Kabocha curry with atsuage

I am not a big fan of Japanese-style curries. They usually aren’t vegetarian, anyway, since they are usually made with beef fat and bits of various animals, and the “vegetable” curries are usually some unmemorable hodgepodge. In a pinch, though, I’ve been known to take the vegetable curry when handed a hotel food voucher, or when lacking other options at some roadside “service area” along the highway in Japan. My preference at such places is just to get a snack like O-yaki or some taiyaki or dango.

I was trying to make use of ingredients that were on hand tonight, and my initial impulse was to make some kind of squash soup, and then I was at a loss on what to do with a bunch of fried tofu (atsuage) I got on the weekend.

Finally, I decided to make some sort of spicy vegetable dish, and I used a base of ghee, garam masala, some cumin, coriander, fenugreek, cloves, a little amchur powder, mustard seeds, fresh chillies, and possibly some other spices… I sauteed onions and created a roux, which I usually do not do when making Indian style dishes. This turns the dish into a more Japanese-style curry; roux is really the defining feature.

I added raw ginger and some liquid, brought the sauce to a boil to thicken, and simmered kabocha and atsuage until the kabocha was soft. I had to adjust salt and seasoning a bit. I guess it was moderately comforting, but not very exciting for me.

Kabocha tofu curry