Hi, it’s Yuto (@sudachi.recipe) again.
Today we’re going to make Japanese Style Beef Curry Rice from scratch!
A Brief History of Japanese Curry
Japanese curry and rice surely has an interesting history.
As everyone probably knows, curry originated from India, the land of spice. It then traveled to U.K and then made its way from the U.K to Japan!
Food history is always fascinating isn’t it?
Japanese Curry Rice (カレーライス) is a lot less spicy than its Indian counterparts, it’s also quite sweet and thick like a stew. It’s safe to say that curry and rice is now one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It is eaten and enjoyed at home, restaurants, diners and takeaways.
Although we usually use pre-made curry cubes (even lots of diners and restaurants do too), I’m going to introduce how to make Japanese curry and rice from scratch without using pre-made curry roux.
I realised that pre-made Japanese curry cubes are not so accessible in local supermarkets in some countries or they are ridiculously expensive, so I thought this is a useful recipe to share!
What to put in a Japanese Curry
Japanese curry and rice usually uses:
- Meat (Beef, Pork, Chicken or Seafood)
Beef, Pork, Chicken and Seafood curries are equally popular I’d say.
Even though today’s recipe uses beef, you can always replace it with any meat you’d like. If you want to make it vegetarian you can change the beef stock to vegetable stock and omit the meat.
This recipe makes about 6 portions and I always recommend to make a big batch so that you can store the leftovers in your freezer for some other time! There are recipes that use curry leftovers such as Japanese Curry Pan and the ultimate dish, Katsu Curry.
Whether making curry from scratch or using the roux cubes, most Japanese people add unusual ingredients to their curry to add depth of flavour. This way everyone can have their own secret ingredient that makes their curry different to everyone else. We’ll be using some of these ingredients, but here’s a few extra if you want to experiment.
- Cocoa / Chocolate powder
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Miso paste
- Dark Chocolate
There are even some crazy ones like Calpis (a strange milky soda you can buy in Japan) and matcha powder! The possibilities are endless.
Day 2 Curry is better? (Myth?)
What is that all about?
What every Japanese family knows about curry is “Second day curry is the best curry” meaning Japanese curry tastes better next day than on the cooking day.
As a Japanese, I personally think that is true.
Well, well I did a bit of research and found a scientific reason for that.
Why is it better?
Over night, the ingredients (vegetables and meat) in curry start to give out “Umami (Glutamic acid)” as well as fructose, starch, fibre…etc
So it generally builds up depth of flavour and thickness over night. And becomes richer. That’s why it’s better to eat it the next day if you can wait! Or eat it twice in two days and compare the difference…
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Japanese curry taste like?
Compared to Indian curry, I would say Japanese curry is less spicy but thicker and sweeter.
And you can usually feel a bit of dashi flavour.
Is Japanese curry healthy?
Even though Japanese curry is eaten at home and school quite often, unfortunately I wouldn’t say Japanese curry is healthy.
To top it off, it usually comes with white rice.
How do you make Japanese curry thicker?
You can add 1 tbsp of water and flour mix slurry but I personally don’t recommend to do that.
Even if it’s thin, as you simmer, it will be thicker and definitely thicker and richer next day, I think patience is mostly needed here.
Is Japanese curry spicy?
It depends on what kind of roux cubes you use. In Japan there are usually 3 types.
Sweet one is kids friendly so it’s actually quite sweet and not spicy at all, on the other hand, hot one is actually quite hot.
What is Japanese curry called?
It’s either カレーライス (Curry rice) or カレー (Curry)
Which Japanese curry is the best?
It definitely depends on your preference, but I personally like:
- Java curry (ジャワカレー, Hot)
- Golden curry (ゴールデンカレー, Spicy)
- Vermont curry (バーモントカレー, Sweet)
And I usually get these three above and mix in one pot.
