- Holidays and Celebrations
Curry Rice-Halloween Style
Japanese-Style Curry Rice Halloween Style
Halloween is all about having fun and spending my time cooped up in the kitchen all day is not my idea of having a good time. As I was thinking about what I would be making for Halloween dinner, I decided that I wanted it to be pretty easy to make and something that didn't require hard-to-get ingredients.
Everybody Loves Curry Rice
Curry rice is one of the easiest things to make and is probably the number one favorite dish among Japanese families. Pretty much everyone loves this dish including kids. In fact, it's such a popular dish, you'll see it being served just about anywhere.
At festivals and theme parks, coffee shops to noodle shops and even airports, you can usually find curry rice on the menu.
For my special curry, I added Halloween touches and colors in addition to using pumpkin, which is abundant during this time of the year. I'm also using a boxed curry roux to make it as simple as possible like most families do today. If you've never had Japanese style curry rice before, you're in for a treat!
*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.
Always Start with Perfectly Cooked Rice
For this dish, you first need rice, preferably perfectly cooked Japanese rice. I've owned one of these for years and it never fails to make rice perfectly every single time.
Includes automatic warmer as well as a reheating cycle. Super easy to clean and durable to last a lifetime.
This model also lets you steam food and bake cakes! If you're looking for a rice cooker, I highly recommend considering this model.
The Not-So-Scary Halloween Curry
Using a Boxed Curry Roux
Japanese curry is easy to make if you start with the boxed roux. It’s easy to purchase them online these days and really saves time from having to make curry from scratch. Since I wanted an essence of fall, I decided to use carrots and pumpkin for my ingredients.
If you prefer some kind of meat in this dish, feel free to add chunks of beef, pork or chicken. If you don’t particularly care for carrots or pumpkins, feel free to use whatever you wish.
The great thing about curries is that it's pretty flexible with ingredients, letting you experiment with reckless abandon.
- 1 large box curry roux
- Water according to the box curry instructions
- 2 medium-sized carrots
- 1 onion
- 1/4 small pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 4 cups rice
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1 pinch saffron
- Wash the rice and place into rice cooker. Add saffron and cook.
- While rice is cooking, prepare the curry. Cut one carrot and the pumpkins into bite-sized pieces saving the pumpkin skins for the jack-o-lantern faces. Slice the onions.
- Cut one carrot into star shapes. Improvise here and get creative. I tried to make moon shapes but they didn’t turn out right. The point is to have fun. :)
- Set the carrot stars and pumpkin face pieces to the side for later. Put cooking oil into a large pot and saute the vegetables until the onions are translucent.
- Add water to the pot according to the curry box instructions. Bring to a boil and immediately turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Turn the heat down the low and add the curry roux. Mix until the roux is completely melted and and the curry thickens making sure not to burn the curry. Keep the curry warm on very low and set aside.
- Put the carrot stars and pumpkin face shapes on a plate and cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying up. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until tender.
- Make a face shape with the rice. I used a plastic wrap to mold the rice into flat round shapes. Make sure to make mold it pretty tight or else the rice will fall apart on the plate.
- Place the rice ball onto one side of the plate as shown in the picture. Pour curry sauce onto the other half of the plate.
- Decorate your rice with the pumpkin skin pieces and place the carrot stars onto the curry sauce.
Japanese Curry Roux
Japanese Curry Roux is extremely convenient and most people in Japan prefer to use these to save time. I have made curry from scratch, but modern day curry mixes are very high in quality and taste. Although we have numerous brands here in Japan, I have found only a few in the US.
The HOUSE brand that I recommend is one of the best and they come in four varying degrees of spiciness. If you are cooking for kids, you might want to try the mild although adults usually prefer the spicier ones.
The boxed roux you see on the right has a spiciness level of HOT. If you can tolerate a bit of heat, this is good. It's really not that hot, which is why they also have an EXTRA HOT level.
Step-By-Step Photo Instructions
This brand seems to have great reviews and the price is reasonable for one of the most expensive spices around.
Making Saffron Rice
Saffron doesn't come cheap but nothing compares to its beautiful aroma and golden color it imparts in dishes. It's an essential ingredient in paella, bouillabaisse and saffron rice in Indian restaurants.
I use saffron in my rice for curry as it gives it a beautiful golden color and an intoxicating aroma.