boil for the noodles.
For the curry sauce, heat the oil in a large frypan over high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken mince and break it up using a wooden spoon or spatula, then cook for 6-7 minutes or until just cooked.
Meanwhile, for the daikon pickle, put the daikon in a bowl, then add the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Toss to coat. Transfer to a serving plate and scatter with toasted sesame seeds.
Once the chicken mince is almost cooked, add the stock, soy sauce, mirin and curry cubes, then bring the mixture to the boil, stirring to dissolve the curry roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes or according to the manufacturer’s instructions until thickened slightly.
Meanwhile, add the noodles into the pan of boiling water. Using tongs to gently separate them, cook for 2-3 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the noodles well, then divide among large serving bowls. Ladle over the pork curry soup, then garnish each serve with spring onion, half an egg, pickled ginger, seaweed and bean shoots. Serve with the daikon salad on the side.
– Japanese curry cubes are available in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets or search them out online. A popular brand is S & B Golden Curry.