How to make japanese curry

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This is a delightful Japanese-inspired shrimp recipe for garlic-lovers; served over rice or pasta or on it’s own — it’s sure to make everyone scream, ‘What’s the recipe?!’ I secured this sure-fire loads-o-goodness recipe while attempting to replicate something else entirely. Serve shrimps over freshly prepared rice or pasta with a salad, vegetable and/or hot bread and butter — Happy Ending!

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Recipe Summary

Ingredients

Stir together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, mirin, minced garlic, dried minced onion, onion powder, curry powder, turmeric, basil, cayenne pepper, and salt in a bowl. Fold in the bread crumbs until evenly moistened. Cover, and refrigerate at least an hour.

Cut each shrimp along the back and open the halves like a book. Place a hearty dollop of the mayonnaise mixture onto each shrimp, and spread over the top to completely cover. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Place the shrimp in the pan, mayonnaise-side up, and add the water. Cover, and steam until the shrimp are no longer transparent, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.

Posted on Last updated: May 28, 2020 Categories Curry, Japanese

Have you tried Japanese curry before?

Japanese curry is a quick, easy, fail-safe recipe, making it an excellent choice for busy people to prepare a simply delicious meal.

This recipe offers two methods to prepare the curry. First, use the store-bought Japanese curry cubes for cooking, and secondly making the roux from scratch, but it takes a longer time.

The word curry normally associate with the fiercely hot and spicy However, Japanese curry is an exception. It has a tinge of sweet flavor!

Japanese curry is not an original cuisine from Japan. It was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era (1868–1912) by the British. During that era, India was under the British colonial rule, and the Britons had widely accepted curry. Curry had been popularised in Japan through improvisation hence a new flavor utterly different from any curries from the South-Asian countries was developed. Japanese curry has become a staple meal of the Japanese and is enjoyed by people of all ages.

How to make japanese curry

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Here is the step-by-step guide on how to prepare the Japanese curry.

Caramelized the onion

One of the most important aspects of making Japanese curry is to sauté the onions until they are caramelized, which can take up to 20 minutes. Most of the curries from Asian countries are prepared by sautéing the onion until translucent only.

The onions should be cut into thin slices so that they can caramelize quickly. The caramelization will render the unique flavor to the curry that sets it apart from other curries.

Marinate and pan-fried the chicken

Chicken, beef, and pork are all suitable for cooking Japanese curry. I am using chicken in this recipe. You can substitute it with other meat to cook by following the same method in this article.

I prefer to marinate the chicken with some salt, although this method is not typical in preparing the Japanese curry. I find that marinate the meat can enhance the flavor substantially. Since the meat is in bite-size, marinate for half an hour should be enough.

I also like to pan fried the chicken until it turns to light brown before cooking it with water. Pan frying creates another layer of flavor to the curry through Maillard reaction, which will not happen by simmering the chicken.

How to make japanese curry

Cooking the curry

  • Place the caramelized onions, the pan-fried chicken, carrots, potatoes and water in a pot.
  • Bring it to a boil and then simmer for fifteen minutes.

So far, the process is quite common to other curry dishes. Now we want to add a few items that are unique to the Japanese curry.

  • Tonkatsu sauce. It tastes similar to Worcestershire sauce. You can use Worcestershire sauce as the substitute.
  • Tomato ketchup. It changes the color of the curry to slightly reddish. You can also use tomato puree or paste as the substitute.
  • Fuji apple. Grate half a Fufu apple into the pot. Apples provide a unique sweetness to the curry. Some people like add a small of honey for the same purpose.

Two ways to make the roux

There are two ways to proceed from here.

1. Use the store-bought curry roux mix

The easiest way is to get the store-bought Japanese curry roux cubes. It is widely available is most of the grocery shops in many countries. The mix contains the roux (oil and flour) and the curry spices.

It is easy to use the Japanese curry roux for preparing the curry. This method saves you time, but you have less control over the taste than make from scratch. The curry roux comes with different level of spiciness. I usually use the S&B brand that is moderately spicy.

