Japanese Curry, from scratch
makes 4 very generous servings or 6 for people with lots of restraint
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 or 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced or diced as desired
2 or 3 carrots, sliced or diced as desired
1/2 large granny smith apple, diced (or 1 whole small apple of whatever type)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (and if you don't have this in your kitchen, you need some)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups broth or bouillon in water
-salt to taste (go light - I needed 1/2 teaspoon and used low-sodium broth)
-brown sugar to taste (if needed - up to 1 teaspoon)
-small squeezes of any of the following (which I totally didn't need) to bring up tartness, complexity, and the love level: ketchup, tonnkatsu sauce, or Worcestershire sauce
-a sprinkle of cayenne or other hot pepper
You will also need rice and your favorite crunchy-crusted cutlets for serving (might I recommend either Chik Patties by Morningstar Farms or the delicious Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon, if you don't want to fry chicken or pork cutlets?)
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions and stir-fry until onions are richly browned. The browner the better. (Burneder is not better.) Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add 2 1/2 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Then add potatoes, apple, and carrot, and allow to simmer until vegetables are very soft.
If you prefer your curry uniformly thick and saucy, you may puree the veggies. If you like it with recognizable veggies, leave them alone. I split the difference and just sort of drive-by'd them with a potato masher, which made an unattractive but delicious curry. Next time I'll puree, and the time after that, I will probably leave them whole. :) What I'm saying here is whatever suits you is fine.
In a skillet, melt the other tablespoon of butter and add the flour to make a roux. Cook and stir until flour loses raw smell, but don't brown. Add the curry powder.
Options for finishing: 1) If you did NOT puree the veggies, dip some of the broth out of them into the skillet with the roux and blend with a whisk; once you have a thick gravy in the roux skillet, add the roux mixture and garam masala to the vegetable mixture and stir. Add peas and let them defrost. Then serve a couple ladle-fulls of this on rice and cutlets.
2) If you DID puree the veggies, you will find that the broth in them is too thick to dip into the roux. That's okay. Add another 1/2 to 1 cup of broth to the roux, and blend with a whisk; once you have a thick gravy in the roux skillet, add the roux mixture and garam masala to the vegetable mixture and stir. Add peas and let them defrost. Then serve a couple ladle-fulls of this on rice and cutlets.
Optionally to the whole cutlet plan (although I scoff at your cutlet-rejection), you can add 1/2 to 1 pound of boneless chicken to the browned onions, and go from there. You won't be able to puree this option without it being gross, though. And you will miss out on the cutlets.