Thursday, April 14, 2011


About a week ago, I was feeling motivated and in the mood for something Japanese, so I decided to make Kare-Pan.  What is Kare-Pan, you ask?  It is a delicious fried treat that you can find in any Japanese bakery or grocery store.

Basically it's fried bread filled with curry.  Yep, sooooo good.

I had a tupperware full of curry that was taking up space in the freezer so I decided something needed to be done with it.  Mind you, this is Japanese curry, very different from Indian or Thai curry.  No coconut milk, and a much milder, sometimes sweeter flavor.  Curry rice is almost the equivalent of spaghetti here, a go-to dish that any kid will eat, and is super easy to make.

Anyway, you can't just use curry as-is for this recipe, you have to simmer it down to a thicker, more paste-like consistency.  So I dumped the curry into a saucepan and put it on low to start that process. 

In the meantime, it was time to make the dough.  I started with a pretty generic sweet bun recipe.  Let me see if I can remember what I did:

* One packet active dry yeast
* 4 cups bread flour
* one cup milk
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 2 eggs (set aside one tablespoon for later)
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

* About a cup of panko breadcrumbs (for later too)

Warm the milk to 110 degrees and dissolve the sugar into it.  Then add the yeast and let proof for about 10 minutes.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients (minus the panko) until combined.  Pour it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until soft and stretchy.  Put it back into the bowl with a little oil added to it, roll the ball around to cover it with a light coating of oil and set it aside to rise in a warm place for a little over an hour.

While that's going, check back on the curry.  I had some chopped up sweet potatoes sitting in the 'fridge so I popped those in, and let the whole thing simmer away for about an hour.  Then, since there were still some large chunks of this and that floating around, I used a hand blender and blended the whole thing.  This really brought the curry to the right paste-like consistency, so I took it off the burner to cool.  It should be pretty cool before you fill the buns.

After the dough has risen, punch it down, knead it a little bit, and divide it up into 10-12 pieces.  Roll each of these out, trying to keep the edges slightly thinner than the middle (it's hard to do, so don't worry if it doesn't happen,) and drop a heaping spoonful right in the middle.  Paint a little bit of the egg you saved from earlier around the edges to act as a glue and fold the dough over.  Press the edges to seal to make a nice pillow of deliciousness.  After you've filled all of them, paint the tops with the rest of the egg mixed with a little oil or milk and give them a light coating of the panko breadcrumbs.  Now let them rest for about 15-20 minutes.  Sometimes the seals come open during this resting period, so squeeze them shut if this happens.

The next step is your choice.  Generally, Kare-pan is deep fried.  And of course, that is half the reason they are so delicious.  But, I wasn't really feeling up to getting the whole deep frying process going, so I decided to bake them in a 350 degree oven.  I don't remember how long they were in there, but I waited until they looked like this:

Yes, they were delicious.
They weren't quite the same as real kare-pan since they weren't deep fried, but yummy nonetheless.

On another note, through all the rain and the cold nights, the seeds I planted seem to realize that it is indeed officially spring.  The peas and kale that I planted in the ground are all up and happy, the broccoli, zucchini, and onions in the greenhouse are going strong too.  Still waiting on the tomatoes and peppers, but I'm not gonna rush those.  I planted some lettuce and sunflowers last weekend.  What's next?


  1. I love Japanese curry, and I love bread. I think I will have to spend some time in the kitchen...

  2. Deeeelicious!  What a great idea. I've been to Japan but never had me any of those. Darn it, I'll just have to try your version.  ツ  


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