Check out our video for how to make Japanese style curry and rice from scratchPrint
How to make Japanese Style Beef Curry Rice from scratch (without using premade roux)
- 6 Bowls of Cooked white rice (See our post on how to cook Japanese style rice here)
- 3 Tbsp Fukujinzuke pickles (optional)
In the Curry
- 400g Beef shoulder
- 3 White onions
- 1 and 1/2 Medium sized carrots
- 3 Medium sized potatoes
- 1 tbsp Coffee powder (or cocoa)
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 1 tbsp Honey
The Roux (Step 1-7)
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp Garlic paste
- 1 tsp Ginger paste
- 2 tbsp Cumin
- 2 tbsp Chilli powder or sauce (optional depending on how spicy you want it to be)
- 20g Curry Powder
- 60g All purpose flour
- 1000ml Beef stock
The Roux (Step 8-10)
- 80g Apple (1 small apple or 1/4 a large apple)
- 1/2 Medium sized carrot
- 2 Medium sized Tomatoes
- 100ml Yogurt
When Cooking Meat and Veg (Step 14 – 18)
- 1/2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- 1 tsp Worcester sauce
- 1 tsp Oyster Sauce
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala
- 2 tbsp Red wine
- 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
- First let’s make the roux. Mix up 1000ml (1 litre) of your favourite beef stock cubes.
Usually 2 cubes = 1000ml of hot water. (But check the box just in case) Set aside.
- Heat a large pot on the lowest setting and add 1 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- Add 1 tbsp garlic paste, 1 tsp ginger paste, 2 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chilli powder (optional, if you don’t like spicy curries you can leave it out) and 20g curry powder, and fry on the lowest heat for 5 minutes. Keep mixing.
- Next, add 60g of flour little by little, mixing well.
- Once it’s crumbly and well combined, add the beef stock little by little, mixing as you do. When you have a paste consistency you can pour the rest of the stock in and mix well.
- Turn up the heat and keep mixing to make sure it doesn’t form lumps (you can use a whisk to make it smoother too!) and bring to the boil.
- Once it’s boiling, turn off the heat. This is now a curry stock and we can prepare the next part.
- In a food processor or blender, mix half a chopped carrot, 80g of chopped apple, 2 medium sized cubed tomatoes and 100ml of yogurt. Mix until smooth. (If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can grate the carrot and apple, and mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. It won’t be as smooth but it works quite well!)
- Pour this mixture into your curry stock, mix and bring to the boil again on a medium-high heat.
- When it’s boiling, turn down the heat to the lowest setting and stir occasionally.
- Cut the beef into medium sized pieces. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pepper and garam masala.
- Slice the 3 onions, peel and cut your carrots and potatoes into medium sized chunks.
- In a large frying pan on a medium heat, add 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- Add your onions first and fry until softened.
- Next, add the beef and fry until browned on the outside.
- Add the carrots and potatoes.
- Sprinkle 2 more pinches of garam masala, and pour in 2 tbsp red wine, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp Worcester sauce, 1 tsp oyster sauce, 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp flour.
- Mix until the flour has combined with the liquid ingredients.
- Combine the curry stock and the meat/vegetable mix into a 4 litre pot that has a lid.
- Add 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp coffee powder, mix well.
- Simmer for 30 minutes on a low heat with the lid slightly ajar.
- Serve with white rice and pickles. (Pickles are optional but add a refreshing crunch!)
After 30 minutes of simmering, it should be ready but you can change the consistency if you’re not happy. If you want to make it thicker, you can add a 20ml cold water mixed with 1 tbsp corn starch and pour it in. If you want to make it thinner you can add some more beef stock.
If you want it to be spicier, you can add more chilli powder/sauce. If you want it to be sweeter add more honey and if you want it to be saltier add more soy sauce or salt. You can make it perfect for you!
- Category: Fushion
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: Japanese
Keywords: How to make Japanese Curry from scratch,Japanese curry,Japanese curry rice,Japanese beef curry,How to make Japanese curry,Japanese curry without pre-made roux