Sautéed zucchini, yellow summer squash, red bell peppers and sliced pork or beef nestle in a mild coconut curry sauce that hits all the taste spots in your mouth. Served with rice, it’s a quick, delicious dinner for a weeknight if you blend the curry powder ahead of time. It’s also a great way to use up left-over beef, chicken or pork. If you don’t have any, sauté 1 pound (450 grams) sliced, raw meat in a tablespoon of oil. Remove the meat from the pan and add the vegetables, proceeding with the recipe as written.
Japanese Curry is usually made with a block of processed curry roux that contains wheat and other ingredients that aren’t tolerated by fructose malabsorbers or anyone on a gluten-free diet. While the processed sauce is convenient, it only takes a few more steps to make a sauce without any of the problem ingredients. I recommend blending your own curry powder to get fresher and tastier results. Carefully read the ingredients if you use a commercial curry powder, as many of them contain garlic or onion powder.
Japanese Curry is a concept more than a particular recipe. Use any kind of protein such as beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu, and your choice of vegetables. The curry sauce is often made on the sweeter side, with coconut milk, Tonkatsu sauce, grated apples or other fruit added. Apples and Tonkatsu sauce aren’t on the Low FODMAP diet, but coconut milk is. Some people prefer a more savory sauce and add soy sauce or red wine. In many ways, it’s the Japanese equivalent of American Spaghetti- everyone has a favorite recipe they doctor up for a quick meal.
While onions are often included, they aren’t necessary. By adding fish sauce (a savory sauce that doesn’t taste fishy at all) you’ll never miss them. If you make the recipe as written, the coconut milk shines through for a slightly sweet sauce. To make the sauce more savory, use 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. The curry powder recipe that I use is on the mild side, but you can kick up the heat by adding extra chili powder to the finished sauce. Add it in small increments or you run the risk of making the sauce too hot.
Here are a few popular vegetable combinations to substitute for the ones in the recipe:
- Eggplant (aubergine), red bell pepper (capsicum) and tomatoes
- Tomatoes and eggplant (aubergine)
- Green beans, potatoes and carrots
- Potatoes, carrots (or mushrooms if tolerated) and chopped spinach
Other suitable vegetables on the Low FODMAP diet include:
- Green onions
- Bean sprouts
- Bamboo shoots
- Bok choy
- Choy sum
- Snow peas (mangetout), if tolerated
- Mushrooms, if tolerated
- Broccoli or broccoli slaw, if tolerated
Curry Powder, adapted from “660 Curries”
Makes a bit less than a 1/4 cup (60 ml)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) coriander seeds
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cumin seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) whole black peppercorns
2 1/2 teaspoons (12.5 ml or 6 grams) ground Pasilla or Ancho chili pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Put all the ingredients except the chili pepper and turmeric in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Grind until a fine powder forms, about the consistency of ground black pepper. Add the chili pepper and turmeric and blend again. Put the curry powder in a tightly closed glass jar and store it in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months. Don’t refrigerate it.
Gluten-free Japanese Curry
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil or butter
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1 medium yellow summer squash, cubed
1 medium red bell pepper (capsicum)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon (15 ml) curry powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fish sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) tomato paste
1 can (13.66 ounces or 403 grams) coconut milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
12 ounces (340 grams) beef, pork, chicken, shrimp or tofu, cooked and sliced
Baked Brown Rice or white rice
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan or skillet with deep sides. Add the zucchini, yellow squash and bell pepper and stir to coat with the olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown in spots.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan and add the rice flour and curry powder. Stir constantly until a smooth paste forms and cook over medium heat until the mixture bubbles and becomes fragrant, about a minute. Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce and tomato paste. Add the coconut milk and water and whisk until smooth. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for another minute, continuing to stir. Pour the sauce over the sautéed vegetables and add your choice of cooked beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu. Stir to combine and let sit for a few minutes so that the meat warms. Serve with rice.