How to Cook Japanese Curry


Having friends over? Want to cook something impressive looking but in reality is so easy to prepare? I’ll share a secret—if you can get past the intimidating Japanese Kanji on the box, Japanese-style curry is darned easy to cook!

01

Curry is another foreign dish that has been adopted and reinvented by the Japanese. Originally from India, Japanese Curry, Kari, as it’s more commonly referred to, is thicker, milder and slightly sweeter than the original Indian variant. Served with a side of rice, Kari Raisu is satisfying and very filling—it’s heartwarming food that hits the mark perfectly.

Cooking curry is very easy. Unlike other kinds of curry that you cook from a mix of curry spices called garam masala, Japanese curry is made from a instant Curry Roux. I’m sure it can be made from scratch, but honestly, I haven’t found any recipes. Truth is, one of the reasons why kari is so popular in Japan is because it’s so easy to make! Which is what I’ll be illustrating in the next few steps.

01b
Our story begins with a box of Curry Roux. One of the more popular brands, and the one I like using, is S & B Golden Curry. I choose #5, the spiciest, but as mentioned, Japanese Curry is not as spicy as the Indian version so the spiciest is not really spicy.

02
Then, we need half a kilo of pork, chicken, beef or whatever your chosen meat is. I like pork curry best, so I’ll be using pork tenderloin, cut into cubes.

03
Veggies are nice! Cut into cubes one carrot and one potato. Then, quarter and slice one onion.

04
In a saucepan, sauté the onion in a little oil. When soft, add the pork and sauté until browned.

05
When browned, add potatoes and carrots.

06
Add four to six cups of water, making sure that everything’s covered. Bring to boil then simmer until pork is tender. It’s highly likely that a foamy scum will gather on top. When this happens, skim it off.

07
Add your packet of curry roux. The 240 gram box (shown above) has two packs inside. You only need one for this recipe. Personally, I scoop small amounts with a teaspoon before adding so it melts easier. Stir the whole thing until the curry roux has melted and blended well. Continue simmering until thick.

Reader 60strat suggests:
When I am ready to add the curry paste, I ladle out the soup water to a medium sauce pan, and add small chunks of the paste while stirring. I don’t lose chunks of curry in the meat and veggies that way and get a real smooth sauce. When I pour this sauce back into the large pot, it will displace more water soup to the side of the pot. I ladle that water back into the sauce pan to mix/rinse all of that wonderful curry back into the main pot. I don’t want to lose a drop!

Serve with rice. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? And the best part is, your friends don’t have to know. And I promise not to tell, if you don’t.

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86 Responses to How to Cook Japanese Curry

  1. KF says:

    Looks really tasty ^_^

    Even though I am impartial to Indian curry (my preference is Thai); the Japanese rendition seems more… enticing ^_^

    Good tips yet again Kaoko! Keeping things hush-hush, ne?

  2. cutelildrow says:

    ^_^ They even have bento-able packets of the stuff. Just heat the packet in hot water and spread over rice. At least, in the asian markets in the US. I was sent some. Yummy!

  3. catherine says:

    i just made this the exact same way you did (:

    of course you are in the philippines I am in california

    but seriously…

    the only difference is i added celery and used beef(;

    but brown the onions add the meat, then carrots and potatoes!!!

    celery last cuz its easy to cook…

    okay so not the exact same way you did…

    the only thing is nadurog yung potatoes ko, and it kinda made it thick…

    you should try adding nanami togarashi (its like the pepper) it gives it a hot kick (;

  4. Drew says:

    Ah! Japanese Curry S&B
    Not too much hassle
    And easy to make
    Fills my tummy
    And it smells so great!

  5. kaoko says:

    @KF
    Hey, if you keep it a secret, so will I 😀

    I’ve never tried Thai curry but I’ve been meaning too. All those curry recipes at Cooking Cute make my mouth water. In fact, I have a pack of Green Thai curry at home, but I haven’t gotten down to it. I’ll keep you posted when I try it 😀 Indian curry though, I don’t like much.

    @cutelildrow
    I haven’t tried those just heat packets. Are they good? It would be a perfect for bento, especially if you don’t want to eat curry for days on end. Although, I hear some brands are skimpy with their meat. I read somewhere that one brand (I can’t find the link ^_^;;) was so skimpy that people would joke around that it had to have exactly one meat BIT in it. Otherwise, if there were more, it’s a fake 😛

    @Catherine
    Hey, celery might be an interesting addition, I’ll try that sometime. I’ve never tried beef because I love pork curry, heehee. Maybe you could add the potatoes later in your cooking process? It’s possible that since beef takes longer to soften, the potatoes get overcooked, as Drew mentioned. But then, IMO, there’s nothing wrong with mushy potatoes in curry. In fact, I like it that way, especially when it’s day old curry and the curry flavor has seeped into the potato well.

