Japanese curry gets quite number of mixed reactions since it does not usually pack a punch of spice in the sauce– more of sweet and mellow more than its other curry counterparts. A lot of avid curry fans may even say it is not “real curry”–but let us not debate on that as it is certainly a different style that some may be used to. However, it is a beloved dish in Japan and the avid fans of Japanese food.
Recently, I decided to visit a friend who was recovering from injury and surprise her with a request that took ages to fulfill: Coco Ichibanya Style Thin Sliced Beef Curry. I’ve had Coco Ichibanya quite a number of times and as an avid fan of Japanese food– I must say that I love their Japanese curry– it’s smooth and silky, also slightly sweet, and the thin slices of beef are. Some more traditional folks actually prefer a more chunky sauce, with a stewed tomato mixed in, but since my friend is allergic to tomatoes, I decided to skip that.
I wish I can share you to you a recipe on a more robust curry from scratch but since we are trying to copy Coco Ichibanya’s Curry, we will use a curry packet similar to the one below:
There are tons of other brands but this was 1what was available at the time. This curry is actually kind of mild in terms of the curry punch that Coco Ichibanya’s sauce had, so we will add a few ingredients to get us closer to the curry from the restaurant. Now if you prefer an even stronger, more robust curry, feel free to add more spices but this might stray away from the restaurant’s version.
We are also using very thin cuts of beef, similar to sukiyaki instead of beef brisket chunks, since I only had 30 minutes to cook at someone else’s home. And the sukiyaki cut absorbs the flavor quite well.
You can easily find this in asian supermarkets or even maybe your local supermarkets. Or if not, ask your local butcher to make very think slices of beef from tenderlion or sirloin.
If this proves difficult too, you can slice it yourself! You can follow steps as shown by one of my favorite youtube cooking channels and blogs, justonecookbook. You may also watch the video:
For my recipe, I was lucky enough to find a good source of rib eye sukiyaki with not too much marbling. It is important that you pick a cut that does not have too much fat in it because thin slices of fat in the beef may be difficult to eat and may even choke you (it happened before).
The thin slices of beef go really well with the sauce and rice and it tasted quite close to the restaurant’s curry!
You may also use chicken, beef brisket, pork, katsudon, omu rice, hamburger patties, seafood or essentially anything that may go well with the curry.
Coco Ichibanya Style Sliced Beef Curry
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
• 500 grams of sukiyaki sliced beef (I used rib eye sukiyaki)
• 1 teabag of dashi or if not available, any dissolvable dashi soup mix abt 2 tbsps.
• 2 tbsps of soy sauce
• About 3 cups of water
• 1 onion sliced into thick slices
• 1 carrot diced into half inch cubes
• 1 potato diced into half inch cubes
• 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
• 1 square packet of Curry Roux (in this case, Golden Curry)
• 2 tbsps curry powder
• 1 tbsp garam masala
• A pinch of cumin
• A pinch or more of chili powder or cayenne depending on how hot you want your curry to be (optional)
• 2 tbsps. of honey (this is not traditional, but I noticed that Coco Ichibanya has a slightly sweeter curry than the usual available curry roux)
• Salt and pepper to adjust according to taste
1. In a small sauce pan, bring to a boil cup of water and add the dashi soup mix or teabag and 2 tbsp soysauce.
2. Dip the sukiyaki beef slices in the soup mix and let cook for only 20-30 seconds (it will cook really fast!). Set aside on a plate. (Don’t throw out the sauce! You may skim the impurities and use it for another dish called Gyudon).
3. In a different sauce pan saute the onions, carrots and potatoes in vegetable oil and season with a pinch of salt, curry powder, garam masala and chili powder. Once the onions and spices have sweated out a little, add 1 cup of water and simmer in medium heat until potatoes and carrots are cooked.
4. Crumble the curry roux from within the packet before opening and adding to the vegetables that are boiling and mix well to ensure there are no lumps, until sauce is slightly thick but not pasty. What you want to have is a sauce that coats the back of your spoon. You may also want to pass your cooking spoon through the bottom pot, and if it creates a clean line and then the sauce quickly oozes back in, then that is the perfect consistency. Add more water as needed.
5. Add the honey. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
6. Add the cooked beef and mix in. Lower the heat of the stove at the lowest setting to allow it to simmer for about 3 minutes before turning off.
7. Serve with cooked unsalted (preferably white rice)