One of our most popular menu items is our Green Curry Shrimp. And it’s easy to see why. It’s rich, creamy, spicy, and full of colorful veggies. I am a firm believer though that vegetarians deserve to get in on the fun too, and that’s read more
Soup Curry is a wonderful example of the magic that can happen when cuisines collide. Urban legend has it that an Indian restaurant in 1970’s Sapporo, Hokkaido Japan served both a popular chicken soup with Chinese spices as well as some traditional Indian curries. Someone had the brilliant idea to combine the two, and Soup Curry was born. Today there are over 200 Soup Curry shops in Sapporo. It is enjoyed year round and can be varied with seasonal ingredients, though it follows the same template of the curry broth, stewed meats and/or veggies, and steamed rice. I’m sharing my vegetarian version, which makes a light but satisfying meal. It’s also an excellent way to use up any veggies you have laying around…
The first time I had Soup Curry was over 10 years ago when we were traveling through Sapporo. As kids we never had much time to travel around Japan; we were too busy visiting family. But once my own children started spending summers in Japan, I was able to include my bucket list items to our visits. My sister was living in Tokyo at the time and agreed to go with us on our trip through Hokkaido. Unlike many other big cities in Japan, Sapporo has a very open spacious feel. Often, you have to walk single file in Tokyo because there’s physically no space otherwise. But Sapporo is different and the food there so special. From amazing seafood, to famous musk melons, sizzling”Ghengis Khan” Lamb BBQs, savory miso ramens, and of course their soup curries, it’s a foodie paradise. This vegetarian Soup Curry brings back all of those amazing memories for me…I hope you enjoy it just as much.
Curry is a very popular dish in Japan, though it is not like the tongue tingling Thai or Indian curries that might first come to mind. Japanese curry is more of a thick, gently spiced gravy. Packages of curry roux cubes are sold in a wide variety of flavors-some overtly sweet and some with more robust heat. I like a brand named House and their Java flavor, but feel free to experiment with others. I have seen curry roux packages at grocery stores with well stocked international aisles, and of course they are widely available at Asian markets. Grab a couple boxes and try my Beef Curry recipe too.
Start with the Soup Curry
I make a base with some aromatic vegetables to add some punch to the soup. The zucchini gives a little more body and thickness without affecting the flavor and not having to rely solely on the roux blocks. As with any good soup, we start by sweating the aromatics in some fat first to give you that well rounded flavor.
Soup Curry Vegetables
You could use any of your favorite vegetables here. I’m using a mix that’s ready available now, but heartier winter veggies would be equally wonderful here too. This recipe is a little unusual in that the vegetables don’t get cooked in the curry. The potato and carrot are boiled until tender, and then roasted with the rest of the veggies. Unlike most curries, soup curries are colorful and composed to be visually stunning, so a lot of care is taken to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. I make an extra effort when prepping the vegetables to cut them into attractive and uniform pieces, both so the final dish is appealing and so they cook uniformly.
Roast the vegetables until cooked through. If you really want them to get deeply browned, you can broil them for a couple of minutes.
I love how the addition of steamed rice makes this a complete meal. I hope you enjoy it’s soothing creaminess as much as I do. Try it and let me know! Rate and comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you.
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- ½ large onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons peeled minced ginger
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 medium zucchini
- ½ box curry roux blocks (about 3¼ oz)
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 small Chinese eggplant
- 1 large red bell pepper
- ¼ head cauliflower
- 2 small carrots
- 1 medium russet (Idaho) potato
- ¼ teaspoon salt and ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- ⅓ cup neutral oil
Make the soup curry:
- Trim and dice the zucchini into ½ inch pieces and set aside.
- Heat a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the oil and the onions. Mix to combine and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes until the onion has softened and is just starting to brown.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and bay leaves. Stir and cook for a minute. Add the zucchini, salt, sugar, ground pepper, and the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover with a lid and lower heat to medium. Simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are very soft. Turn the heat off and take out the bay leaves.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup carefully until smooth.
- Add the curry blocks, breaking them into smaller squares in your hand. Turn the heat to medium, stir regularly, and let the roux melt into the soup. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the soup has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside until ready to serve.
Roast the vegetables:
- Heat the oven to 440 degrees and move the oven rack to the middle.
- Trim and cut the zucchini into 3 pieces lengthwise. Cut each zucchini log in half and set on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Trim the stem of the eggplants and cut a 1 ½ inch piece on an angle. Turn the eggplant a little and cut again. Repeat the rolling and cutting until you have cut all of the eggplant. Set it next to the zucchini on the baking sheet.
- Cut the red pepper in half and take out the seeds and stem. Cut the pepper into large 1 ½ inch pieces. Set it on the baking sheet.
- Break/cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets and also set it on the baking sheet.
- Peel and trim the carrots. Cut the carrots on an angle into 1 ½ inch pieces. Put the carrots into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Lower heat to medium high and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Drain the water completely and add the carrots to the tray of veggies.
- Peel the potato and cut it in half lengthwise and then into large 2 inch pieces. Put the potato into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Lower heat to medium (you do not want to break up the potato by having it bounce around inside the pot) and simmer for 15-17 minutes until you can easily pierce it with a knife. Drain the water completely and add it to the tray of veggies.
- Season the vegetables with salt and ground pepper, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. (If it’s easier, you can combine the seasonings in a small bowl. Mix it up and then sprinkle evenly on the vegetables.)
- Drizzle the vegetables with oil and toss the veggies to evenly coat.
- Roast the vegetables for about 20 minutes until they are nicely browned and cooked through. If you would like a little more color on the veggies you can broil them for a couple of minutes after roasting.
- Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium high heat and then ladle it into shallow bowls. Arrange the vegetables on top of the soup and serve with steamed rice on the side.