Add the roux cubes to the pot of curry, keep stirring until the cubes are entirely disintegrated and thicken the liquid. Do a taste test as these roux cubes also contain some salt and sugar. You may want to add some curry powder and salt to adjust the taste.

2. Make Japanese curry from scratch

Alternatively, you can make the roux by following the steps below.

  • Heat 60g of butter over low heat in a pan.
  • Add the equal amount of wheat flour and stir constantly. Let the butter combine with the flour, and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes until it turns to medium brown, which is the characteristic color of Japanese curry. Keep stirring so that the roux will not stick to the pan. Keep the heat low so that the butter will not turn into smoke and get burn.
  • Add some chili powder if you want a spicier curry.
  • Add three tablespoons of Japanese curry powder (or more if you want a stronger curry taste) and mix it well until it forms a thick paste.

This roux making process is similar to making to preparing the brown sauce. Making your roux has the advantage of you controlling the level of spiciness and the proportion of various spices used.

Once it is ready, add the roux to the pot and cook until it thickens the curry.

Final tasting

Add some salt to the curry until you get the desired level of saltiness. It is better to adjust the taste now because the saltiness depends on how much the curry had been reduced. Also, store-bought roux cubes contain salt (and coloring and monosodium glutamate), so it is safer not to add too much salt at the earlier stages.

For the same reason, you need to add more salt if you are making your roux. You may also need to add more curry powder, sugar, and chili powder to get the flavor you want.

Once you have adjusted the taste, add some frozen green peas to the curry. Wait until it boils again and is ready to serve.

The Japanese curry is best to serve with steamed rice and is also good to use to prepare Japanese curry ramen.

If you like this Japanese curry recipe, you may also interested to try other related curry recipes. our Malaysian Chicken curry with gravy, Indonesian beef minang which is a dry curry, and Kapitan chicken which is a famous Nyonya cuisine.

How to make japanese curry

Japanese curry is a quick, easy, fail-safe recipe, making it an excellent choice for busy people to prepare a simply delicious meal.

How to make japanese curry

“Curry rice” is one of the most beloved home-cooked meals in Japanese households. It is consumed so much to the point it should be considered one of the unofficial national foods! And just as Japanese food manufacturers have made it easy to make the beloved ramen at home with instant options, making great-tasting homemade style curry rice is just as easy. Here is your quick guide for all the basics of the Japanese curry so that you can make it exactly the way you want it at home as well!

Japanese curry is thicker and milder compared to other curries, like the Indian or Thai variations. It is typically served over sticky or short-grain rice. But another popular way to serve curry is over udon, which is the thick, wheat flour noodle soup.

Curry Roux

The key ingredient and what makes Japanese curry unique is the roux. I suppose you could make the roux from scratch, but this is where you can cut all the extra time and effort by purchasing the boxed curry roux from the Japanese companies. There are a lot of varieties of curry roux, but the majority of them are manufactured by the Japanese food manufacturers S&B and House. To my unrefined palate, they are all good and there aren’t many noticeable differences in the roux, maybe except for the level of the spiciness.

Mild, Medium or Hot Curry Roux Differences

Store-bought curry roux usually comes in three levels of spiciness; mild, medium or hot. Mild has absolutely no heat at all, almost on the sweet side. But Medium is barely spicy. With the Hot option, you do start to notice some heat. There is now the Extra Hot option available but it’s nowhere near spicy as what you might expect from an Indian curry. So, if you love the most extreme spiciness, you will need to add extra red peppers flakes or chili peppers to the Hot or Extra Hot roux as you cook to achieve the level of heat you want.

Traditional ingredients

The most traditional ingredients to put in the curry are:

  • Beef (I use the stew meat)
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions

Additional ingredients

You can further customize the curry the way you want by adding some of these other ingredients based on your preference:

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Cashews
  • Raisins

Meat options

If you are not a beef fan, you can also make the curry using other meats, cut into bite size pieces. Follow my Instant Pot recipe below to get the best result for curry cooked with meat. You can also skip the meat, of course, and the curry tastes just as good!

