this is japanese curry & rice. in fact, the majority of japanese people love this dish. it is one of the dishes in japan, in my opinion, that you would think about cooking for your boyfriend for the first time.
we don’t make curry paste from scratch actually, but use curry blocks instead which melts into the broth. you can get the blocks in any grocery store, and there are at least 10 different brands, each of them offers “sweet”, “medium spicy” and “spicy” tastes, lying next to each other on a big shelf. i know it’s a bit like cheating, but that’s how our mums & grandmas have traditionally made the dish all along (i don’t think it goes back to my great-grandmother’s generation though). it’s so handy that people make curry all the time, which is probably very different from what non-japanese people would imagine what we would make at home. we vary what to put in the broth, for example this time i used chicken, onion, zucchini and celery.
the red stuff i am putting on the dish is called 福神漬け, fukujin-zuke pickles. the taste is sweet & sour, goes very well with slightly spicy curry sauce. it is always, always served with the japanese style curry & rice: the-curry-wouldn’t-be-the-same-without-it, kind of thing. this one too, we don’t really make at home, but buy ready-made one at a grocery shop. the colour is dreadful, but picturesque (no?).