Kalei Laisu ~ (Curry Rice)

12 Nov

My mother-in-law is someone I consider closer to super woman.  She works a full-time job, and somehow has enough stamina, patience and time to help all three of her kids (and their significant others), as well as her three grandchildren.

Every Friday for the past few months, she helps me by picking up my children from daycare before closing time.  I know she has a long week, as well as a long weekend (she babysits my sister-in-law’s son all day on Saturday), so I make sure I have dinner for her when she gets to my house.  This is my Thursday night project, since Friday is – Pizza lunch!!

Despite my fears that my British mother-in-law would only eat meat and potatoes, I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago when I found out she liked Indian food.  Given the British history, I wasn’t surprised to hear this; however, I considered her palate a little more “traditionally” geared towards bland, over-cooked, stereotypical blah cuisine, and was happy to know I could make something that she enjoys to eat.  Not to mention, none of her children, including my husband, like Indian food – whether it be the multitude of dynamic dimensions the spices create, or the almost soothing, comforting mouthfeel of palak paneer or aloo gobi over rice or with a nice piece of chapati, some dal, and spicy achar accompanied by a salted lassi.  I’m salivating from the thought of the complex swirl of flavors in my mouth, and I realize, I haven’t been to a lovely Indian lunch in quite a long time.  But then again, I digress.

Knowing that she likes curry, and realizing I have all the necessary ingredients to make this dish, I commence preparation.

A good Japanese housewife always has cooked rice on hand.  Indeed, enough to feed an adult and two children! 

Into a large saucepan, I prepare the following:

Three organic medium Russet potatoes, peeled, cut into eighths, and the pieces put into a bowl of water to get rid of the extra starch

Two organic medium carrots, peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

Two organic medium onions, quartered, and then chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

Three stalks organic celery, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

Bunch organic beet greens, rinsed well and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

Cooked organic chicken – I had five drumsticks’ worth of meat which I shredded

Japanese curry roux – one package

I put the potatoes, carrots, celery and onion into a pot, and add 20 ozs water, and bring to boil.  I skim the foam off the top, and once the potatoes were cooked, I lowered the heat to medium and added the curry roux pieces.  Japanese curry roux comes in a block with indentations, sectioning the block into eight sections.  I decided to splurge, and added the entire block after breaking it into pieces.

The roux dissolved and started thickening the broth.  I then added the washed beet greens, lowering the curry to a slow simmer, and put the lid on.  I let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring on occasion to ensure the bottom didn’t boil.

I then added the shredded chicken, stirred the curry, and turned the heat off. 

I portioned out three servings’ worth of rice into bowls, and ladled curry over them.  The dishes were covered and put into the refrigerator – ready for my mother in law’s dinner today!

One note – I really believe the curry is ALWAYS better the next day, and the day after.  Something about the flavors developing further, or the vegetables are all soft and melting into each other… Can’t wait to make udon noodle soup with curry for myself this evening – and for tomorrow morning…

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