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A Japanese curry called Vermont?

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Some time ago I posted an item on pork katsu kare which used a Japanese curry sauce

mix. One of my Instagram subscribers wrote in to say that they''d been shopping on line and had come across a Japanese curry sauce called "Vermont" and what was the reason behind the name.

I have to admit that's a good question and one I couldn't readily answer. How do the Japanese connect a curry product with Vermont? (which I think we can all agree, isn't known as a mecca for curry lovers). I grew up with the Vermont curry brand in the '60s and always assumed that in an age when any food from from the USA sounded exotic (Macdonalds, Kentucky etc were a big treat back then), it was simply a gimmicky name - put the name of an American state on the label and gullible Japanese people will think it's extra special. Well, it turns out there was a little more to it than that.

House Foods Vermont Japanese curry brand Mild veriosn with prawns and naan bread by kurumicooks tasty easy healthy Japanese Asian and Fusion cooking and food for your kitchen.
Japanese Vermont curry with Prawns.

I found an old newspaper article online that provided the answer, so here goes: Vermont curry was introduced to the Japanese public in 1963 by a Japanese food manufacturer, "House Foods". The curry came in the form of a large block in eight cubes that could be broken off the block and mixed with water to form a curry roux. Vermont curry was marketed as a curry mild enough to suit all tastes, even children. The packaging highlighted the fact that the ingredients included honey and apple, giving the curry a sweet, fruity taste. So far, so good but it still doesn't explain the connection with Vermont. Well, it seems that at the time Vermont curry was introduced, there was an American health fad that had just reached Japan called, you guessed it, the "Vermont health system" - this had arisen from a book published by a local Vermont physician who was making big claims for the health benefits of a drink called "honegar" a mixture of cider vinegar and honey.

House Foods Vermont Japanese curry cubes in hot, medium and mild flavours by kurumicooks tasty easy healthy Japanese Asian and Fusion cooking and food for your kitchen.
Vermont Curry cubes - hot, medium and mild varieties.

House Foods simply used the "Vermont" label to infer a health benefit from the apple and honey ingredients in their curry mix and the name stuck. so there you are!


Vermont curry is still a great choice if you want to make a curry but need something mild. Like other Japanese curry brands, Vermont comes in three varieties, mild, medium and hot but even the hot version is quite sweet and fruity rather than hot like an Indian curry. I've made recipes using each variety. The claim that children like this curry is correct, I regularly used to feed my younger son and his friends with Vermont curry and there were never any complaints about the food being too hot or spicy.


You can find the Youtube tutorials for these recipes as follows:


Or just scroll to the bottom of the page. The written recipe for Vermont curry with prawns is just below. If you fancy trying the other recipes, just return to the Recipes, Curry section of my site.


Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX

 

Vermont Mild Curry with Prawns

ingredients:


(makes 2 servings)


1 tbsp veg oil

100g onion

2 cloves, garlic

0.5cm, ginger

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 each (60g total) , green & yellow bell pepper

300ml water

120g tomato

4 cubes, ‘Vermont’ mild curry roux

10 - 12 uncooked prawns

a pinch of black pepper

 

how to:


mince the onion, garlic and ginger


cut the peppers & tomatoes into bite size chunks


heat the oil in a pan the onion, garlic, ginger and cumin and fry for 1 min


add the peppers and fry for 30 secs


add the water, tomato and curry roux in the pan & cook over a medium heat for 5 min, stirring occasionally


add the prawns & black pepper and cook for a further 3-4 mins


serve with a bowl of rice or naan bread

 

 


 



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