Monday 14 March 2011

Sloppy Joe with a twist

I have watched enough Rachel Ray's show to know what's a Sloppy Joe. But I never seems to get around to make it until I saw a healthy version while browsing through a stack of food magazines. What caught my eyes wasn't the juicy meat sauce between two burger buns, but the fresh crisp wedges of Japanese cucumber at the side. These cucumber wedges will provide a similar visual appearance of long crispy fries and yet spared me the unwanted calories. Sometimes I do eat with my eyes.

I got really interested when I moved on to the list of ingredients. This Sloppy Joe is made with a Japanese twist! The special ingredient used in this recipe is this Japanese curry roux or curry block, easily available at most supermarkets. The recipe looks really promising as I was certain I would be able to get it right the first time.

So, the next thing you see me leaping from the armchair to the kitchen. In less than 30 mins, I transformed that few lines of instructions into a lunch time treat. A big pat on my shoulder :)

Making the ground beef mixture is as quick as making a meat sauce for a pasta dish. A light browning of chopped onions and some minced ginger (don't omit this, it creates a really nice aroma), followed by minced beef, and some water, Japanese curry block and some tomato paste or ketchup, your job is almost done.

I would love to serve this with homemade bread buns, but that would take a lot of pre-planning on my part. So I used store-bought hamburger them buttered on both sides and lightly toasted with a frying pan, of course you can toast the buns in the oven, but I find using a frying pan really speeds things up. I could assemble one burger while the other was still toasting in the pan.

Instead of sprinkling the cucumber wedges with coarse sea salt and some vinegar as recommended by the recipe, I chose to make a simple wasabi mayonnaise dipping sauce to go with it.

I usually do not strongly recommend my the saying goes, one man's meat is another man's poison. This Sloppy Joe is one exception. I am confident that anyone who tries it will find it yumilicious. The Japanese curry roux gives a wonderful twist to this American dish...the taste of the curry is not too overpowering, and yet without it, it will be like sandwiching a tomato-based pasta meat sauce in between two buns. The sauce is thick enough, not too runny, even my younger child could eat it without creating a mess. Whatever sauce that was left behind on his plate, he cleaned it up with the cucumber slices ;)

I am happy to be able add a new item to my family menu...I bet I will have to cook this over a hundred times before my kids will ever get tired of eating it.

Japanese Curry Sloppy Joe

(serves 2~3)

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons oil
250g minced beef
35g Japanese curry roux (curry block)
100ml water
2 tablespoons ketchup (I used tomato based pasta sauce)
2 to 3 hamburger buns, spilted, buttered and toasted
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 to 2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced into long thin wedges
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (adjust according to taste)

  1. Slice Japanese cucumbers into long thin wedges, keep in fridge to chill. Mix wasabi and mayonnaise to a smooth consistency, set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet or pan over medium heat. Add onions and ginger and stir fry till lightly browned, about 3~4 mins.
  3. Add minced beef and stir fry, breaking up lumps as it cooks, till well browned about 1~2 mins.
  4. Add curry block, water and ketchup, stir and cook till the mixture thickens, about 1~2 mins. Remove from heat.
  5. Spilt hamburger buns into halves, butter both sides and lightly toast them. For quick and easy toasting, I toast them over a hot frying pan.
  6. Divide tomato slices between toasted buns, top with beef mixture. Serve with cucumber wedges and wasabi mayonnaise on the side.
Recipe source: adapted from Food & Travel magazine


Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

I am sure my kids will like this too, must make this for them in one of this lunch.

Jo said...

A really interesting twist to the Western style sloppy joe. I must say it does look delicious.

Jean said...

this is a wholesome meal! good balance of protein, carbs and fibre, looks mouthwatering :)

Janine said...

I've eaten Sloppy Joes but I've never thought of doing a Japanese twist on it! Am definitely trying this recipe for dinner soon :)

happy-bowl said...

Looks like another "Must Try" from HHB. Moutwatering post. My heart goes out to the people of Japan.

quizzine said...

Sloppy Joes is such an interesting name, just like the dish! Can imagine myself licking off the plate ;p

Jihane @ Sinful Sundays said...

Yum! I like the Japanese twist you gave this classic dish.

Passionate About Baking said...

It looks so wonderfully delicious! Can see myself licking up the fillings on the plate! Hahaha... *burp*

j3ss kitch3n said...

this looks so gorgeously yummy! you have talented hands HHB!

Anonymous said...

this one looks easy and yummy! am copying the recipe down...but i have never used japanese curry block before. how long can i keep the unused portion ? thks

Happy Homebaker said...

Sonia, this is certainly a kids meal :)

Jo, it taste as good as the photo, what you see is what you get ;)

Jean, if I could I would add more greens to this meal =)

Janine, I hope you will like this version!

happy-bowl, same here...