  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Seafood – shrimp, squid, mussels, etc. (Note: If you decide to follow my Instant Pot recipe below, I suggest cooking the seafood separately and mixing it to the cooked curry.)

Optional ingredients to enhance the flavor

I have heard that people add some of the following ingredients at the same time as the roux to further enhance the flavor to their liking. I don’t suggest adding ALL of the items below at once, but you can experiment with the following (about 1 tablespoon of each) to see if any of the ingredients below can help achieve the optimum flavor that you and your family might like even more:

  • ketchup
  • Worcester sauce
  • soy sauce
  • curry powder
  • dark chocolate (approx. 1 inch /1.5 cm square)
  • apricot jam
  • grape jam
  • honey
  • apple – grated or sliced
  • red pepper flakes or chili powder – to taste
  • milk or coconut milk – for creamier texture
  • top it with a pat of butter before serving

Pro tip: Make the curry one day in advance and refrigerate. The flavors blend into the meat and vegetables overnight and the curry tastes better on the second or even the third day! If you keep it too much longer though, the curry will start to separate and look kinda gnarly.

Top it with:

If you cooked a lot of things into the curry, you may not want or need to top the curry before serving it over rice or udon. But some of the options I have seen are:

  • Fried eggs
  • Grated or shredded cheese

What is the red relish served with Japanese curry rice?

If you have ever had the Japanese curry rice at a restaurant or in Japan, the most traditional relish that accompanies the dish is the bright red and crunchy fukujinzuke. Fukujinzuke is pickled, finely chopped vegetables usually consisting of daikon, cucumbers, eggplants and lotus root.

How to make japanese curry

HOW TO MAKE JAPANESE CURRY:

There are two basic ways to make the curry:

  1. Traditional way, following the directions on the package
  2. Instant Pot method

Since you can just follow the directions on the package to cook it in the traditional way, I’ve provided the recipes below to make the curry using the Instant Pot. Over the years, I’ve made the curry using the traditional method. But Instant Pot has been a game changer! Just as the pot roast comes out so much faster and tender using Instant Pot, the curry can be perfectly cooked with tender meat using Instant Pot!

How to make Japanese curry with Instant Pot

Instructions: To make 1 whole package of curry sauce mix (12 servings)

  1. Dice all the ingredients into larger bite-sized pieces.
  2. Select Sauté function on the Instant Pot and allow to heat up.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter or heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the meat and stir until browned on all sides.
  4. Add the vegetables and any other optional ingredients from above. If you are adding milk or cashews, add them later, at the same time as the roux.
  5. Add water but reduce the amount by 1 cup to make the whole package or by ½ cup to make half the package. For example, if the package direction calls for 6 cups of water, add 5 cups instead.
  6. Close and lock the lid. Select Manual mode and set the timer for 30 minutes.
  7. Release pressure using the natural-release method for 10 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.
  8. Break up roux into cubes and gently mix into the soup. It will thicken into consistency that’s similar to beef stew.
  9. Keep it on the Low mode, close the lid and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Adjust the thickness if needed by gradually adding water but remember that it’s suppose to be thicker than the Indian or Thai curry.

How to serve curry:

Once the curry is cooked, you can serve it the following ways:

  • Curry rice – serve over rice
  • Curry udon – serve over udon noodle soup. Find the curry udon recipe here!
  • Katsu curry – serve over chicken or port cutlet and rice

How to make japanese curry

“Curry rice” is one of the most beloved home-cooked meals in Japanese households. It is consumed so much to the point it should be considered one of the unofficial national foods! And just as Japanese food manufacturers have made it easy to make the beloved ramen at home with instant options, making great-tasting homemade style curry rice is just as easy. Here is your quick guide for all the basics of the Japanese curry so that you can make it exactly the way you want it at home as well!

