Impressive meal that’s easy to make, thanks to this handwritten recipe from a gacha capsule toy machine.

In Japan, there are two dishes that are often described as showing the individual tastes of a family household — miso and curry.

Each family has their own take on these two warming dishes, using different ingredients to suit their tastes, and sometimes even the area where they live. Being privy to a family recipe is a real privilege, as it’s usually only something handed down to children in the family, so when our Japanese-language reporter Saya Togashi heard about the new handwritten curry recipes being sold at gacha capsule toy machines, she set out to try one.

▼ Each capsule is priced at 200 yen (US$1.75), and they come with only one thing inside them — a handwritten recipe.

There are six different curry recipes to collect in the series, each personally handwritten by a Japanese mum. This personal touch is part of what makes each recipe so special, as the notes aren’t a reprint of a handwritten recipe — they’re individually written by hand, with pen on paper.

The recipe Saya received belonged to Mrs Murakami, and it was named “The Murakami Family’s Sticky Curry“. Saya was really happy to score this recipe, because in her opinion, some of the others, like The Sato Family’s Warm and Comforting Curry and The Kimura Family’s Minced Everything Curry, sounded pretty similar to regular curries.

▼ Mrs Murakami’s recipe was superior, like a boss recipe.

Saya felt strangely excited to receive this secret recipe, and she wasted no time in gathering the ingredients together to make the meal.

The required ingredients were mostly staple ones used for curry — an onion, a potato, a carrot, and some curry roux. Any boxed curry roux will do, and you can even use a retort pouch if you’re in a pinch.

Mrs Murakami’s personal touches include some garlic, some ginger, and, seeing as this is a “Sticky Curry“, two sticky ingredients:


▼ …and natto!

Natto, or fermented soybeans, may not be to everyone’s taste, but the reason why they feature in the Murakami Family’s curry recipe is because they hail from Ibaraki Prefecture, which is famous for natto.

If you don’t like natto, you don’t have to add it, but this is a sticky curry, and natto is part of what gives this dish its stickiness. Saya had never tried a curry with natto before, so she checked the recipe to see when it needed to be added, and found that it was designed to be a finishing touch at the end.

So she got to work chopping the root vegetables into chunks, boiling them up in a pot before adding the heated-up contents of a curry retort pack and a dash of garlic and ginger.

The cooking process was no different to making a regular curry, but the Murakami Family add their own twist with the okra and natto, which act as toppings served beside the curry, as seen in the photo below.

The okra and natto could be added to the pot just before serving, but having them as a topping means you get to add as much or as little roux to them in each mouthful.

Saya is a big fan of natto, so she mixed a good mound of it into the curry and took a taste.

Wow. Despite bracing her taste buds for a big punch of natto flavour, Saya was surprised to find the taste was much more subtle.

Thanks to the spicy, flavourful curry, the distinctive natto odour had disappeared completely, and because Saya had used a retort curry pack that came with bits of meat in it, the texture of the beans seemed no different to the meat.

It was a great combination, and one that even natto haters might enjoy. As for the okra…

▼ …this too was a delicious accompaniment to the spicy curry!

Saya highly recommends adding the okra as a topping, rather than mixing it in the pot with the other ingredients, as it helps it retain a firm texture that’s slightly sticky, as opposed to being a mushy mess.

Of course, the sticky curry is best enjoyed when each mouthful contains a little bit of okra and a little bit of natto. They’re great partners for curry, and now that Saya has tried this sticky combo, she’ll definitely be adding it to her roster of regular meals.

▼ The warmth in the handwritten “dekiagari” (“It’s done!”) at the end of the recipe made Saya feel like she’d become an honorary Murakami Family member.

Every household should have a friendly expert like Mrs Murakami on hand to impart tips and tricks like this for future generations to enjoy. Now that Saya has tried the Sticky Curry, she’s keen to go back and try all the other capsule toy curry recipes, and next time she’ll get out her magical two-in-one curry rice cooker to really create the perfect meal!

Related: Gachatonya Amuse
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