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Finally, a food-related post! As you can see in the picture with the pliers on my dining room table, I’m still in the process of unpacking, organizing, and moving in. I took a break from all that to whip out a proper home-cooked dinner. On a weeknight, no-less! Well, sort of.

Vegan katsu

The night before, I prepared some seitan from a package of vital wheat gluten (like this one.) Vital wheat gluten is a weird thing. It has the texture of flour, but once you add liquid (or broth, in my case) and start kneading it, it becomes a porous, spongey, dough that’s very unlike regular bread dough. I shaped the gluten mass into various cutlet-like pieces and boiled them in salted water with kombu for about an hour. Boiling the wheat gluten before use is crucial — a step I missed the first couple of times I prepared it. Otherwise, the gluten becomes a chewy, tough, mass.

I prepared the katsu by breading it in panko and frying in the cast iron frying pan with shallow oil on both sides. That part was easy.

Almost as easy was the curry sauce, which was basically a roux. I threw some oil and chopped onions in a pan and waited for the onions to soften. Then threw in two heaping teaspoons of madras curry powder. Stirred it around until fragrant, added a few teaspoons more oil, about two tablespoons of all purpose flour, and stir, stir, stirred until the flour browned. Then, I poured in about 1 cup of broth while stirring frequently. This should make a very thick paste-like roux. Then pour in another 1 cup of water to thin it out, add salt and soy sauce to taste, dump in some chopped carrots, turn down the heat, and cook, covered until the carrots soften, stirring occasionally so the curry doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Maybe I was heavy-handed with the curry powder because it packed more heat than I realized, but a little sweating is good now that the weather is starting to cool, no?

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