Japanese curry is thicker and milder compared to other curries, like the Indian or Thai variations. It is typically served over sticky or short-grain rice. But another popular way to serve curry is over udon, which is the thick, wheat flour noodle soup.

Curry Roux

The key ingredient and what makes Japanese curry unique is the roux. I suppose you could make the roux from scratch, but this is where you can cut all the extra time and effort by purchasing the boxed curry roux from the Japanese companies. There are a lot of varieties of curry roux, but the majority of them are manufactured by the Japanese food manufacturers S&B and House. To my unrefined palate, they are all good and there aren’t many noticeable differences in the roux, maybe except for the level of the spiciness.

Mild, Medium or Hot Curry Roux Differences

Store-bought curry roux usually comes in three levels of spiciness; mild, medium or hot. Mild has absolutely no heat at all, almost on the sweet side. But Medium is barely spicy. With the Hot option, you do start to notice some heat. There is now the Extra Hot option available but it’s nowhere near spicy as what you might expect from an Indian curry. So, if you love the most extreme spiciness, you will need to add extra red peppers flakes or chili peppers to the Hot or Extra Hot roux as you cook to achieve the level of heat you want.

Traditional ingredients

The most traditional ingredients to put in the curry are:

  • Beef (I use the stew meat)
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions

Additional ingredients

You can further customize the curry the way you want by adding some of these other ingredients based on your preference:

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Cashews
  • Raisins

Meat options

If you are not a beef fan, you can also make the curry using other meats, cut into bite size pieces. Follow my Instant Pot recipe below to get the best result for curry cooked with meat. You can also skip the meat, of course, and the curry tastes just as good!

  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Seafood – shrimp, squid, mussels, etc. (Note: If you decide to follow my Instant Pot recipe below, I suggest cooking the seafood separately and mixing it to the cooked curry.)

Optional ingredients to enhance the flavor

I have heard that people add some of the following ingredients at the same time as the roux to further enhance the flavor to their liking. I don’t suggest adding ALL of the items below at once, but you can experiment with the following (about 1 tablespoon of each) to see if any of the ingredients below can help achieve the optimum flavor that you and your family might like even more:

  • ketchup
  • Worcester sauce
  • soy sauce
  • curry powder
  • dark chocolate (approx. 1 inch /1.5 cm square)
  • apricot jam
  • grape jam
  • honey
  • apple – grated or sliced
  • red pepper flakes or chili powder – to taste
  • milk or coconut milk – for creamier texture
  • top it with a pat of butter before serving

Pro tip: Make the curry one day in advance and refrigerate. The flavors blend into the meat and vegetables overnight and the curry tastes better on the second or even the third day! If you keep it too much longer though, the curry will start to separate and look kinda gnarly.

Top it with:

If you cooked a lot of things into the curry, you may not want or need to top the curry before serving it over rice or udon. But some of the options I have seen are:

  • Fried eggs
  • Grated or shredded cheese

What is the red relish served with Japanese curry rice?

If you have ever had the Japanese curry rice at a restaurant or in Japan, the most traditional relish that accompanies the dish is the bright red and crunchy fukujinzuke. Fukujinzuke is pickled, finely chopped vegetables usually consisting of daikon, cucumbers, eggplants and lotus root.

How to make japanese curry

HOW TO MAKE JAPANESE CURRY:

There are two basic ways to make the curry:

  1. Traditional way, following the directions on the package
  2. Instant Pot method

Since you can just follow the directions on the package to cook it in the traditional way, I’ve provided the recipes below to make the curry using the Instant Pot. Over the years, I’ve made the curry using the traditional method. But Instant Pot has been a game changer! Just as the pot roast comes out so much faster and tender using Instant Pot, the curry can be perfectly cooked with tender meat using Instant Pot!

