Japanese Cuisine

ZWILLING Culinary World, Destination Japan

White Curry with Salmon

Food plays a central role in Japan's complex culture, food of high quality is not a random choice, it's a philosophy, they are tied together, inseparable. We went on a culinary journey with the food blogger Meike Peters from eat in my kitchen and collected inspiring recipes. The restaurant Ka Ku Ra in Tokyo created this dish together with Meike Peters. Bringing the mind, body and spirit in harmony with nature is the focus here. For this reason, the selection of ingredients requires precision and a vigilance for regional origins and seasonal products. The philosophy dictates that healthy eating should energise the body rather than sap it.


White Curry with Salmon

White Curry with Salmon

by Ka Ku Ra, Tokyo / Masako Imura

Ingredients

Serves 4

3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
8 curry leaves
100g onion, cut into 1 cm cubes
90g radish, cut into 1 cm cubes
60g carrot, cut into 1 cm cubes
100g shimeji mushrooms, roughly chooped
20 g fresh cayenne peppers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon grated garlic
40g shrimp paste
salt to taste
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon coconut powder
1 tablespoon almond powder
sugar to taste
500ml water
800ml cups milk
30g lotus root, cut into 1 cm cubes
60g sweet potato, cut into 1 cm cubes
90g hokkaido pumpkin, cut into 1 cm cubes
10g shiitake mushrooms
300g salmon filet, cut into bite size pieces

Preparation

In a large pot, heat the oil, mustard seeds, and curry leaves over medium-high heat for about 15 seconds or until the seeds start popping. Add the onion, radish, carrot, and shimeji mushrooms, turn the heat down to medium and sauté, stirring once in a while, until soft.

Stir in the cayenne peppers, ginger, garlic, shrimp paste, salt, and fish sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes; then add the garam masala, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic powder, coconut powder, almond powder, and sweet radish root, sugar to taste, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Pour in the water and milk, bring to a boil, and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes over medium heat. Add the lotus root, yam, and pumpkin and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft. Gently stir in the white cloud ear mushroom and salmon and cook for 5 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through; season with salt to taste.

Divide the rice and curry between bowls, sprinkle with fresh coriander, and serve immediately.



Chef Masako Imura from restaurant Ka Ku Ra, Tokyo

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"Knives are incredibly important to me. I feel like knives are half of who I am."


About


A day at Ka Ku Ra, Tokyo

by Meike Peters

It's quite a surreal scene that Chef Masako Imura chose for her acclaimed Kakura restaurant: classical music playing in the street from invisible loudspeakers, no cars, but people riding bicycles or walking slowly listening to the gentle harmonies filling the city's warm air. We're in Tokyo, right in its vibrant heart, however, the peaceful scenery, the narrow house where the restaurant sits snugly speaks a different language. The green facade covered in ivy and sparkling little lights, pots of flowers, herbs, and leafy plants arranged in front of the restaurant's window, create a vivid contrast to the city's monotonous grey. Aromatic mint, basil, rosemary, and curry leaves grow right at the chef's doorstep ready to be brought into the kitchen and turned into complex spiced dishes.

The outside couldn't suit the inside any better, it's a green oasis created for a restaurant that celebrates Japanese curry based on the old knowledge of Chinese medicine. Masako Imura's creations are rich, colorful, and delicious. Her Kakura Curry, Black Curry, her seasonal vegetable or fish curry are a pure pleasure to eat and caress and activate different parts and functions of the body. The nutritionist follows a holistic philosophy, in which mind and body, people and nature complete each other in harmony. The ingredients that she uses are organic, regionally and seasonally sourced, the chef knows how to treat each vegetable with respect and creativity. It's about healthful food that gives you energy rather than taking it away from you.

Fans from all over world, many artists and musicians, love her beautiful cuisine, all those fascinating flavors that Masako brings to the tables of her cozy restaurant that she opened in 2005. The food warms up your soul. When you get a chance to meet her in her kitchen for a few hours to chop and chat, and peek into her pots and pans, you get a glimpse of this universe that makes her creations so unique and special. Spices are her most important tool, the heart of every composition. She works with perfectly balanced curry mixtures, individually put together for each dish, like in the fish curry that she shares with us. The warming fragrance of mustard seeds and curry leaves sizzling in hot oil are the start, the tempting invitation, before the other parts follow to add more depth: Nam Pla (fish sauce), shrimp paste, ginger, and colorful spices, which she carefully arranges in little bowls next to the cooker. Lotus root, sticky Japanese potato, golden pumpkin and carrot, and various mushrooms lend freshness and flavors to a creamy sauce full of heat.

The love for the kitchen lies in the family, Masako Imura's mother taught her daughter how to cook and use food for more wellbeing. Masako was the youngest, but physically the weakest, her mother paid a lot of attention to her girl's diet. Nourishing, natural, and rich, using Chinese medicinal cuisine, it helped her to become the strong and inspiring woman that she is today, loved for her curry creations at the Kakura restaurant (http://www.ka-ku-ra.com/).


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