Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Fanbaking Project: Kareh-pan, a.k.a. Curry Bread (as seen in Kuroshitsuji)

So you have read this other post of mine, yes? 
Take a seat, grasshopper. I knew you would be back.

We are going to focus on making kareh-pan today, thus I'm taking it for granted that you already have some Japanese curry ready, either leftover or made for this purpose. If not, check my previous entry linked above and go make yourself some! It's super easy! 

Now let's pick up things right where we stopped last time. Remember how I told you that proper kareh is very runny, almost soup-like? That is the consistency you will get if you follow the directions on your curry package. Only this time we need it thicker, so keep it simmering on medium-low heat, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon to prevent it from burning.
It is a bit tricky to explain when it's done; basically you want it to get to a point where it doesn't slosh right back when you pile it on one side, but the different ingredients are still distinguishable. (The pic below is the best I could manage; it will become even firmer as it cools off, so it is fine to remove it from heat at this point.)

The kareh part is done. Time to deal with the pan!

(My recipe is a slight adaptation of this one by Makiko Itoh, hostess of Just Hungry. If you have even a passing interest in Japanese food, her blog is THE place to be!)


Ingredients (yelds 8):

* (300 g) Manitoba flour
* (70 g) all-purpose flour
* 1 packet (7 g) dry yeast
* 2 Tbsp sugar
* 2 tsp salt
* 5/8 cup milk (+ 2 Tbsp for the coating)
* 2 + 1/2 Tbs butter

* 3 medium eggs
* Panko bread crumbs
* frying oil

1.  Cube the butter and let it soften slightly. The eggs and the milk should be room temeperature too.

2.  Whisk together the dry ingredients (the two kinds of flour, sugar, salt, and yeast). Mix in two of the eggs, then - gradually - the milk. Finally, add the softened butter and knead (either manually or with a KitchenAid or somesuch) until you get a veeeeeery sticky ball of dough!

3.  Put it into a bowl, cover it with plastic film (or you can wrap the dough into it directly; if so, wrap loosely, because it will more or less double in bulk). 
Let it rest for a couple hours (you can get away with 1 1/2  in a particularly warm day, but don't skimp on the rising time! Your patience will be rewarded in the end!) 

4.  Go look at your dough. Has it grown into a huge, bloated, vaguely eldritch thing?
...Wow, that's GOOD!
Unceremonoiusly punch it down until it deflates, wrap it up again and put it back in its warm, cozy nook for 45 more minutes.
No, really, I mean it! I suggest re-watching your fave Kuroshitsuji episode and pretend you're Sebastian, keeping hunger in check while Ciel pursues his revenge... and waiting, waiting for his master's soul to distil into pure, perfect yumminess...

5.  OK, you can stop daydreaming now! Deflate the dough again (hee hee, isn't it fun?)
Cut it into 8 equal parts, and shape them into balls. Dampen a clean kitchen towel, cover your buns-in -progress with it, and - guess what? - let it rest for a further 15 minutes.

6.  In the meanwhile, beat the remaining egg with 2 Tbsp milk and a pinch of salt.
Take out the dough balls, one at a time, and roll them into flat rounds. Put some curry in the middle...

...then close up the dough around it. You can use a little egg mixture as glue, or dampen the edges with water;  in short, do whatever works for you. It doesn't have to be pretty, as long as it stays closed.

(This is why the filling needs to be so thick btw: if you get smudges of it on the edges, it will be very hard to seal the bun properly. Come on, ask me how I know.)

7.  Roll the filled bun gently into the egg mixture...

...and cover it in panko crumbs.
DON'T substitute plain bread crumbs for it; they are too fine and soak up tons of oil, so your coating turns out all soggy and not crunchy at all. If you can't find them, break up some crackers instead (son't salt the egg mixture if you're using salty crackers), or leave uncovered altogether.

8.  Now carefully place the buns on baking paper aaaaaaand... leave them alone for the usual 15 minutes.
Stop whining already; the coating needs to set at this point. If it doesn't, the crumbs will come loose in the hot oil and your pan will have a nasty burnt taste.

9.  Time to deep-fry! If you're using a frying machine, set it on the highest temperature; if not, you'll know the oil is hot enough when a bread crumb dropped into it turns crisp and golden right away. If it blackens as soon as it touches the oil, then it's too hot!

Carefully lower the buns in, so as to dislodge as few crumbs as possible.
Mine were done in 7-8 minutes, but they were on the largeish side. Simply keep an eye on them and fish them out when they look good!

Drain the excess oil on kitchen paper...

...and now, at last, you can nom them!




...Well, you got the hang of it, didn't you?

A few words of caution: 

*  Making kareh-pan is not difficult per se, but it takes a crapload of time due to the fact that you have to allow the dough to rest and rise multiple times. Try it on a day when you're happy and relaxed, and really have nothing more pressing to do.

*  It is also messy business. Very messy. This is how my kitchen looked right after I was done with them, just so you get the idea... 

*  You really, really do not want your buns to burst open while frying. I can't stress how important this is. This poor guy was unlucky...

...and it was pretty icky, let me tell you. The oil had seeped inside, so that it was basically a grease-soaked sponge. Ugh. 
(Even the digicam didn't have the heart to put the wretched thing into sharp focus. True story.)

*  Oh, and one last thing. When they cut the "mystery donut" in Kuroshitsuji, you can see tons of curry flowing dramatically out of it and onto the plate... 

Kuroshitsuji belongs to Yana Toboso and Square Enix

As you know by now, that is not the case. The filling is delicious and creamy, but definitely not this soupy.  Here I am squishing mine slightly to let you get a good peek at it...

It is, however, a devilishly delicious treat and I really hope you'll give it a try! 

No comments:

Post a Comment