KOREAN CURRY RICE

Learn how to prepare Korean curry rice at home! This hearty recipe, packed with savory, somewhat sweet, and softly spicy tastes, is ideal for quick midweek dinners.

WHAT IS Korean Curry Rice?
Korean curry rice is a simple, adaptable, and gratifying dish that is a must-have in many Korean households, especially those with children. Growing up in Korea, I ate it at least once a week, either at home or in the school cafeteria. The Korean pronunciation of ‘Kare Raisu / Raiseu (카레 라이스)’ is similar to that of ‘Japanese curry rice’. Indeed, this food was introduced from Japan.

KOREAN CURRY RICE
KOREAN CURRY RICE

Korean curry has a distinct flavor profile, with notes of sweetness, moderate spice, and savory. It is comparable to Japanese curry but differs from Indian or Thai curry. Whether you prefer a vegetable-heavy or meaty curry, this dish may easily accommodate your preferences.

How I Make My Curry
To prepare Korean curry rice, start with a small diced cut of meat—pork, beef, or chicken—and cook it over the pan until lightly browned. Then mix them with a variety of fresh veggies, such as potatoes, onions, and carrots. This hearty mixture is then cooked in water until tender, then blended with a thick and aromatic Korean curry sauce, resulting in a tasty, cozy, and gratifying meal. I’d like to note you that while pig is commonly utilized in Korean curry, beef and chicken are also popular.

In fact, I like to use stew-friendly cubed beef in my curry rice. I find that beef smells less gamey than hog, and stew-friendly cuts are great for boiling to allow the meat to release all of its rich, savory goodness into the curry sauce. If you’re using lean meat, avoid overcooking it, as it will turn dry.

I also prefer to add butter to subtly enhance the flavors and lessen the spice level for my family, even if the curry isn’t overly spicy. This ingredient not only adds a delicious buttery flavor but also provides a unique twist. It should be noted that this is not a frequent habit among Koreans, who like to eat their curry as is.

KOREAN CURRY RICE

Once everything is perfectly cooked, the curry is served over a bed of fluffy, steaming rice. Each bite is a delectable combination of flavors: the sweet undertones of the onions and carrots, the savory depth of the meat, all perfectly balanced by the mildly spicy, umami-rich curry.

INSTANT Korean Curry
Now, let’s talk about the main ingredient in Korean curry rice: instant curry mix. Many Koreans use this blend because it is a simple way to get a rich and nuanced curry flavor without spending hours in the kitchen. In fact, I’ve yet to meet a Korean who makes their own Korean curry powder from scratch at home. The blend is also affordable, so you have even more reason to try it!

KOREAN CURRY RICE
KOREAN CURRY RICE

Korean retailers provide a variety of types of instant Korean curry, including powder and pre-made roux. Each brand has varied spice levels, making it simple to select one that suits your taste. So, whether you’re looking for a quick supper solution on a busy weeknight or preparing a casual meal for your family, Korean curry rice will not disappoint!

INGREDIENTS FOR KOREAN CURRY RICE

  • 250g / 8.8 ounce beef chuck steak (or your choice of meat), diced
  • 1 Tbsp sweet rice wine (mirin)
  • 3/4 cup water, to mix with the curry powder
  • 100g / 3.5 ounce Korean curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 200g / 7 ounce onion, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 70g / 2.5 ounce salted butter
  • 150g / 5.3 ounce potato, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 120g / 4.2 ounce carrot, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 4 cups water
  • Steamed rice, to serve

HOW TO MAKE KOREAN CURRY

1. In a bowl, marinate the meat with sweet rice wine (mirin), then set it aside for 5 minutes.

2. In a small jug, combine 3/4 cup of water with the Korean curry powder. Mix well until you achieve a smooth, well-blended mixture.

3. Preheat a large pot (e.g. dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Then, add the cooking oil and sauté the onions until they turn golden brown.

4. Add the previously marinated meat to the pot and stir. Cook the meat until it reaches a medium level of doneness, with a slight hint of pink in the center.

5. Add the butter to the pot and stir until it completely melts and evenly incorporates into the dish.

6. Add the potato and carrot pieces to the pot, and then pour in 4 cups of water.

7. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking uncovered for about 30 minutes, periodically skimming off any bubbles or foam that may form on the surface and discarding them. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

8. Finally, add the prepared curry powder mixture to the pot and stir it in until the curry thickens, which should take around 1 minute.

9. Serve the curry on a bed of steamed rice with a variety of side dishes to complement the flavors. Some popular side dishes include kimchi, radish kimchi, pickled radish, and a refreshing pickled cucumber. You can store any leftover curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

FAQ:

What is Korean curry rice?

  • Korean curry rice, also known as “ka-re rice” in Korean, is a popular dish in Korea that features a Japanese-style curry sauce served over steamed rice. It typically includes a variety of vegetables and sometimes meat, providing a hearty and flavorful meal.

2. How does Korean curry rice differ from Japanese curry rice?

  • While both Korean and Japanese curry rice share similarities, there are some differences. Korean curry rice tends to be slightly spicier and may incorporate additional Korean ingredients or flavors, such as gochujang (Korean chili paste) or Korean curry powder. Additionally, Korean curry rice often features a thinner sauce compared to the thicker, roux-based sauce commonly found in Japanese curry rice.

3. What ingredients are typically used in Korean curry rice?

  • Common ingredients in Korean curry rice include potatoes, carrots, onions, and sometimes protein such as beef, chicken, or tofu. The curry sauce is made from curry powder, along with other seasonings like garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sometimes gochujang.

4. Is Korean curry rice spicy?

  • The spiciness of Korean curry rice can vary depending on personal preference and the specific recipe used. Some versions may be milder, while others can be quite spicy, especially if gochujang or additional chili peppers are added to the sauce.

5. Can I make Korean curry rice vegetarian or vegan?

  • Yes, Korean curry rice can easily be adapted to be vegetarian or vegan by omitting meat and using vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth. Additionally, you can add tofu or more vegetables to enhance the dish’s flavor and nutritional value.

6. How do I serve Korean curry rice?

  • Korean curry rice is typically served hot, with the curry sauce ladled over steamed rice. It’s often garnished with chopped green onions or cilantro for added freshness and flavor. Some people also enjoy adding toppings like fried eggs or pickled radishes for extra texture and taste.

7. Can I store leftovers of Korean curry rice?

  • Yes, you can store leftover Korean curry rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through before serving.

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