Happy Homebaker said...

quizzine, I agreed with you, what an interesting name, sounds like something a lazy cook like me will put on my dining table ;p

Jane, the sauce is really good.

j3ss kitch3n, nah, I only have fat hands (^^")

octopusmum, I keep unused portion in the fridge...I think it has a long shelve life, I usually finished it within a month or so. You can get the smaller pack (125g).

Angel @ Cook.Bake.Love said...

I definitely want to try this, may be for brunch?

Probably I will reply minced beef with minced pork as my hb doesn't eat beef.

Thanks for sharing.

Cooking Gallery said...

Oh, how I love how 'sloppy' the filling looks, it makes it look extra delicious....!

Anonymous said...

Yum... looks really delicious!

Airen-chan said...

Good day HHB, ever wonder why it's called Sloppy Joe, is it because the filling will slip out no matter which way you hold it? I would like to ask your permition to link your blog to mine. I've just started a blog, it's still quite empty at the moment like a new house. I'm not very good at it, just fiddling like a person in the dark. There is no rush and I'll respect the decision you made. Thanks, Kind regards. Ciao.

Kiah Tompkinson said...

The sloppy joe looks amazing ! i wish my mom would make this for dinner. check out the yummy sweets i made.

the kitchen said...

to break up the lump of minced beef instantly, add a pinch of salt and then flip the pan a few times. it will help in breaking up the lump.

hanushi said...

This is the first time I heard Sloppy Joe, looks very tempting. :) You are a great baker/chef. Hehe...

Bakertan said...

hey HHB,

nice burger with a curry minced meat sauce. yummy~ First time I came across a Sloppy Joe.

your recipes are very well received by many bakers, you're too modest =]

ann low said...

WOW! The sloppy joe looks so delicious and I definitely love to try this...bookmarked!

BTW thanks for sharing the lovely Ribena Marble Cheesecake, I adapted your recipe using green apple syrup and it was really good.

sherlyn said...

*Heng* This time I m not the only one not knowing what is Sloppy Joe. But I certainly know what is Jap Curry Roux, mince beef and pasta sauce :). Yes, I am going to make this next week for kids' lunch. Should not go wrong since the kids likes pasta and love jap curry.

You said about adding greens ... wonder will adding in mince green apple helps? hahaha, why? cos some Jap curry also has apples in it.

You are such a good cook, all ready with buns and beef. For this meal I also need to preplan, cos the two items are not must have in my kitchen.

Baking Fiend said...

Definately gonna try this... thanks!

Swee San said...

Hi HHB, yeah I saw the same recipe from the same magazine, no wonder it looks familiar. It looks good!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Airen-chan, yes, will like to link you up :)

Felicia, thanks so much for your tip!

Bakertan, those are not my recipes, I merely follow recipes from cookbooks, nothing to be proud of ;)

Anncoo, happy to know that your green apple cheesecake turns up well :):)

Sherlyn, besides tomatoes, I will add lettuce...and also beside cucumbers, I will add baby carrots, cherry tomatoes to serve as a side.

Baking Fiend, hope your kids will like it :)

Swee San, this magazine is quite good since it caters to our local taste, and also the availability of ingredients...unlike food magazines from the States or Australia...some ingredients are just not easily available here.

MH said...

This burger looks so inviting & mouth-watering! :)Will try out one of these days with fresh minced pork instead. Now, I've another quick-fix meal, thank you so much! :D

phoebeluv said...

i am so gonna try this!! thanks for sharing!!

pigpigscorner said...

Looks so good! Love the Japanese twist here.

Jasmine Dk Shepard said...

I bet this is a great recipe. My dad used to make sloppy joes with Vermont Curry when I was little and I could never imitate it so I will try this

Renee said...


I've been a silent, but ardent follower of your blog for a while. Was just wondering how I can get in touch with you by email? I'm currently looking to replace my oven, and have a few questions I would like to bounce off you. Thank you! Love your new kitchen, and keep up the great work with the blog!

thecoffeesnob said...

This is such an ingenious (and delicious!) twist to sloppy joes, HHB! And 30 minutes from stove to plate? Count me in!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Renee, you can leave your email address with your comment, I will then send reply. I will not publish your comment.

thecoffeesnob, I hope you will not be disappointed with this recipe :)

lena said...

this is really extraordinary, the way you put it sounded really good, hope to try this in the future!

Anonymous said...


I'm gona to try this weekend..look so tempting...
May I know where to get the Japs curry roux ?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Ling, you can get it from cold storage, carrefour, and most fairprice outlets, look under the Japanese products section.

Anonymous said...


I've tried this last weekend... it taste real good. My children loves it very much. Thanks for your wonderful recipe.


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Ling, thanks for letting me, I am happy to hear that your children like this :):)