    Oh, and we have that at home, shichimi togarashi? I assume it’s the same thing because shichi and nana are both seven right? Never occurred to me to try it on curry though, will try that too.

    @Drew
    S & B Golden Curry FTW!

  6. Mila says:

    I have several boxes of S&B curry boxes at home all the time! Sort of like japanese fastfood when I need a hit. And it goes best with slightly sticky japanese rice (lots of it for the spicy sauce).

  7. aoitenshi says:

    Waaah thank you so much for this! I’m filing it away for future use. I need all the visual aids I can get when I attempt to cook. :)

  8. kaoko says:

    @Mila
    S&B Curry Boxes = Instant lifesaver! It’s fastfood—only not! 😛

    @aoitenshi
    Yay! Go try it, promise, it can’t go wrong.

  9. Miss M! says:

    This is one of my favorite meals. I didn’t even know that it was Japanese curry until this past year, and I’ve been cooking it for almost seven! I use the S&B brand also. Good stuff.

  10. kakugori says:

    You’ve inspired me to try this stuff for dinner tonight. I was browsing through the grocery store and saw a box, remembered this post, and though “well, why not?” I’ve never had curry before, but it looks good.

    • kakugori says:

      Official verdict: Holy something, Batman! This stuff is good!

      …plus, now I have another excuse to eat egg noodles. 😀

  11. kaoko says:

    @Miss M!
    The things we learn. Still, I’d prefer eating it for 7 years and knowing about it for a year, than the opposite. 😀

    @kakugori
    Yay! Congrats on the success. I’ve never tried it with egg noodles, but I have tried Curry Ramen from a resto. If you’re able to make it successfully, let me know how it turns out. I’d love to try it out myself 😀

    • kakugori says:

      Mmm. Curry ramen sounds good too. The leftover stuff has been calling to me to make some more.

      I did make egg noodles as my side that night, and they went really well with the curry sauce. I just kinda dumped them in a bowl and poured the curry over the top. I’d probably try the extra broad noodles next time, though. Not that I’m complaining; it was tasty!

  12. photowalker says:

    My god!! The curry looks good. Starting to get hungry.

  13. photowalker says:

    It looks like the one I had in Little Tokyo in Makati.

    • kaoko says:

      Thanks photowalker 😀 If it looks authentic (and for me Little Tokyo is authentic enough) I guess it means I’m doing something right.

      (Visited your blog too, hehe, enjoyed reading your Little Tokyo entry)

  14. BB says:

    I love Japanese curry – even more so because I read that the stuff they eat in Japan was originally introduced by Britain – that explains why it’s nothing at all like Indian food. In England, fish and chip shops sell a curry sauce you dip your chips in, and it’s a bit like this Japanese curry sauce. Ah, international relations!

  15. japinoy says:

    wow, thanks for this! i’m going to try this over the (long) weekend *crosses fingers*

    • kaoko says:

      Let us know how it works out for you 😀

      • japinoy says:

        ohayou gozaimasu!

        *sniff* i still haven’t tried making this. we still had leftover stuff at home so we had to finish eating those first. but i will really try next weekend. i already got my curry roux (#3 – di kaya ng powers ko ung iba) from sm ^_^

      • kaoko says:

        #5 isn’t that spicy, I think. 😀 For some reason, Japanese curry is never that spicy. But then again, maybe I just have higher tolerance. I guess after cooking your box of #3 you’ll be able to decide best what you like 😀

  16. Pingback: Curry Omuraisu Bento | bento, restos & recipes at http://www.kitchencow.com

  17. Pingback: Japanese Curry Bento | bento, restos & recipes at http://www.kitchencow.com

  18. KareLover says:

    Takes me back to my days in Tokyo where you step into one of these kare raisu speciality restos which serve the most amazing kare raisu with tempura chicken…ahhhh…wish i could have some of it again. Unfortunately none of the Japanese restaurants serve Kare raisu. They just pander to the superficial(:-)) crowd that go for the popular sushi-sashimi stuff. Kare raisu is the underdog of all Japanese food.

    • kaoko says:

      Oh, the Japanese restaurants here (Manila, Philippines) offer good curry rice. Especially the restos located near the Japanese communities here. Still, I agree that the Curry love should spread. It’s one of the perfect comfort foods.

  19. peeks says:

    hello kaoko

    i found your blog when looking for instructions to cook japanese curry. and i have! tonight i made the children’s one for my 3yo. he has eaten tons, husband and i have finished leftovers. utterly delicious although my son declined to eat carrots even though i had cut them into star shapes as the packet showed us.