How to make Japanese curry with Instant Pot

Instructions: To make 1 whole package of curry sauce mix (12 servings)

  1. Dice all the ingredients into larger bite-sized pieces.
  2. Select Sauté function on the Instant Pot and allow to heat up.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter or heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the meat and stir until browned on all sides.
  4. Add the vegetables and any other optional ingredients from above. If you are adding milk or cashews, add them later, at the same time as the roux.
  5. Add water but reduce the amount by 1 cup to make the whole package or by ½ cup to make half the package. For example, if the package direction calls for 6 cups of water, add 5 cups instead.
  6. Close and lock the lid. Select Manual mode and set the timer for 30 minutes.
  7. Release pressure using the natural-release method for 10 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.
  8. Break up roux into cubes and gently mix into the soup. It will thicken into consistency that’s similar to beef stew.
  9. Keep it on the Low mode, close the lid and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Adjust the thickness if needed by gradually adding water but remember that it’s suppose to be thicker than the Indian or Thai curry.

How to serve curry:

Once the curry is cooked, you can serve it the following ways:

  • Curry rice – serve over rice
  • Curry udon – serve over udon noodle soup. Find the curry udon recipe here!
  • Katsu curry – serve over chicken or port cutlet and rice

How do you make Japanese curry better?

It’s actually really good if you add some fish sauce and ketchup. My friend swears by adding some ground coffee to the mix after adding the roux. My local grocery series jars of garlic-and-ginger paste that I’m a fan of adding to Japanese curry. I also regularly use chicken broth instead of water.

How do you make Japanese chicken curry from scratch?

How To Make Japanese Curry

  1. Brown The chicken and remove it from the pan and set it aside.
  2. Cook onions and garlic until soft.
  3. Add the spices and allow them to bloom with the onion mixture.
  4. Add stock and mix to combine.
  5. Add the chicken back to the pan with carrots and potatoes and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

How is Japanese curry made?

Curry sauce is made by frying together curry powder, flour, and oil, along with other ingredients, to make roux; the roux is then added to stewed meat and vegetables, and then simmered until thickened. Pressure cooking can be used as well.

How do you use Japanese curry cubes?

Boil water in a pan. Add vegetables such as potato or carrot and meat. Break up curry cubes and add 1 cube per person. Stir well and then serve.

Does coffee go with curry?

If you’ve never tried it, you really should give it a try. Japanese curry is very sweet rather than spicy (even the ‘spicy’ varieties are usually sweeter than they are spicy) so it probably goes pretty well with coffee.

Are Japanese curry cubes healthy?

Comparing to spicy Indian or Thai curries, Japanese curry is much less spicy. It’s milder and sadly much more unhealthy.. Japanese curry contains high amount of fat, especially the roux is high in carbs, sugar and fat. Moreover, it’s usually served with rice.

How do you make chicken curry from scratch?

  1. Salt the chicken, then saute the onions.
  2. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Stir in the spices.
  4. Saute until the chicken is golden.
  5. Add the potatoes.
  6. Pour in the remaining ingredients, stirring before bringing everything to a simmer. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with cilantro and rice.

How do you thicken a curry?

How To Make Curry Sauce Thicker

  1. Cooking without the lid. In order to thicken the curry sauce, we suggest the simplest thing first.
  2. Lentils. Adding a tablespoon or two of red lentils would help thickening Indian curries a bit.
  3. Coconut milk or Yogurt.
  4. Cornstarch or Arrowroot powder.
  5. Mashed potatoes.
  6. Ground nuts.
  7. Roux.

How do you make Japanese curry sauce from scratch?

  1. 3 tablespoons butter.
  2. 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour.
  3. 1 tablespoon curry powder.
  4. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  5. 3 cups chicken broth, or beef.
  6. 3 tablespoons soy sauce.
  7. salt, to taste.

Why do Japanese eat curry?

Spices are believed to cool you down by making you perspire, as well as stimulating an appetite dulled by the sweltering weather. The quintessential spicy dish in Japan is curry, which is so popular that it’s regarded, along with ramen, as one of the top two national dishes — ahead of sushi and miso soup.

Which brand of Japanese curry is the best?

