In the CBD, there used to be a Japanese bakery I frequented quite often in my uni days. Unlike all those Asian bakery chains popping up around Sydney, this one was one of a kind. Think Totoro cream pastries, melon bread, green tea soft serves…. and of course my favourite curry bread, or kare pan in Japanese! It’s basically a doughnut filled with Japanese curry, deep fried and coated with panko bread crumbs. And while it’s decadent, that’s exactly I love it so much.
Anyway. When I returned from exchange two years ago, I realised the bakery had closed down! Needless to say, I was devastated. Since then I’ve always wanted to try making curry bread myself, and it’s only taken me this long to do so!
Japanese Curry Bread (Kare Pan)
- 250g strong/baker’s flour
- 10g sugar
- 3g salt
- 150g water
- 2g dry yeast
- 5g butter room temperature
- 2 cups leftover Japanese curry
- Water in a spray vessel
- Vegetable oil
- Make the curry ahead of time, and leave it in the fridge overnight.
- Put all the ingredients (except butter) into a bowl and mix. When the mixture starts to form crumbs, tip it out onto the counter and knead until the crumb-like texture disappears. Add the butter a little at time while kneading.
- Keep kneading until the butter’s well incorporated, and the surface of the dough becomes smooth.
- Roll the dough into a ball and place into a bowl, before covering with plastic wrap. Leave the dough to rest until it doubles in size. I left it for one hour at about 28°C.
- Punch the air out of the dough and divide it into 8 pieces. Let it sit loosely covered for a further 20 minutes.
- If the dough is sticky, sprinkle with a tiny amount of flour.
- Using a rolling pin, roll each dough into an oval shape around 12 cm long. Place a tablespoon of curry onto one half of the oval.
- Fold the dough in half, lightly pinching the edges together.
- Place the pocket of curry in your hand, seam facing upwards. Then seal the bread tightly using your fingers. Repeat, making sure you place the dough seam side down when you put it back on your workspace.
- Pour panko bread crumbs into a bowl. Then lightly spray the dough pocket with water, making sure the entire surface is covered.
- Place the dough in the panko crumbs and roll it around. Afterwards, don’t forget to place the dough seam side down again.
- Leave in a warm place for 20-30 minutes, until the dough expands a little.
- Set up the deep frier, making sure the oil’s 160 to 170°C.
- Fry for a few minutes, making sure to flip the dough and that the colour’s even. Remove from the oil, and repeat.
- Make sure you don’t overfill the curry. Even a little excess makes the dough extremely hard to seal close, and causes problems when frying!
- Keep an eye on the oil temperature. If it’s too high, it can cause the dough to colour even when it’s not properly cooked inside.
- I used Golden Curry, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. The curry was quite runny, so next time I’d choose one that turns solid when refrigerated.
- When making the curry, I usually cook it using slices of meat. However, this time around I used minced pork to make the bread easier to eat. For the same reason, I tried cutting my veggies smaller than I usually would.
And there you have it! If my instructions are unclear, the original page has plenty of useful pictures showing the steps. Anyway, this recipe’s a total crowd pleaser. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love curry bread, and it tastes even better when you eat it piping hot on a cold day. Let me know if you try it out!