As a child of the Wagamama generation, there was a time when vegetable katsu curry was my everything. I would frequent my local restaurant like nobody’s business and scoff when the waiter would dutifully ask if this was my first time there – didn’t they know that I made tri-weekly visits!?
In fact, Wagamama does hold a very special place in my heart for more than one reason – of course, it introduced me to the deliciousness that is pan-Asian cuisine, but more importantly it was where my now-husband and I had our first ‘official’ date. That’s right – we fell in love over a steaming bowl of yasai cha han in what is essentially a Japanese fast-food restaurant. And they say romance is dead!?
Anyway, I digress. Over the years I’ve realised that a meal comprised of breaded and deep-fried veg, sticky white rice and an indeterminate curry sauce does not necessarily constitute what I would now consider to be a nutritious and healthy meal.
So, after a little experimentation in the S-O-T-H HQ I have come up with my own take on the vegetable katsu curry dish I once loved so dearly. Admittedly, it’s a little bit of a departure from the Wagamama version but I can guarantee that it’s much lighter and – dare I say it – even tastier.
Feeds 2 hungry tummies.
MISO SWEET POTATO & AUBERGINE // 3 small sweet potato; sliced into 2-3cm rounds // 1 large aubergine; sliced into 2-3cm rounds // 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil // 60ml sweet white miso (I use one by Clearspring which you can now get at most supermarkets) // 60ml mirin // 1-2 tsp caster sugar // 1 spring onion; thinly sliced at an angle // 1 red chilli; thinly sliced at an angle // a handful of sesame seeds
COCONUT RICE // 1 cup of mixed brown and wild rice; rinsed // 2 cups coconut milk (I used one 400ml can topped up with a touch of water to make it to 2 cups)
MISO SWEET POTATO & AUBERGINE // Pre-heat your oven to 180° and then line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or foil. Spread your vegetable discs evenly out on to the baking tray and lightly brush with the olive oil. They’ll need to bake for 30-40min until they are soft and starting to brown.
When they have about 5min left to go, you can start on your miso sauce. Simply heat up the miso, mirin and sugar in a saucepan until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. This will take about 2-3min. Make sure to keep stirring to so that you don’t burn the pan. Let the glaze cool slightly and taste – you can add more sugar at this point if necessary.
Liberally brush the sweet potato and aubergine with the glaze and quickly pop back into the oven to heat through.
Arrange on your serving platter and garnish with the spring onions, chilli and sesame seeds.
COCONUT RICE // Bring the coconut milk to the boil and add the rice and a generous pinch of salt. Let it simmer for 15-18min until the rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid and it’s ready to serve.