World Food Cafe Review & Giveaway plus a Japanese Vegetable Curry Recipe

Recently, I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the new World Food Cafe book, which launched this month.


This cook book is a compilation of vegetarian recipes that Chris and Carolyn Caldicott collected during their latest travel adventures to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Chile, Cuba, Japan, Laos, Helsinki & Lapland, Namibia, Syria and Vietnam!

Whether it’s crispy rice cakes from Laos, vegetable stew with an avocado and red onion salsa from Cuba or an iced rooibos sundowner from Namibia, every recipe has been carefully conceived to be quick and easy to make at home.

World Food Cafe Book 2 500

Each chapter focuses on a particular country and includes stunning photography and anecdotes from their travels, alongside descriptions of the countries’ cuisine and a selection of the authors’ favourite recipes.  It’s a truly beautiful read!

World Food Cafe Book - Bhutan 500

I’m a huge fan of world cuisine and have already tried (and loved!) two recipes from the book, and bookmarked plenty more for the weeks to come.  I need to tweak the recipes a little to suit my family’s tastes (as I do with most recipes!) but this won’t be a problem at all.

One of the first recipes that caught my eye was the Okayama Vegetable Curry in the chapter on Japan. While I often make curries at home, I’d never tried Japanese curry before. I was intrigued to find out what it tasted like.

World Food Cafe Book - Japan 500

There was one key ingredient in this curry that I knew would make its flavour distinct to other curries and that was Star Anise. This pretty star-shaped spice has a very striking flavour, similar to aniseed. In the UK, you’ll find it on the herbs and spice aisle of major supermarkets.

World Food Cafe Book - Japanese Curry 500

The authors explain that Japanese curry sauces are like a Roux, made with butter and flour. I opted to go down a slightly less authentic route and thicken my sauce with cornstarch in order to make it low fat and 100% plant-based. I also cut down on the amount of curry powder and garam masala to make it a suitable level of heat for Lil’ L.

I wasn’t sure what Lil’ L would make of this curry as it tastes so different to any curry he’s had before.  I’m pleased to report that it received a thumbs up from him. He absolutely loved it! 🙂

Japanese Okayama Vegetable Curry 1 copy

We’ll definitely be making this curry again. Next time round, I’ll make a big batch of the curry sauce in advance and freeze it. That way, whenever we feel like a Japanese curry, it’ll just be a case of cooking the rice and steaming the veggies. Easy!

Here’s how I made it:


Japanese Okayama Vegetable Curry (Dairy-free / Gluten-free / Vegan)

(adapted from World Food Café)

If you try this curry sauce and like it, I highly recommend making a big batch next time round and freezing it in portions. That way, whenever you fancy a curry, all you’ll need to do is prepare some rice, steam some veggies, heat up the sauce and you’re good to go!

I’ve made this curry mild enough for children, but feel free to crank up the heat!

Serves 4
Hands-on time: 30 minutes    Cooking time: 40 minutes    Ready in: 50 minutes


Curry Sauce:
½ TBSP olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm / 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 large eating apple, finely grated
2 tsp curry powder (use mild for children)
½ – 1 tsp garama masala (use lesser amount for children)
1 TBSP tomato purée
2 TBSP tamari sauce (or shoyu/soy sauce)
1 tsp sugar
1 litre / 1¾ pints vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
2 star anise
2 TBSP cornflour (cornstarch)
½ cup soya milk (or other non dairy milk), optional

1½ cups easy cook brown rice

Vegetables & beans:
500g / 17½ oz mixed vegetables (to save on prep time, I use a mix of frozen veg – cauliflower, broccoli, sweetcorn, peas, carrot sticks, edamame beans, plus a fresh red bell pepper and handful of sugarsnap peas).
160g / 5½ oz marinated tofu pieces (e.g. Cauldron) (or substitute with ½ cup cashews) 


Prepare the sauce:
Brush the bottom of a pan with oil and cook the onion until it starts to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, apple, curry powder and garam masala, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée, tamari sauce, sugar and stock. Add the bay leaves and star anise. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and star anise, and allow to cool slightly. Blend smooth using an immersion (stick) blender.

Return the pan to the hob. Mix the cornflour with a little water to form a paste, then stir it into the sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring regularly until the sauce thickens to the consistency of thick gravy. Taste test and add more sweetener, if needed. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

For a hotter curry sauce, first remove any childrens’ portions then add a touch of cayenne pepper or more garam masala, to taste.

To make a creamy sauce, stir in ½ cup of non dairy milk.

This sauce will keep up to five days in the refrigerator or for weeks in the freezer.

Prepare the rice:
While the sauce is simmering, prepare the rice. Place the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. In a large saucepan, combine the rice with 3 cups of boiling water. Boil rapidly, uncovered for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

Prepare the vegetables:
When the sauce is nearly ready, steam the vegetables and tofu until heated through.

