Dining In

Here’s what we’re out of at the moment during the coronavirus lock-down: bell peppers, garlic cloves, tofu, chicken breast. But we have Japanese curry blocks, leftover cauliflower, scant poblano peppers and diced onions. And a few cans of beer: Squirrels Don’t Skip Leg Day, from local brewers Chubby Squirrel. Stir crazy, then, let’s take it all outside, fire up the grill and see what happens. (Spoiler alert: It’s good.)

To start, we chop a head of cauliflower, discarding the stems and leaves for compost. In a large pot, we grill the florets in 1 cup of water, for 15 minutes. But you could boil it on a stove-top just as well. So why grill? To be outside, having seldom left the house or yard in over a week. We add scant poblano peppers, chopped, and diced onions. For Japanese curry, onions are key; and it’s what we have at hand.

Next, we add curry roux blocks—judiciously, as one does, one or two at a time. Stir it in. Another half cup of water and the brown sauce begins to bubble. Getting hungry. Stir.

Add another half cup of water and several more curry blocks to bring the sauce level up. In all, we use 1¼ Golden Curry packets; any brand will do. Given our present onion shortage, we might have opted for Vermont Curry for a bit more sweetness.

We’ve made curries like this, at one time or another, for just about everyone we love. Never had a bad review—finicky in-laws, children, people who “don’t like Japanese food”—everyone likes it. We’ve served it on rice, tofu, fried chicken, and here as a bowl. You could dress a burger with it, or reduce it thick as a Sloppy Curry Joe. It never fails. We could add celery to the pot (and use slightly less water) or potato, or butternut squash. Today’s example is an especially simple variation and probably won’t be the last time we drag everything out to the grill just for some sun.

Best of luck for the duration of the lock-down and beyond.

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