This is a recipe for soft, chewy bread rolls, filled with curry, breaded more, and deep-fried. So, y’know. Strap in.
This might not come as much of a surprise to you, reader, but I end up with a lot of leftover curry. I’m not gonna fire up the rice maker over and over again just to work through a batch of curry experimentation over the course of a week—so, on day two, I whip up a batch of curry pan, chuck them in the fridge, and crisp them up in the toaster oven for a quick lunch.
To answer your next question: a lot. I spend a lot of time at the gym. A lot of time.
Another reason it works well with leftovers is that, well, you want your curry filling a little… congealed, for want of a more appealing word. Too much liquid is gonna make it hard to seal the bread up, so they’re more likely to burst—and abruptly introducing water to hot oil isn’t generally good news. Pour off some of the liquid, and chop up or mash your… curry components—potatos, carrots, meat, etc.—so your filling is easier to wrap. Be sure to watch out for spitting oil either way—it’s a good idea to put a mesh cover over the oil while you’re frying these, or keep a lid handy.
Speaking of the gym: there’s a lot of punching, resting, and flattening in this recipe—you’re basically knocking the the yeast around before these hit the hot oil. We’re looking to hold back the sort of oven spring you’d get baking any ol’ loaf of bread. A sudden spike in temperature will send yeast into high gear (until it gets too hot inside the dough, and they burn out). It also produces steam, stretching the holes in the bread further. In a stand-alone loaf of bread, that’s often what you want—for these, we want the bread soft, but with a fairly tight crumb—more “bao” than “baguette,” y’know? In my experience, I’ll get two solid rises from off-the-shelf instant yeast, with a weaker third. So, these use a long first ferment—overnight in the fridge, ideally—for maximum bread-y flavor, a second rise that we completely ruin with the final shaping, and a weakened third and final “oven” spring in the hot oil.
No reason you can’t bake these, though. I’m gonna ballpark 350°F, for about half an hour—until they’re golden brown. Skipping the breading and just hitting them with some egg wash probably wouldn’t go amiss, either. I’ll try it next time around, and update this post accordingly.
I Think Japanese Curry is Weird and Gros—
You’re weird and gross.
Look—fine. Okay. It isn’t for everyone. I’m sorry for yelling.
Listen: you can fill these with whatever. There’s a reason every imaginable cuisine has some version of “bread, but with stuff in it”—it is because that is a thing that rules, and this is that, deep-fried. Fill them with leftover Indian take-out! Fill them with red bean paste for a heartier twist on dou sha bao. Pioneer bold and unconventional new Hot Pocket™ flavors. Fill them with other, smaller breads. Whisper a wish in there. I’m not gonna stop you.
But do let me know how it turns out.
Recipe: Curry Bread
85 G. Sourdough starter, straight from the fridge
1/2 C. Water, at ~90°f (32°c)
1 tsp. Instant Yeast
1/4 tsp. Sugar
150 G. All-Purpose Flour
25 G. Whole-Wheat Flour
55 G. Cake Flour
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Panko Breadcrumbs, give or take
Whisk the yeast, sugar, flours, and salt together in a bowl.
Add water and mix until smooth. Allow the dough to rest for fifteen minutes, then hand-knead for ten minutes or so. If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead at low-medium speed for seven minutes. You want a decent amount of gluten development so it doesn’t tear while you’re filling and shaping it, so it should pass the windowpane test.
Perform a set of envelope folds, form into a tight-skinned ball, and allow to rest on the countertop, loosely covered, for fifteen minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and ferment for two hours, or overnight in the fridge.
Punch the dough down, envelope-fold and shape it back into a ball, place it into a clean, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled. This’ll take an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. Divide into 10–16 equally-sized, ball-shaped pieces, and leave them to rest for another fifteen minutes.
Bring oil to 350° f (~175° c) in a fryer, wok, deep pan, or dutch oven. Meanwhile, flatten each piece of dough into a thin disc, add a spoonful of curry to the center (drained of excess liquid, if necessary), purse the seams together (use a fingertip and a small bowl of water to seal the edges together, if the dough isn’t sticking), and form into a ball, crescent, or torpedo shape.
Roll the shaped dough in the egg/water wash, then the breadcrumbs. Fry one or two pieces at a time for just a few minutes each side—until uniformly golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool briefly on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately, with a drizzle of Kewpie mayo and Bull-Dog tonkatsu sauce, and—if you’re living your best life—a generous side of fukujinzuke.