Assemble and serve:
Use a small bowl to shape the rice into single servings. Pour some curry sauce around the rice and spoon the steamed vegetables and tofu on top.


This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #WellnessWeekend

Products used in this recipe:
Clearspring Organic Tamari Sauce, purchased from the world food section of Waitrose (this is a gluten-free soy sauce)
Waitrose Organic Frozen Vegetable Mix  
Cauldron Organic Marinated Tofu pieces
, purchased from the chilled aisle in Waitrose

Japanese Okayama Vegetable Curry 2 copy


World Food Cafe Quick and Easy: Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey is by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott and published by Frances Lincoln.

International readers, please note that the ingredients in this cookbook are measured in grams/ounces and not in cups.


Would you like to check out the new World Food Cafe book for yourselves? Well, I’m delighted to tell you that the publishers have kindly offered a copy to give away to you, my lovely readers

The main way to enter the giveaway is to leave me a comment below, answering the question featured in the Rafflecopter below. Make sure you tick the box in the Rafflecopter to register that you have done so!

If you’re new to Rafflecopter, you can access a quick demo via this link.  It’s pretty easy… you simply ‘log in’ by entering a name and email address (which won’t be published anywhere) or via Facebook, then you follow the instructions.

There are a number of additional ways you can enter in order to increase your chances of winning. You will find these listed in the Rafflecopter. All entries will be verified prior to the winner being selected.

This giveaway is open to UK residents (sorry international readers!)

The closing date is Sunday 20th October 2013 at midnight GMT.

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links – if you click on the link and purchase something I will receive a small percentage from Amazon which will goes towards the development of Bit of the Good Stuff. Thanks in advance!


31 thoughts on “World Food Cafe Review & Giveaway plus a Japanese Vegetable Curry Recipe

  1. The best food I ever tatsed waas traditional Spanish Paella while in Spain. Never had another one since taste quite as good!

  2. Best world meal has to be a good veggie curry and funnily enough the best meal was in Howrah station (S.Indian veggie meal was the best ever:-)!

  3. I haven’t eaten a lot of Japanese food, other than sushi, but love the sound of this curry.
    My favourite international cuisine is Middle-Eastern, as you’re probably aware given how often I sing its praises on my blog!
    The book looks beautiful, thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    1. I’m so happy that we finally came across each other in blogging world! I’m loving your blog too! So many great recipes that I’m looking forward to trying out ♥

  4. My favourite food I’ve eaten on my travels is msukan in Palestine. It’s a delicious chicken dish made with lots of onions cooked in olive oil and sumac and served on flat bread.

  5. I’m jealous that you got the cookbook and plus I wish it is an international giveaway 😉 It sounds like a really fun cookbook since I love to travel, too! Japanese curry is my favorite childhood meal, I have been making it here in Buenos Aires since there’s nothing else new to try.

  6. My favourite World Food is Indian vegetarian dishes, so versatile, nutritious and tasty.

    Favourite food tasted on my travels was battered deep fried banana from a street seller’s cart in Penang, Malaysia.

  7. Does that include Ireland? 😉
    Anyway, my fav world food is probably chinese fried rice with lots of vegetables and a good soy sauce.

  8. Looks like a lovely book! Favourite meal and where? That’s a tough one! I’ll go for bananas and energy bars at a feeding station on a Welsh mountain, just in time to avoid The Bonk. Take care, T

  9. My Lebanese neighbor’s tomato-eggplant stew and her tabbouleh. I hate eggplant and have hated every other tabbouleh dish I’ve had (many since my mother is Lebanese). She thought I liked hers more because she chopped the parsley very fine and used less bulgur, but I never could replicate it.

  10. Not to toot my own proverbial horn, but I make a pretty dang tasty Indian stew. It’s different every time, but always chickpeas, tomato sauce, and lots of curry powder.

  11. I’m not a great one for favourites but I do fondly remember Egg Hoppers – a lovely breakfast dish in Sri Lanka made with rice left from the day before creamed into egg and cooked. I think maybe coconut milk and a spicy chutney or something to go with it.

  12. Whilst I was in Ecuador I found a little vegetarian restaurant in the capital Quito, they did all the traditional Ecuadorian foods, veggie-style. It probably wasn’t the best food I ever tasted, but I remember being with great new friends and being so excited to be eating something authentic (and something other than beans and rice) that it felt like the best meal ever. :)x

  13. The best food I’ve had on my travels was a pizza in Florence, we were driving late at night and our car broke down and it was the only place open, the pizza was incredible !

  14. The best food I’ve had on my travels was gorgeous fresh fish curry in Goa, sitting outside a beach shack by the sea at sunset.

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