How we found the best Japanese curry roux

  • Golden Curry (S&B)
  • Java Curry (House Foods)
  • Kokumaro Curry (House Foods)
  • Premium (Glico)
  • Premium Golden Curry (S&B)
  • Tasty Curry Sauce Mix (S&B)
  • Vermont Curry (House Foods)
  • Zeppin (Glico)

What is the red stuff in Japanese curry?

Fukujinzuke is a mixture of Japanese radish (daikon), lotus root, cucumber and eggplant which are preserved in a soya sauce and sweet cooking wine (mirin) base. The sweet brown or red relish is served as a garnish to Japanese curry (kare raisu).

How is Japanese curry different from Indian curry?

For one, Japanese curry uses curry powder with less spices whereas Indian curry uses a variety of bases such as cumin, paprika, turmeric, and many more. Indian curry is more vibrant and bursting with flavor, while Japanese curry is sumptuous and “umami” but in a more understated manner.

What do you eat with Japanese curry?

Serve this hearty, thick curry simply with rice or cooked noodles. A fried egg on top works well. Or, make a tofu bowl with it. For special occasions, serve the curry with rice and crispy pork — fried on the stovetop or baked in the oven.

How do you thicken Japanese curry?

Mix cornstarch or potato starch (katakuriko) in cold water. Once reasonably dissolved, add it to the curry pot. This type of thickener can create a slightly odd texture in a Japanese curry, as the browned roux creates a more velvety texture, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done it before in a pinch.

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Curry has always been a passion of mine, especially Japanese Curry. After years of searching I have discovered the perfect Japanese Curry. Many of these spices can be found at your local Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern markets, or substituted with S&B® Oriental Curry Powder. Well worth the effort – your family will love this! Serve over steamed rice or noodles.

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Recipe Summary

Ingredients

Combine coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, and fennel seeds in a large skillet over low heat; toast until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks; toast until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove seeds from cardamom pods and return to the skillet, discarding pods.

Transfer toasted spice mixture to a spice grinder or blender. Add turmeric, white peppercorns, black peppercorns, allspice, and nutmeg; grind into a fine curry powder.

Melt 3/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Remove from heat.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large pot over low heat. Add onions; cook and stir until golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Increase heat to high; add 2 tablespoons curry powder, chicken, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and salt. Saute until chicken is browned, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and bouillon cubes; bring curry to a boil.

Stir carrots into the pot; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in green bell peppers and apples. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in curry paste and simmer until sauce thickens and flavors combine, about 5 minutes.

How to make japanese curry

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Katherine Sacks

When I traveled to Japan last October, I knew I would be eating lots of sushi. I assumed I’d have tons of sake, and I was super excited to eat anything and everything matcha flavored. What I didn’t expect to try was Japanese curry.

How to make japanese curry

Inside Mitsuwa, the Best Grocery Store in America

What’s Japanese curry, you ask? I had the same question, when a chef presented the spicy gravy over udon noodles at a supper club during one of my many epic meals in Tokyo. A few days later, I was chatting with Alisa Sanada, COO of Nagomi Visit, a Tokyo-based program that helps promote cross-cultural exchange by pairing Japanese home cooks with foreign travelers. “The easiest weeknight dinner?” she said. “Japanese-style curry is the number one thing to make.”

Easy and weeknight? My ears perked up. Back in New York, and missing Japan like no other, I was flipping through Masaharu Morimoto’s latest cookbook, Mastering the Art of Japanese Cooking (which is full of amazingly witty Morimoto musings on Japanese cooking, like his headnote for the curry recipe, BTW), when I stumbled on his recipe for Karei Raisu, or Japanese-style curry.

“Everyone grows up eating curry at home,” Morimoto explained to me via e-mail. “It’s a taste of home cooking. It’s a dish that mothers make for their children.”

The ultimate comfort food dish, Japanese-style curry is a warming one-pot meal you can toss any meat or vegetable into. And as Yuki Sugimoto, one of the Nagomi Visit hosts explained to me, it’s the kind of dish Japanese kids learn to make early on. “Since curry and rice is one of the easiest dishes to cook, my mom taught me how to make it when I was a small kid and I’ve cooked it for my family since then,” says Sugimoto. “I was already a ‘good curry chef’ at the age 10 or 11.”