*If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the soup ingredients to a standard blender. Only fill the blender cup 1/3 to 1/2. Be sure to take off the cover for the pour spout. Then take a kitchen towel and cover the opening. Carefully pulse the blender a couple of times to get it going, or start on low, and then blend until smooth.
To store leftovers, keep the soup separate from the soup. When you want to serve, heat the soup up and warm the veggies in the microwave for a couple minutes or in the oven at 375 for 7-10 minutes.
Keywords: soup curry, japanese, veggies, curry roux, vegetarian
What shreds like pork, absorbs flavor like tofu, and packs more nutrients per serving than both? Jackfruit! Jackfruit is an incredibly versatile tropical fruit that is grown throughout Southeast Asia. When ripe, it gets sweet, sticky, and yellow-orange and is used in a variety of read more
It’s that time of year! Bright green, succulent stalks of asparagus are at the market again. And my Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry is the best way to showcase them. Asparagus needs a quick cooking method to really let their delicate flavor shine, so a stir fry is ideal. Add a savory sauce and tender, marinated chicken and you have a complete meal, perfect to welcome Spring.
Marinate the Chicken
I usually use chicken thighs in recipes because I find them more flavorful, but breasts cook more quickly and this is a very fast stir fry dish. I infuse them with extra flavor by briefly marinating them before cooking. I add a little cornstarch to it as well, which helps create a velvety texture and also protects the chicken from the high heat that we’ll be using. This Chinese technique is a restaurant standard in producing tender, moist meats while still being able to use blisteringly high cooking temperatures.
I set the chicken aside to marinate while I get everything else prepped. You can also prep the chicken the day before and store it in the fridge until ready to use.
Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry Sauce
This classic stir fry deserves a classic sauce and we include all of the powerhouse ingredients like soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil, and white pepper. Just whisk everything together and set aside. If you’ve noticed in most of my recipes, I like to make the sauce separately and then add it later to the dish. There are a couple reasons I do this.
First of all, it’s a habit. In restaurants, we never add a little of this and a little of that to make the sauce that goes into a dish. In a kitchen with many cooks, that’s the makings of a disaster. The only way to have consistency in food and having it taste the same all the time is by having the sauce prepped and ready to use. It’s the closest you can have to a guarantee that the food will taste the same each time.
Second, it’s too easy to forget something in the heat of the moment. When you have more that two or three things that go into a dish, it’s very easy to forget something when you’re busy. Better to know that your sauce is right there at your fingertips rather than scrambling to get the soy sauce or measure out the cornstarch as your chicken starts to smoke before your eyes.
And finally, I like to keep my kitchen as organized as possible while I’m cooking. I hate looking at the kitchen after I’m done cooking and seeing a mountain of clean up ahead of me. It takes a little bit of joy away from my meal. So once I make the sauce, I can put everything away before I start cooking.
While you can it most of the year now, asparagus is at its peak in Spring. Look for firm stalks, with tightly closed tips. Stay away from discolored stalks or any packages that look wet. I prefer fat spears of asparagus if I have a choice. They have better flavor and texture and they have good heft for a stir fry. But the bottom line is freshness. Get whatever looks the best at the market.
The bottom couple inches of the spears are too tough and woody to eat, so first you need to remove it. If you bend a spear, it will snap in the exact right spot. I can quickly snap through the bunch in a minute. If you find this tedious, you can snap one and then eye ball where to cut off the ends with the knife. Just hold the bunch in one hand and cut off all of the ends in one shot. Once you’ve discarded the woody ends, cut the spears into short lengths and set aside.
Stir Fry Time!
Now that the chicken is marinated, the sauce is ready, and the asparagus is prepped, it’s time to stir fry. Remember the cardinal rules of stir frying, which are especially important in this Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry because it’s so quick:
- Prep all your ingredients and have them within reach.
- Preheat your pan first. (FOR SEVERAL MINUTES)
- Then add the oil.
- Keep it moving!
Now I continue cooking until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through, which is just a minute or two. Altogether the cook time should only be about 5 minutes. You can’t beat that!
Love how quickly stir fries get dinner on the table? Check out:
When you try this delightful Spring stir fry, let me know that you think. Rate and leave a comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 1 pound asparagus
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
Stir Fry Sauce:
- 1 Tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ cup chicken stock
Marinate the chicken:
- Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise.
- Slice the chicken into thin pieces.
- Combine the sliced chicken, cornstarch, water, oil, and oyster sauce in a medium bowl and mix well until the chicken absorbs the mixture.
- Set the chicken aside while you prep the other ingredients.
Make the sauce:
- Mix the shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ground white pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch, and chicken stock together.
- Stir to combine.
- Set the sauce aside, leaving a fork in the sauce so you can stir it again later.
For the Stir Fry:
- Rinse the asparagus and remove about 1 1/2 inches of the tough bottom ends. (If you bend a stalk, it will snap right off).
- Cut the asparagus into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
- Heat a large 12 inch pan over high heat for several minutes. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil and swirl the pan to coat.
- Lay the chicken slices in the pan in one layer and let it cook undisturbed for 20 seconds and then use a pair of tongs, chopsticks, or spatula to stir fry it another 30-40 seconds until the chicken is almost cooked but still a little underdone.
- Add the asparagus and garlic to the pan.
- Stir fry for 30 seconds moving the contents of the pan around constantly. Lower the heat to medium high.
- Stir the sauce again to make sure the cornstarch hasn’t settled to the bottom of the container and add the sauce to the pan. Mix to combine.
- Continue stirring, letting the sauce bubble and thicken, cooking for another 1-2 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with a little salt or pepper if needed.
- Transfer to a large plate and serve immediately.
Keywords: asparagus, stir fry, chicken , chinese, spring, Shaoxing wine