On the cooking scale of “effort/time vs. payoff,” few dishes in my repertoire score better than Japanese curry. It takes less than 10 minutes to peel and chop carrots, potatoes, and onions; another five or so to saute in some oil; about 20 minutes for the water to boil and the vegetables to cook through; and just a little longer to add the curry blocks and stir until smooth. Pair it with some fresh, steaming-hot white rice — short grain only — and, baby, you got a hearty meal going. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve made so much that it’ll last for at least four days, at which point you’ll be kind of sick of it, but you can just turn it into curry fried rice. That is utility.
But sometimes we must challenge ourselves, lest stagnation take hold and slowly pull us into the mire. For instance, recently while making Japanese curry (this time using a combination of blocks by the Golden Curry and Torokeru brands), I set myself the task of also frying up some tofu katsu. I pressed the firm tofu, sliced it into smaller squares, seasoned it with soy sauce and spices, breaded it in panko, and fried it until golden-brown. It tasted a tad bland, which drags down its effort/time vs. payoff score, but there was still a satisfying crunch even to this semi-disappointment of an attempt. Let this be a lesson about fear, courage, and trying new things: add more seasoning and slice the tofu a little thinner. 4/5 stars.