If curry doesn’t sound particularly Japanese, that’s because it’s not. The Indian dish came to Japan at the end of the 19th century by way of Britain, who approximated the traditional flavors with their C&B curry powder—reportedly the world’s first manufactured curry powder. However, according to Tadashi Ono’s Japanese Soul Cooking cookbook—which devotes a whole chapter to Japanese curry—the dish didn’t really become popular in Japan until British seamen introduced it to the Japanese navy. Realizing it was a great dish to serve for a huge crew, the seamen started making giant pots of it to feed their hungry sailors. The sailors then brought their love of the dish home, and it has since become a Japanese staple of cafeterias and weeknight cooking.

Unlike the spicy Thai or Indian curries the word curry might call to mind, Japanese curry is made with a thickened broth that’s more like a gravy. It’s less spicy and more sweet, and it’s served with a variety of familiar Japanese ingredients. Many cities and regions have their own favorite curries; in Hiroshima, you’ll see it made with oysters, in Kumamoto, it’s made with horse meat, and in Hakkaido the specialty is squid ink curry.

How to make japanese curry

Easy, homemade Japanese curry powder that’s perfect for Japanese curry, fried rice, noodles, soups, stews and more!

How to make japanese curry

Happy Monday, friends! This week is going to be all about Japanese curry. We’re kickin’ it off with a Japanese curry powder recipe because a) I know it can be difficult to find it in stores and b) to make our own homemade curry and curry roux.

What is Japanese Curry Powder

Japanese curry powder is a spice blend made up of mild spices and herbs. While primarily used to make curry, it can also be used in soups, stews, noodles and anything you want to add a mild, subtly sweet curry flare to.

Japanese curry powder vs. Indian curry powder

The main difference between Japanese curry powder and Indian curry powder is the level of spiciness. When curry powder was first imported into Japan, they altered it to their taste, making it sweeter and less spicy. In fact, if you ever purchase ‘hot’ curry roux, you’ll find its actually still quite mild.

How to make japanese curry

Whats in Japanese curry powder

Depending on the brand, different curry powders contain different ingredients with different ratios. I based my recipe off of the most popular brand: S&B.

The must-haves:

  • turmeric
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • fenugreek
  • ground black pepper
  • ground cinnamon
  • ginger
  • garlic powder
  • nutmeg
  • fennel
  • cardamom
  • cloves
  • bay leaf

To make it better:

  • star anise
  • allspice
  • thyme
  • sage
  • cayenne

What spice do I add to Japanese curry roux to make it spicier?

Japanese curry is meant to be mild. Even the commercially bought ones that are labeled hot are not very spicy. Two spices that can bump up the heat without changing the flavour are cayenne and black pepper. A little cayenne pepper goes a long way so be sure to add just a pinch at a time.

How to make japanese curry

Why toast spices?

Toasting spices intensifies their flavours by breaking down their essential oils and then releasing their aromatics in a different form. It also adds layers of warming, toasty notes and a complexity of flavours.

To toast spices, add them to a pan over low heat stirring every few seconds to ensure they don’t burn. Continue until they start to release a strong fragrant smell. Remove from the pan immediently once the aromatics intensifies and be careful not to burn it.

Storing tips

The best way to keep curry powder is in an air tight container in a cool dry place away from heat or sunlight. It can last for months, but it will lose its strong aromatic flavours over time. Since it’s easy to make, I suggest using it within 2 months.

How to make japanese curry

What can I use Japanese curry powder for?

  • Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin Curry
  • Japanese Curry Fried Rice
  • Homemade Japanese Curry ‘Roux’ Cubes (Vegan + No Butter) – coming soon!
  • Authentic Japanese Curry (From Scratch) – coming soon!

If you recreate this Japanese Curry Powder recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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