Tag Archives: Japanese

Biwa Sighting

Stumbled across a biwa. It’s a pretty rare Japanese instrument, despite the resurgence of its relative, the shamisen. It’s the lute-like instrument that the woman picks with the paddle. It’s nice to see groups keeping near extinct instruments alive.

The large horizontal stringed instruments are the koto. The recorder-like flute is called the shakuhachi.

The trio is called Rin. The song is called Sakura Sakura (Cherry Blossoms Cherry Blossoms).

Dutch Oven Recipe: Japanese Curry #1

Japanese Curry
While curry may not be a native Japanese dish, the Japanese have adopted it and given it their own flair. There’s no “standard” curry. People use it as a gravy base to which they’ll add many things: corn, potatoes, carrots, onions, you name it. They will put it on rice, udon (noodles), or bread. In this spirit, you can use this recipe as a base. Play with it. Experiment. Have fun with it.

Note that meat is optional. I prefer a good curry without meat. If the curry needs meat to taste good, it’s not a good curry… in my opinion.

2008-12-21 Update: I reworked this article slightly, including altering the recipe.


Tried: Yes
Camp Friendly: Yes with preparation
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ovens Needed: One 12″ dutch oven


2 tblsp butter
1 large Walla Walla (sweet) onion
2 cloves garlic (I use four)
1½ pounds pounds pork, chicken, or beef cut into small cubes. One may omit this for vegetarian style
1 package Golden Curry roux (8.4 oz)
1⅔ cups water
½ pound baby carrots, split length-wise
1 can corn, drained
2 potatoes, sliced thin
2 large green bell peppers
1 cup cottage cheese (optional)
2 cups plain yoghurt (optional)

Camp Preparation

  1. Bag #1: Finely chop garlic. Slice Onion thinly. Put into zip lock bag with butter.
  2. Bag #2: Meat. Put into zip lock bag.
  3. Bag #3: Vegetables. Put into zip lock bag.
  4. Bag #4: Cheese and yoghurt. Put into strong zip lock bag or other suitable container.


  1. Put garlic, onion, and butter into dutch oven to start cooking. Cook until onions are transparent.
  2. Cook meat.
  3. Add water and curry roux. Heat until it starts to boil. Roux will dissolve at this point.
  4. Add other vegetables. Cook until meat is done.
  5. Add yoghurt and cheese mixture. Cook until cheese has melted, and potatoes are cooked.


Serve over white rice.


  • As always, please be aware that these are my personal notes. I may be verbose in places to remind myself of particular points on chemistry or methodology.
  • Note that the cottage cheese and plain yoghurt will tone down the spice tremendously. I used the hot curry roux, and it came out relatively mild. Yoghurt is not Japanese per se, but it does add a nice flavour.
  • There may be debate over whether this is “real” Japanese curry because it doesn’t have potatoes or corn, and it has yoghurt. I’m not going to argue. I’ve not had Japanese people protest.
  • This recipe is works for camping if you prepare ahead of time. Put things in zip-lock bags. This will reduce the mess of trying to prepare food at camp. If you camp in bear country like we do, minimizing food spillage is critical for not turning your camp ground into a bear magnet.
  • The sauce needs the mixture to be brought to a near boil. If the temperature isn’t high enough to break the chemical bonds, it’ll remain soupy. When it thickens, it should happen fairly quickly.

Partial Success

curry and corn bread
We had a partially successful meal tonight. I switched charcoal brands today. (I wrote about “no more cheap charcoal” earlier.)


I prepared a main dish, bread, and dessert.

  • Japanese curry with pork on rice.
  • Jalapeño cheese corn bread.
  • 12″ sugar cookie.


The curry came out excellent. I cheated on the rice and used my Zōjirushi. I have had no successful dutch oven rice yet and chickened out.
The bread was a little overcooked. I should have checked it when I switched the bottom coals to the top (after 20 minutes), rather than waiting until after the full 30 minutes. This dutch oven has been sticking a little. It looks like time to re-treat the dutch oven.
Failure. I was flying by the seat of my pants here. I had too much top heat and not enough bottom heat. The top was cooked to perfection but the bottom was essentially uncooked.





We don’t see Japanese things around here. Today I was driving south on the Interstate. I saw something surprising. There was a large truck. I saw the name of a Japanese company on the door in kanji and kana.

I quickly took one picture with my iPhone. (Taking a picture while driving is dangerous. Please don’t!) You can see “米国ヤマト運輸” (USA Yamato Transportation) in the picture. There are a cat and a kitten. The cat is carrying the kitten.

We don’t see Japanese things around here. Today was a lucky day.