Recipe: Kokako's Japanese Curry

Kokako Cafe's Japanese Curry - homemade spice mix, miso, mirin and greens. Photo / Ted Baghurst
Kokako Cafe's Japanese Curry - homemade spice mix, miso, mirin and greens. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Kokako Cafe, housed in a beautiful and spacious old post office in Grey Lynn, offers a regularly-rotating seasonal menu, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.

This recipe, courtesy of head chef Rohan Horner and sous chef Kentaro Kurihara, is a flavoursome alternative to Indian, Malaysian and Thai-inspired curries. Try it with steamed rice, coleslaw and fresh coriander and sesame seeds to finish.

The cafe's usual recipe makes a lovingly-prepared pot for 20 - here, we've adapted it to serve a family for dinner or a couple of friends for dinner and lunch.

Serves 4

Spices

• 4 tsp ground cumin seed
• 4 tsp ground coriander seed
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp ground cloves
• 4 Tbsp tumeric
• 1 tsp allspice
• 4 tsp garlic powder (or use fresh garlic)
• 2 tsp ginger powder (or use fresh ginger)
• 2 tsp black pepper

Roux

• 3 tsp spice mix/curry powder (see ingredients above)
• 2 Tbsp butter
• 4 tsp rice powder

Ingredients

• 2 onions (sliced)
• 1 carrot
• 2 red skin potatoes
• 250g tinned tomatoes
• 15g grated garlic (about three teaspoons)
• 15g grated ginger (about three teaspoons)
• 60g dried shiitake soaked in water overnight
• 30g miso paste
• 25ml mirin (rice wine)
• 2 apples (grated)
• salt, pepper and butter (to taste)

Garnish

• 200g edamame
• 100g sesame seeds
• fresh coriander

Method

1. Mix all spices and toast.

2. Soak the shiitake in water overnight and slice if needed.

3. Make a roux in a small saucepan. Stir to combine the melted butter and flour and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. The roux will turn a light brown colour. Add the spice/mix curry powder. Cook and stir for two minutes and remove from the heat and allow to cool.

4. In a large pan, caramelise the onion in vegetable oil, add the grated ginger and garlic, and cook for few minutes.

5. Add the shiitake, carrot and potato, cook for little while, then add the stock water and mirin.

6. When the soup is boiled, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the roux and miso. Stir well.

7. Simmer for 30 minutes then the curry will start thickening. Taste and season but be careful not to salt too heavily as the miso adds quite a bit of salt already.

8. Stir the edamame into the curry. Serve with steamed rice, a simple coleslaw, picked coriander and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Get more info on Kokako here, or drop by their vegetarian cafe at 537 Great North Road, Grey Lynn. To make sure you're on the list for more recipes, sign up to our newsletter. We're also on Facebook and Twitter.

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