Cooking Japanese Curry and my new Fuji X-E1

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Before flying off to Japan in February 2013 I decided to pick up a proper camera so I would be able to take some pictures on my trip to Tokyo. I had absolutely zero experience with any foto-equipment and had to rely on solely on the experience and tips from my buddy Jacob. After some research I decided on the entry level Nikon 3100 body which is rather small for a DSLR and a solid  Tamron zoom lens with a 2.8 aperture. Not a bad choice in retrospective and I really had some fun with the camera. Not only in Japan.

But what actually interested me more than anything else in the camera world were the gorgeous looking models of the X-series by Fuji. The X-Pro1 was still pretty expensive with ruffly 1000€ for the body alone and I didn’t really like the concept of the X-100 with a fixed prime lens which you couldn’t change.

To make the product talk short: While procrastinating between histology learning sessions I looked around for cameras again and noticed that the X-E1 with it’s fantastic 18-55mm 2.8-4f kit lens was available for a really good price. It’s basically the X-Pro1 without the hybrid (optical/digital) viewfinder, only containing a digital one. I thought this over for a good week and finally pulled the trigger.

It was the right decision. After getting used to the little thing I couldn’t imagine using anything else for making pictures every again. The handling is so solid and the pictures are gorgeous out of the box. If anything looks shitty, all the blame is one me.

I’m currently staying at my grandparents place and was cooking some Japanese Curry yesterday. While doing so I took some pictures for you with my X-E1.

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I love drinking some good wine while cooking. Never forget to stay hydrated.

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My small Zojirushi. I didn’t want anything bulky in my kitchen so I just bought the European version of the rice cooker. A little expensive but well worth the money.

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I like to use some Graisse de canard (too lazy for looking up the English equivalent) for my Ramen & Curry. Gives it some nice flavor and found it to work quite well with some additional olive-oil.

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Staub really makes the best steal pods. Super heavy and a pleasure to cook with.

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Already told you: Stay hydrated!

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Would love to have a proper gas stove like this in my flat. Always feel like a super pro using it.

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The curry so far, just some shallots, carrots and potatoes. Boiling in some Sake, Mirin, Red Wine, Soy Sauce and an Espresso.

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It doesn’t really matter what you’re cooking, good broth is essential. Of course you could just add some water to your curry but a decent broth really takes this dish to another level. I usually get some from my grandparents (lucky me, I know) but started to make my own a couple of months ago. Believe me it’s totally worth it and quite simple. The only problem you may be facing is to get a big enough pot to make it worthwhile.

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I like to let it cook like this for about an hour.

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My grandma made a couple of these herself and put them in the kitchen.

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My aunt’s cat is currently on vacation at our place. She just wanted to say Hi.

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Copper saucepans are one of the many things my grandpa really likes to buy.

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Best looking scale I know. If I had a store I would present one of these somewhere seperate where it stands out. Perfect design and functionality.

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The Curry is nearly ready. Everything is properly cooked through and ready to eat. This is the time when I add the curry powder and some grated Parmesan. The cheese helps to thicken the sauce and adds some complexity to the flavour of the Curry.

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いただきます!

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  • Adam

    Awesome camera… I’ve been looking at the FujiFilm X-series as well but finally settled on a Canon EOS-M since I couldn’t afford a FujiFilm… Yet ;)
    If you want to improve your photography further, you should check out the book “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson. Check out the reviews on Amazon, it’s really good.

    On a side note; I have the EXACT same rice cooker! Bought it in Den-den town, Osaka back in 2011 =P

    • I bet you’re using your rice cooker as much as I do. It’s just the perfect size for a two people household :)

      Yeah, the Fuji is still a little pricey but really worth the money. Wouldn’t pay the original asking price of 1300$ for the kit though. You EOS loooks nice as well, seems like a solid little camera. And thanks alot for the book recommendation. Will definitely get that one. Still not quite sure if’ll just buy the Kindle version though.

      • Adam

        Yeah, it’s awesome =) It’s been ages since I cooked rice now though… Been trying to empty my cupboard since I’m going back to Japan this fall, so I’ve been eating lots of pasta and other stuff. I actually cook cous-cous and bulgur in the rice cooker too – works great (in case you hadn’t tried it yet).

        I’m still dreaming of that Fuji though! Maybe I’ll find a used one in a リサイクルショップ once I’m back in Japan… =) About the book, I recommend you buy the print one as it’s pretty image-heavy. It’s available through other means as well, if you just search around the internet a little ;) But the PDF file is very large if you want the photos in high-res, and besides it’s really handy to have a print version with you when you’re out taking photos (for reference).

        • No haven’t tried it with bulgur and cous-cous yet but I always prepare it with some hot water so it’s no hassle anyway. But thanks for pointing that out. Only made rice so far but am using it every week for nealr a year now.

          Best of luck with the Fuji and awesome that you’re going back to Japan. I’m a bit jealous would love to do that myself one day. Where are you going to stay if I may ask. Which city?

          • Adam

            Yeah of course you may =) I’m going to Fukuoka, going to stay there for a year and study at a language school called FFLC. I made a big thread about what to do in Fukuoka on the WaniKani forum, check it out if your interested =)
            When were you in Japan last time? Where have you been?

          • The last time I was in Tokyo last year in February for a month. Wanted to go this year as well but just haven’t had enough time and money to make it happen. Maybe next year.

            Fukuoka sounds awesome, will check out in the WaniKani forum tomorrow. Always great to learn something about foreign cities. Makes me wanna go there even more :)

  • Nice photos Jacob. I switched from a robust NikonD7000 to the Fuji XE-2 and I do not regret any second! I had 3 lenses on the nikon with big zoom ranges. Now I only have the Fuji 23 f1.4 and I think it is changing the way I see photography. BTW that curry looks delicious. I just came across your blog but I’m looking forward to discover more from japanese design!

    • Thanks a lot for the kind words.. It’s a marvelous camera, right. I bet you’re having as much fun with it as I do. Always wanted to have that Fuji 23 1.4 prime lens but it wasn’t available as a bundle in Germany anymore. Picked the zoom lens which is really good as well and comes in handy. But will definitely pick up the 1.4 in the long run. Such a great way to experience photography when the only thing you need to worry about is the exposure.

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