I’m Japanese, so I love the taste of curry. (If you’ve been to Japan you’d know this makes sense.) This is a very quick and easy vegan dish that could be the main protein in a bento, or a filler. You can use any kind of beans here, but I do like the dense rather fudgey texture of kidney beans. They’re not just for eating with chili! I’ve made this quite spicy, but you can tone it down if you like by adjusting the amount of chili powder. The sweetness of the vegetables counteracts the spiciness. It tastes terrific at room temperature, and can be made in advance. It lasts for a couple of days at least in the refrigerator, though it tastes best when it’s freshly made so I don’t make a big amount at one time.
All the spices used were bought at an Indian grocery store, which has a high turnover, and always has fresh spices. I don’t use Japanese curry powder for this kind of recipe because it’s ridiculously expensive here. (And yes, I do use pre-ground powders since they save a lot of time.)
This makes about 3-4 bento servings.
Chop up the pepper, carrot and onion into fairly small dice. (You can do this if you like by pulse-chopping it in a food processor, but I prefer the chunkiness of hand cutting.) Chop the ginger and garlic flnely.
Put all the vegetables into a large non-stick frying pan. Add a little water so that it comes up to about half the height of the vegetables. Over high heat, ‘stir-fry’ the vegetables in the water, adding a little more water if it gets sticky on the bottom of the pan, until the vegetables are tender. (This trick which I use quite a lot saves on the amount of oil added.)
Push the vegetables to one side so that there’s a clear space on the pan. Add the oil, and the spices, and stir around so that the spices infuse the oil. Stir together with the vegetables.
Drain off the can of kidney beans, reserving about 1/2 cup of the liquid. Add the kidney beans to the pan, with the reserved liquid. Toss around until the kidney beans are coated with the spicy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
You can use this in a rice-based bento, or with flat bread like naan or pita.
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