Many Japanese have one or two secret ingredients to add while making curry rice. You can of course make great tasting curry without adding anything. But time to time you may feel something is missing, when you eat curry you made. Or maybe you bought curry mix you usually don’t buy, because it was on sale.
My secret ingredient is parmesan cheese. I usually buy a block of parmigiano reggiano at Costco and divide it into many small blocks and wrap them individually until I use. In this way the cheese lasts about 6 months without being moldy.
The list of the following ingredients are from several Japanese sites, and may help you if you are not satisfied with the curry mix flavor. Most people add one or two of them. Don’t add everything in one batch of curry, because I am pretty certain it won’t taste good.
- Soy sauce
1. Apple: The most popular ingredients to add to curry mix. Before adding apples it has to be grated. Some people add it before adding curry mix, but some people add it with curry mix. When you add grated apple, the curry increases sweet and tart flavor. This may be a great idea if you are cooking for kids and adults who like sweet and sour taste.
2. Milk: I’ve never tried this one. It seems milk is used instead of water when the ingredients are being cooked. Increase sweetness and add depth to the flavor. Considering Thai curry uses coconut milk, and Indians use ghi and cream sometimes, using cow’s milk may not be that strange.
3. Garlic: Garlic makes everything tasty. As apples, garlic cloves are grated before being added. It should be added when meat or chicken are sauteed.
4. Honey: Increase sweetness and mildness. It should be added while stewing, before adding mix.
5. Soy sauce: A little soy sauce can make many foods taste better, even curry! When I make curry udon noodle, using left over curry, I mix the curry with noodle soup base and water to dilute. Noodle soup base is mostly made of soy sauce, and it makes curry mild and delicious. Add soy sauce at the end.
6. Chocolate: I’ve never used it. But as mole sauce has very complex flavor, it must add some depth to the flavor. Chocolate has to be added while stewing, before adding curry mix.
7. Sosu: When I was a child, I added some sosu on top of served curry rice. Ingredients of sosu is mostly fruit and sugar, so that it increases the sweetness and mildness. Add sosu at the end.
8. Yogurt: There is no mystery about adding yogurt. Just it has to be added very end after turn off the heat to avoid curdling.
9. Coffee: In this case, use instant coffee. It increase the depth, but if you add too much the curry would tastes bitter.
10. Ketchup: Some people add tomato or tomato paste to curry. Ketchup adds sweet and sour flavor to the curry.