One of the things hubs has missed the most since going fully vegan is Japanese food, especially comfort food like Katsu curry (sushi recipes coming later, I promise!). As a teen I would often order a vegetarian Katsu curry near my uni campus, but it often just meant a few soft slices of carrot, or sad over-steamed tofu, drenched in a curry sauce. Hardly inspiring stuff. I didn't get the big deal then. But hubs insisted we can do better than that. And better we did!
We solved the Katsu curry craving by substituting the meat with Portobello mushrooms. Mushrooms are a great substitute for meat in almost any dish. We use them regularly in vegan burgers (you really don't need expensive processed meat alternatives to make a vegan burger), as dumpling filling, soups, barbecues, stir fry. They're filling, a good source of protein and nutrients that are typically found in meat products— like iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D— and they're juicy. Portobello mushrooms in particular are a great size for slicing into chunky pieces and they maintain their shape and 'meaty' texture even if they're fried and breaded.
This recipe has a few parts to it— the rice, the curry and the mushrooms— but it's still fairly simple.
Start with boiling the Japanese rice first, then move your way onto the curry, followed by the crispy breaded mushrooms.
This is guaranteed to be a favourite with friends and family—carnivores and vegans alike!
125g sushi rice (1/2 cup)
1/8 tsp salt
Place rice in a bowl and wash thoroughly until water runs clear.
Add water and salt and let sit for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes transfer rice and water to a pot or non-stick pan and turn on heat to high.
Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer for another 10 minutes.
Once 10 mins is up remove pot from heat and let sit for another 10 mins with lid on.
Toss and fluff rice up with a spoon before serving
1tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 sliced onion
2 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 large red chilli - deseeded and finely diced
1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 sliced carrot
1tbsp plain white flour
2 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
300ml vegetable stock
2 tsp soy sauce
1 bay leaf
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and carrot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for another 2 minutes.
Stir in the flour and turmeric powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock bit by bit, stirring it in gently so it's smooth.
Add the soy sauce and bay leaf.
Bring all the mixed ingredients to a boil and then simmer for about 15 mins, or until the sauce thickens.
Pour curry through a sieve to remove the carrot, garlic and other veggie pieces.
Return sauce to pan and heat on low until it thickens a some more, continuing to stir to keep it smooth.
Breaded + Fried Portobello Mushrooms:
2-3 large sliced Portobello mushrooms
1/2 almond (or other nut) milk
2 cups of breadcrumbs
1/4 cornflour or plain white flour
vegetable oil to fry
Coat the mushroom slices in the cornflour/white flour.
Soak mushrooms in almond milk, then coat in another layer of white flour or cornflour followed by a layer of breadcrumbs.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the mushroom slices until golden brown.
Place on paper-lined plates to absorb excess oil.
Serve with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and spring onions. And go on, drench those crispy mushies in that curry sauce!