Hi, it’s Yuto (@sudachi.recipe) again.
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.
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.
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 person myself, 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…
Secret tips for Japanese curry
Surprising secret ingredients
Using only curry roux cubes makes great curry for sure, but using secret ingredients with roux cubes make pro curry and rice.
In fact, did you know most restaurants serving curry rice do not actually make curry from scratch. They actually use roux cubes too! So what makes them special compared to home cooked curry? So the answer is secret ingredients.
I’ll give you some ideas of secret ingredients that improve home cooked curry rice tastes. Using different secret ingredients every time and then see how’s different from last time!
This one is kind of understandable, isn’t it?
Small amount of chocolate will make the curry richer. It’s a secret ingredient so don’t put too much though!
- Timing: After the roux has melted
- Amount: 2-3g
- Recommended: Someone who’s not good with spice
- Effect: Softening the spiciness
Instant coffee Powder
Whenever I make curry and rice with roux cubes, I make sure to add instant coffee.
It definitely contribute to richer taste!
- Timing: After the roux has melted
- Amount: 2 tsp
- Recommended: Someone who wants deeper and richer taste
- Effect: Richen the curry
This is another secret ingredient that I use regularly.
It will add some nice punch too the roux and make it a little bit European taste.
- Timing: Same time as water
- Amount: Substitute 10% of water amount
- Recommended: Someone who wants to add some sourness
- Effect: Making it more refreshing, adds a touch of sourness
I personally add a bit of soy sauce every time.
As you can guess, it will add a bit more Japanese taste to the curry!
- Timing: Right before the roux cubes
- Amount: 1 tbsp
- Recommended: Someone who wants to add Japanese/Wafu taste
- Effect: Making it more Japanesey
This is a popular addition but I personally don’t use it as I don’t like curry being too sour.
But if you want to add tomato’s sourness, you can add any of these tomato products. But be careful with tomato puree especially because it tends to become a bit more tomatoey than you might like it to be.
- Timing: When you boil vegetables
- Amount: 1 tbsp-3 tbsp
- Recommended: Someone who wants to add sourness
- Effect: Making it sour and tomatoey
They’re just some examples that I personally but there are more secret ingredients you can add to your curry such as:
- Worcestershire sauce
- Grated apples
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 taste a little bit of a dashi-like 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 (by Japanese standards anyway).
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 together rather than only using one brand.Print
How to Make Japanese Curry Using Roux Cubes
- 200g Meat of your choice (Beef, Chicken, Pork)
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Onion
- 2 Potatoes
- 120g Curry Roux (It’s better to refer to the roux package you choose)
- 850ml Water
- 1/2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 6 bowls Cooked White Rice
- Any of the secret ingredients you like
- First, cut your meat into bite size pieces.
- Peel the potato and carrot, cut them into large pieces. Try not to cut them too small otherwise they will fall apart during the cooking process.
- Cut the onion into thick slices.
- In a large pot, drizzle 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil and fry the meat using a medium-high heat until browned on the outside.
- Add all of your vegetables to the pot. Cook together until the onions become a bit soft and transparent.
- Next, pour in 850ml of water and bring it to the boil. (If you want to add red wine, change the water to 765ml and 85ml of wine. You can also add tomato puree etc here if desired.)
- Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 mins with the lid slightly ajar.
- While you’re waiting, check back from time to time and use a spoon to skim the foamy residue from the top of the simmering liquid. (If you want to add soy sauce, add it now)
- After 20 mins, turn the heat down to low and add your Japanese curry roux.
- Mix in the roux and then simmer without the lid until thickened. (Stir from time to time to make sure it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the pan)
- Optional:If you want to add chocolate or coffee powder you can add them now.
- Once thick, serve with white rice and enjoy!
Please refer to the roux packaging for exact roux and water measurements.
- Category: Mains
- Method: Boil
- Cuisine: Japanese
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