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Dinner Tonight: Japanese Curry Rice With Hanger Steak

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

No, this is not beef stew. First, it takes forever to make a good beef stew, which is not something I usually have on a weeknight. Second, you can probably notice a slight orange tint, which hints that there are a bunch of spices involved here. This is actually a popular Japanese take on curry. The history is slightly confusing, but it's basically a strange mutation of a basic Indian curry, as translated by the British to the Japanese. If you'd like to make this sucker from scratch, you should definitely check out this recipe. But if you can score some boxed Japanese curry paste, like Gold Curry, you'll be able to get this very filling meal completed in less than 30 minutes.

Than again, since many of the pictures of this dish look like beef stew, I decided to focus on ingredients that one would normally find in that dish. That meant carrots, onions, potatoes, and, of course, beef. Problem is, the meat in beef stew is usually cooked for hours. My only choice was to look for a quick-cooking alternative. I settled on hanger steak, though you could sub in flank or skirt. The meat is sliced thinly, cooked quickly, and then removed. When cooled, it's cut into chunks, and then added back in at the end.

I picked up a few tips while looking into other recipes. The biggest piece of advice is to go for the spicy Japanese curry, which is still only moderately spicy. Besides that, adding a fruit helps lend some sweetness, which explains what the apple is doing in the list. Honestly, it's kind of incredible it all comes to gather so quickly. And though it looks like beef stew, there's so much more going on.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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