Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Washoku Lovers Kitchen #2, Japanese Curry at Dekura Culinary Studio

Dekura Sensei and Tazunoki-san, the brains and beauty behind Washoku Lovers
I was fortunate enough to be be attending the Washoku Lovers Kitchen second cooking event which was themed around Japanese Curry. The host venue this time was Dekura Culinary (Studio, 369 Penshurst St Chatswood NSW 2067 www.culinarysdekura.com).

October is Japanese Curry Month, it also heralds the start of the Japanese Film Festival (www.japanesefilmfestival.net). To celebrate this Washoku Lovers (www.washokulovers.com) held a Washoku Lovers Kitchen event on the evening of the first day of spring – washoku is a term encompassing Japanese food culture. The night began with an introduction to Dekura sensei (Hideo Dekura), a brief synopsis of Japanese food history and influences, the unwrapping of various utensils sourced from the Daiso (a Japanese variety store), and sipping on delicious yuzu-lemonade.

Next we entered Kitchen Stadium (if you don’t get that reference we can’t be friends) where trays of ingredients awaited us. First we had to get the rice going so a lesson in preparing Japanese short grain rice ensued where the rice was rinsed and stirred, in a figure 8 motion, twice before a third rinsing under running water until there was only clear water, then into the rice cooker. We began peeling and chopping away at the carrots and potatoes which were to be steamed first as they would take the longest to cook – the key to cutting ingredients for most of the curry was to make everything the same chunky size. Chicken thighs were cut (I was chop chopped while I was chopping – how rude!!) and browned before being set aside. The memory of what followed brings a tear to my eye, figuratively, as much as the chopping of onions into small pieces brought tears to my eyes, literally. Tomato paste, a specially concocted roux, and various spices were added along with macerated apple, diced mango, and Chunou sauce to create the Japanese curry sauce. Throughout the class we chatted with each other and made jokes - a merry time was had by all.


A salad using wakame (seaweed) was made while the curry was finishing cooking but I’ll leave it at that – as they say “You don’t make friends with salad”.

Finally, it was time to eat. We all sat down at the long table to eat together and bask in the glory of our stupendous Japanese curry.The curry was satisfying (it had a bit of oomph from the extra curry powder we used) and the pickled vegetables served alongside made a real statement, adding crunch and refreshing the palate whether you ate them separately, or with the curry itself.

As is usually the case with homemade Japanese curry there were leftovers and compartmentalized
boxes were handily available to scoop up the leftovers for a curry lunch the next day. All the cute bowls, utensils and the lunch box was sponsored by Daiso (below). I love Daiso, I spend a lot of time in there checking out all their products for $2.80. I love it!

Summary

The curry didn’t fully follow the recipe provided but that’s the beauty of cooking - things don’t always go to plan, just have fun with what you do. It would be interesting to try a curry made by Dekura sensei – the curry we made definitely had areas for improvement.

I had a fun night cooking and chatting with some strangers so I highly recommend it, 8/10.


Win stuff
Washoku Lovers has competitions (www.washokulovers.com/events/) running throughout the year with prizes varying from gift vouchers for partnered restaurants to tickets to cooking class events. For the month of October you can win a pair of complimentary tickets to the Japanese Film Festival by dining at partner restaurants, ordering a curry dish, and then post a photo of your curry to Instagram with the hashtags #japanesecurry, #ilovewashoku, and the restaurant handle.

Please note Weekendfoodescapes by Lisa was a guest of Washoku Lovers. Guest writers Mel and Quoc Hai had the pleasure of experiencing and writing about this one.

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