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OISHII / Spicy keema curry to help tackle the stifling summer heat

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Keema curry with eggplant

The Yomiuri ShimbunEggplant keema curry

In this column, chefs and cooking experts share recipes that are easy to prepare at home.

At this time of year, people often opt for spicy foods to survive the hot and humid weather. Katsuo Omiya, a restaurant chef and cookbook author, recommends keema curry with eggplant.

Keema curries are made with minced meat. The stir-fried eggplant, minced pork and aromatic spices play off one another in this flavorful dish.

“Lots of eggplant and minced meat are used. This dish is like a curry version of [the Chinese dish] mapo eggplant. If you follow certain points properly, you can make a delicious curry,” Omiya said.

For the eggplant, this means careful preparation and stir-frying.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the eggplant pieces before coating with flour. Stir-fry until they are completely brown.

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    Spicy summer salad

“Coating the eggplant in flour helps to retain its flavor and firmness during cooking, and stir-frying brings out the aroma,” Omiya said.

He said that without flour, the eggplant absorbs too much oil and can become soggy.

Minced pork with a moderate amount of fat goes well with eggplant.

The trick to preparing the pork is in the choice of cooking utensil. Omiya uses a whisk.

If you stir-fry the meat while mixing it with a whisk it prevents uneven chunks from forming and spreads the heat and seasonings evenly through the dish.

The sourness of yogurt and the sweetness of marmalade amplify the flavors of this tasty curry. Finally, add water: “This helps the yogurt, oil and seasonings mix together smoothly,” Omiya said.

He said that if you have leftover curry, its smooth texture can be restored by adding a little water and reheating.

When the dish is served with freshly cooked rice, steam from the rice spreads the aroma of the curry through the air.

Firstly, try a piece of eggplant, which is succulent yet still crunchy.

The curry goes perfectly with white rice. After the first bite, you’ll find it difficult to put your spoon down. When you inhale the irresistible aroma of this keema curry, prepare to sweat, as the spices work to cool your body down.

Recipe for eggplant keema curry

Ingredients (serves 2 to 3)

4 tbsp olive oil

5-6 medium or large eggplants

120 grams minced pork

50 grams each carrot, onion

20 grams each ginger, garlic

2 tbsp flour

About 5 grams curry powder

50 grams each marmalade, yogurt (sugar-free)

5 grams joshinko rice flour (or corn starch or katakurio starch)

100 milliliters tomato juice (salt-free)

Green peas (boiled), fried onions for garnish

Directions

1. Finely chop the carrot, onion, ginger and garlic. Cut the tops off the eggplants and slice into 5-centimeter cubes. Sprinkle two-thirds to 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over the eggplant, then coat in flour.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, add the eggplant and stir-fry until completely brown.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in another frying pan. Stir-fry the ginger and garlic. When they become aromatic, add the minced meat and stir-fry. When the meat becomes crumbly, add curry powder and stir-fry until aromatic. Next, add the carrot and onion and continue stir-frying.

4. Add yogurt, marmalade, joshinko and tomato juice to the pan. Mix all the ingredients on a high heat, being careful not to let them burn. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the eggplant and mix. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

5. Garnish the curry with deep-fried onions and serve with rice topped with green peas.

Spicy summer salad

Salads also benefit from a spicy dressing in summer. One such dressing can be made by simply mixing 100 grams each of ketchup and mayonnaise, three grams of curry powder, two grams of ground cumin and one gram of cayenne pepper.

Omiya said: “It’s a pretty standard dressing that includes sweet, spicy and sour flavors. The ketchup helps to bring everything together.”

This dressing is also suitable for fried food, making it a versatile condiment.

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