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beef curry rice thumbnail

Japanese Style Curry Rice from Scratch (カレーライス)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-5 Portions 1x


How to make your own delicious and complex Japanese Beef Curry using homemade roux, made from scratch! (Serves 5-6)




  • 3 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used S&B Japanese curry powder)
  • 2 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp beef fat (or lard)
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 15g fresh ginger finely minced
  • 1 whole white onion thinly sliced
  • 50ml water
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 900ml of beef bouillon (liquid stock)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tbsp marmalade 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 250g (1/2 lb) beef shoulder chopped into bitesize pieces
  • 1 carrot peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 potatoes peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 600ml black tea
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp apple jam (apple sauce or apple juice also okay)
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coffee powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • chili powder to taste

To Serve


Making the Roux

  1. Start by adding 3 1/2 tsp curry powder and 2 1/2 tsp cumin to a pan (dry, no oil) and heat on medium. Mix them together and heat them until the flavour is release and the colour has darkened slightly.
    Toasting spices in a pan (curry powder and cumin)
  2. Take a new pan and heat on medium. Once it's hot, add 1 tbsp of beef fat.
    Melting beef fat in a pan
  3. Once the fat has melted a little, add 3 crushed garlic cloves and 15g fresh ginger to the pan, fry until fragrant.
    Frying finely diced garlic and ginger in a pan with beef fat
  4. Remove any excess beef fat and add 1 thinly sliced white onion.
    Adding sliced onions to the pan
  5. Fry the onion until caramelized for approximately 30 minutes (the onions will become dark brown in colour and soft). Stir occasionally and add  50ml of water half way through to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan and help make it into a paste.
    Adding water to caramelized onions
  6. Once the liquid has reduced to nothing and the onions resemble a thick paste, add 3 tbsp of flour and mix thoroughly.
    Adding flour to the onions to make a roux
  7. Next add the toasted curry powder and cumin from earlier, mix well.
    Adding toasted spices to the roux
  8. Add a small amount of bouillon liquid stock and mix until more or less smooth (no big lumps of flour etc).
    Add a splash of bouillon to break up the roux
  9. Add the rest of the bouillon gradually, mixing well each time. You might want to switch to a whisk to help make it smooth.
    Mixing the curry roux
  10. Add 3 tbsp marmalade, 2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp cardamom powder and 2 tsp of ginger powder to the mixture and mix/whisk until incorporated.
    Adding more spices to the curry roux
  11. Add a bay leaf and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and removing any foam from the top using a mesh spoon.
    Skimming the top of the roux to remove excess foam
  12. Once thickened to a paste texture, transfer to a container and allow to cool.
    Storing Japanese curry roux in a sealable container
  13. Store in the fridge until use. (Preferably overnight.)

Making the Curry

  1. Cut your meat into bitesize pieces and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and pepper.
    Seasoning the beef with salt and pepper
  2. Heat a pot on medium and add 1 tbsp butter.
    Melting butter in a pot
  3. Once melted, add your beef and fry until the surfaces are sealed.
    Sealing the surfaces of the beef to trap the flavour and juices
  4. Next add your carrot and potato. (Cut them into small cubes so they cook faster. You can also switch these out for your preferred vegetables.)
    Adding potato and carrot to the pot
  5. Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce and stir everything around, allow to cook for a few minutes.
    Adding soy sauce to the pot
  6. Add the curry roux and gradually pour in 600ml of black tea. Mix them together until combined.
    Adding the homemade curry roux and black tea to the pot
  7. Now you can add your secret ingredients, I added 1/2 tbsp honey, 1/2 tbsp apple jam, 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp coffee powder and 2 tbsp red wine. (You can add more and less depending on your tastes and what's available to you.)
    Adding secret ingredients to Japanese beef curry
  8. You can also add chili powder to increase the spiciness.
    Adding chili powder to Japanese beef curry
  9. Mix and simmer until it reaches your desired thickness. (About 10- 20 mins)
    The perfect consistency for Japanese curry
  10. Enjoy with Japanese white rice and some crunchy fukujinzuke pickles!
    Japanese Beef Curry served with white rice and fukujinzuke pickles


Cooking time doesn't include the time the roux is rested in the fridge. It's not an essential step but it tastes better the next day.

The curry roux is a paste and can't be made into blocks (unless you try freezing it). If you want to store it, you can keep it in the fridge for 1 week or freeze it for 1 month.

I recommend dividing the roux into portions before freezing, this recipe is for 4-5 portions.

You can also freeze the curry after it's been made. Transfer to a glass container (to prevent staining) and remove any potato in the curry (it doesn't freeze well.) It can be frozen for 1 month. Microwave to reheat.

If you want a spicier curry, you can add more chilli powder. 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 your tastes!

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Japanese

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