If you’ve ever played any version of Persona 5, chances are you’ve thought about how delicious Sojiro Sakura’s curry and coffee sounds. I know I’ve felt that way, so when Atlus sent along a promotional package for Persona 5 Strikers, which included a recipe card for curry inspired by the owner of Café Leblanc’s specialty dish, I knew I had to try making it for myself.
Thankfully, I already owned many of the ingredients to make the curry thanks to my pandemic-long dive into cooking a diverse array of recipes, but there were definitely several spices and a few veggies I needed to pick up before I could start the long road to curry. After my quick supply run, it was time to dive in.
The curry itself is robust and sweet, with the grated apple shining through many of the flavors. Also, forewarning: Be ready for your kitchen and surrounding rooms to smell amazing for the next 24 hours. You should also be warned that the whole process takes about two and a half to three hours, so make sure you don’t try and whip this dish up an hour before you’re hoping to eat!
Check out my step-by-step gallery and descriptions of how each part of the recipe card shown above went for me.
- 3 medium pans
- 1 large, heavy-based pan with lid
- 1 small to medium pot with lid (for rice)
- Cutting boards
- Utensils include at least 3 spoons and 1 rubber spatula
- Measuring cup and spoons for tablespoon, teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, and 1/4 teaspoon
- Kitchen knives
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1/2 apple, grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cm piece of ginger, grated
- 500 g (1.1 lb) cubed stewing beef
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp hot chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 200 ml (0.84 cups) red wine
- 600 ml (2.53 cups) beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 g (~1 tbsp) chocolate
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 75 g (~ 1/4 cup) plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 10 g (~ 3/4 tbsp) butter
Step One – Prep Work
If I’ve learned anything from the various recipes I’ve made over the years, it’s that prepping your ingredients ahead of time is crucial for making your life easier and less stressful later in the recipe. For this, I did the following:
- Wash all produce
- Peel and dice the two onions
- Grate the carrot, 1/2 apple, and ginger
- Peel and mince the garlic cloves
- Peel and grate ginger
- Remove fat from raw beef and cut the remaining chunks into equal, bite-sized pieces
Step Two – Make the Onion Mix
Now that the time-consuming prep work is behind you, the first thing you need to do is make the onion mix that will be the source of a lot of the more pronounced notes in the final curry.
- Heat a tbsp of vegetable oil in a medium pan
- Put onions in pan and cook over low heat until softened (approximately 10 minutes)
- Increase heat to medium and cook until onion begins turning golden color, stirring occasionally. The longer you fry them, the more flavor they’ll add to the curry, but you don’t want to caramelize them
- Add minced garlic, grated carrot, ginger, and apple to mix and combine
- Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside
Since the onion cooks for a while, you can cook the beef (step three) while the onion softens, but be careful to not let either burn.
Step Three – Cook the Beef
Take the trimmed beef cubes and throw them into a clean pan. Cook over medium heat until the sides are all browned. Remove from heat and set aside. You don’t have to worry about the beef being too rare; you’ll be simmering it in the curry for a long time before it’s finished. You should be careful to not burn any sides, though. You’ll want the beef pieces to be as tender as possible in the final dish.
Step Four – Make the Spice Mix
You’ll definitely want to have your measuring spoons and various spices handy for this step. You can modify this however you want (for example, if you want to remove the pepper or chili powder), but even with those in my dish, it wasn’t spicy. To make the spice mix, take another clean pan and do the following:
- Add flour to the pan over medium heat. Once you start smelling the flour cooking a little, you’re getting pretty close.
- Once flour is sufficiently heated and/or starting to turn golden, add all other spices (2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp ground coriander, 2 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 hot chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 ground clove, and 1/4 tsp black pepper)
- Combine spices and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until fragrant
- Turn off heat
Step Five – Combine and Simmer
Now that you’ve prepared all the disparate components of the curry, it’s time to put it all together and make the curry itself. Since curry behaves kind of like a stew at this point, you can add any additional solid veggies you want during this step. I opted to stick with the original recipe, which did not include any additional veggies, but I think next time I’ll try some carrot chips.
You’ll want a heavy-based pan that has a lid. I used the deepest pan I could for this part.
- Heat a clean, deep, and wide pan over medium heat
- Add spice mix, onion mix, and beef. Stir until combined
- Add red wine, beef stock, and the bay leaf. Stir
- Bring to a light boil
- Lower heat to just warm enough to keep a light boil. Cover with lid and simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Check on it and stir every so often. If the curry lowers in the pan too much during its simmering, you can add a little bit of water
Step Six – Finish It Off!
Now that the curry is cooked and the beef it likely ready to fall apart when you bite into it, you just have to add a few more pieces to the puzzle to complete the experience. During this final stretch, you should also prep the rice to go along with the curry.
- Remove lid
- Add instant coffee (1 tsp), chocolate (10 g or ~1 tbsp), plain yogurt (75 g or 1/4 cup), honey (1 tbsp), and Worcestershire sauce (1 tbsp)
- Stir and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes
While the curry finishes and thickens with the new ingredients, make the rice. While everyone has their own way to prepare rice, I like to heat a tablespoon of butter with a little bit of grated ginger over medium heat. Once butter is melted and ginger is fragrant, I add rice and water, bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat and let it simmer, covered until all the water is gone. After it’s finished, I fluff it with a fork, season lightly with salt, remove from heat (leaving it covered until you’re ready to serve).
After the 15 minutes are up:
- Turn off curry’s heat
- Remove bay leaf from curry
- Stir in butter until melted
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
Step Seven – Plate It and Enjoy!
Now that the curry and rice are finally finished, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! There are a few ways you can plate the curry, but my two favorite methods are to get a tall-sided curry dish, add the rice, tightly packed, to one side, then flood the other side with the curry, or simply add a rice base to a plate, then cover the rice with the curry.
Unless you have a major appetite or are cooking for multiple people, you’ll have some leftovers. I typically store leftover rice and curry in the same plastic, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days, but you can also store them separately.
The curry is best paired with Lyn’s “Beneath the Mask -rain-.” Hopefully your curry tastes as good as mine did!
For more on the Persona 5 games, check out our review of the vanilla RPG, the upgraded Royal, and the action-driven sequel, Persona 5 Strikers.
Disclaimer: The promotional package mentioned in the introduction of this article included a reusable coffee cup, a fabric mask, a bag of coffee beans, and the recipe cards for Leblanc-inspired curry and tips on making coffee with a French press. All ingredients were purchased at the expense of the author.