Monday, September 1, 2014

Retort Report: Meiji Otokono Goku-Uma Kuro Curry And S&B Demi-Glace Cheese Curry

From the land of Men's Pocky naturally brings a men's oriented Japanese Curry. The title is a mouthful but goes by Otokono Goku-Uma Kuro Karee (男の 極旨 黒カレー), roughly translated - Men's Extra Savory Black Curry...?

While I've posted on a Squid Ink Curry in the past, this product from Meiji would be inspired more from a small trend of 'black curries' in Japan where the non-food historian of me can vaguely make out memories in the bubble economy of the 80's when your occasional overly ambitious Yoshoku chefs in boutique cafe/restaurants would obsess in creating a uniquely rich and extra deep Japanese curry roux to outdo the next. While they all may have unique takes, basically a copious amount of onions are laboriously caramelized well above and beyond the call of standard curry prepping duty, some unique spices also carefully blackened for an extra roasted aroma and flavor, then finally all long stewed with yet another 'to one better' spirit amount of time for good measure.

I was particularly excited in trying this because it's produced by Meiji corporation, a retort pouch curry underdog with only a handful of curry products that creates none other than my favorite Ginza Kinkei line. Here the "men's" take seems to be on a stamina boosting angle where the box boasts using charred garlic oil and the Peruvian Maca plant as ingredients amongst other things.

Claims aside, I have to say the flavor was near fantastic. With a thinner viscosity closer to Indian Curry, the roasty (koubashii) and unctuous flavors (koku) are the least bitter and pleasurably impactful. The fine grit of spices and fruit pulp gives it a good body while the generous amount of large tender chicken pieces also infused with plenty of blackened spice flavor is hard to miss.

What prevented this from being a knockout home run for me was that it was still overall a little on the sweet side. Not sure if this is a trend with newer generation retort curries, but if I wanted something sweeter, I'd personally go for a Hayashi Rice? Still, I place this up there with my other favorites, and it already seems that the product has since gotten a small tweak in recipe, so I look forward in trying this again along with the other red curry to this Men's series.

Next is an S&B Demi-Glace Cheese Curry (S&B デミグラス チーズカレー).

Japanese curry blended with some Demi Glace and morsels of melty cheese. As with the Kinkei Mozzarella and Glico's Grand Chef, I casually brace as another test with my personal tolerance of perhaps having too much of a good thing in a single pouch...

It's hard to explain Japan's fascination with Demi Glace, but the Japanese version as with the country's curry pivots around the all important consumption of hakumai rice and is adapted to complement accordingly. The combination while hinting flavors of a Hayashi isn't all that bad if not interesting and nowhere near the fusion clash that was the Mabo Curry I've tried a while back.

The larger chunks of beef (for typical retort curry standards) were a pleasant surprise although they may have been on the leaner and slightly stringy side. The cheese that seductively marbled about the surface was maybe close to a milder version of cheddar. It's not hard for me to see why some would be all over this, but for me personally while it was a nice meal overall, by now I'm definitely content with the conclusion that I'm not a Cheese with Japanese Curry fan, as popular as the combination is. As for spiking with Demi Glace, the jury is still out. The second to the S&B's cheese curry series is the Roasted Onion Cheese Curry.


K and S said...

am enjoying your reviews, am gonna see if I can find this black curry :)

Dennis K. said...

Thanks Kat, it's been fun! I have like 20+ more to go...
Anyway if you find, I think it'll be the slightly updated newer version. Looking forward to hear what you guys think. :)