    • kaoko says:

      I am so glad this post was useful to you, peeks! And I’m even happier that your family loved your curry. It’s such a welcome addition to any family’s food repertoire, isn’t it? I do hope someday you can convince your son to eat the carrots though—personally, I like the touch of sweetness it adds to curry. YUM!

      (darn it, now I want curry though.)

  20. reader says:

    where do you buy your curry roux here in the philippines? any idea how to make japanese curry from scratch? do tell!

    • kaoko says:

      Hi reader! It’s usually in stock at Japanese and Korean groceries. A lot of times, I’ve also bought some from the International / Asian aisle of most big supermarkets like SM and Rustans. As to making curry roux from scratch, that is something I’ve been wanting to try since I first tried cooking curry from roux! Unfortunately, I can’t find any recipes online. They all use pre-packed roux. *sigh* Let me know in case you find a way, I’d love to learn too!

  21. Leonard says:

    Thank you very much! I just tried this recipe today and it turned out very deliciousous. Also, I love the way you post recipes with the pictures because it gives me better ideas of how it is done (I never cooked). Next time I will surely try your other recipes.

  22. eewee says:

    thanks for this! i made it and fufufu 😀 sugoku umakatta! i only found #3 though (sm megamall supermarket). i bet #5 would make for an even delicious one! this is the first i’ve tried off of your wonderful site and now i’m so excited to keep on making and cooking and experimenting on and on… keep up the good work!

  23. graham says:

    I luv Japanese Curry esp mixed with tonkatsu! yummers!
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/hungry-for-some-japanese-curry/

  24. Marin Aquino says:

    Hi! I totally love your recipe for Japanese Curry! I saw a box of japanese curry at SM and I was afraid to try it out..

    Now I know how to use it. I wont be afraid to try it anymore!

  25. kaoko says:

    @Leonard
    Glad it helped you out 😀

    @eewee
    Glad you enjoyed it. The number difference is for the spiciness so if you like stuff spicy, #5 would be the best one for you 😀

    @graham
    Curry-katsu is good stuff!

    @Marin Aquino
    Fight fight fight! Good luck with your food experiment!

  26. Hi Kitchencow!

    Well, I finally made my Curry but since I was in a hurry and there was a korean store near my house I just used Korean Ottogi Curry. I will try and find S&B from SM when I have the time

    Poured it onto chicken strips because I wanted tonkatsu curry but I don’t eat pork.

    http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q47/sentrei/Curry1.jpg

  27. Ali says:

    Hey! This looks great, thank you for sharing. I noticed a few people asking about making the roux from scratch. I found a recipe on another site that looks pretty promising.

    http://www.grouprecipes.com/2942/japanese-curry.html

    Have a great day!

    Ali

  28. kaoko says:

    @Martin
    Oh, you can make torikatsu. 😀 I works the same way as tonkatsu, only you use chicken fillets. I use either boneless thighs or breasts.

    @Ali
    Thanks for the link! I’ve been wanting to make my own curry roux as well but couldn’t find a guide. I’ll try your link sometime. Hope it’s successful. 😀

  29. tin says:

    thanks for the recipe! i recently got addicted to curry after trying it out in teriyaki boy XD just one question: would the same recipe apply for japanese curry powder?

    • kaoko says:

      I’m not familiar with Japanese curry powder since all I’ve used is either curry roux blocks or those liquid curry mixes in foil packs. I do know it’s not quite the same as Indian curry. Maybe you can try the “from scratch” version posted by Ali a few comments up? :)

      • tin says:

        ah, do the roux blocks look like broth cubes? and how much is the usual price? =O saw some here recently, but i’m not sure if i should still buy those. also saw the curry paste that you mentioned, and might get that too.

        but yeah, will also try ali’s recipe 😀

      • tin says:

        oops, okay, looks like what i found was really s&b. how much is it, though? baka mahal kasi yung nakita ko dito..

  30. eli yen says:

    im just w0ndering if its…possible..to make..fried meatball..and then add the curry sauce to it with..the potatoes and carrots and oni0n etc..and put a little bit of gr0und beef into it… but first y0u fried the meatballs…and then later when the sauce is ready you add that to the meatball…so theres a little bit of twist there…its fun to create your own japanese kare…right…?

  31. kaoko says:

    @Tin
    Hi Tin! Sorry, I only saw this now. Natabunan ata ng comments. I hope it worked out for you.

    @eli yen
    Sounds like it can work. I know there are a lot of varieties of curry so it’s just a matter of mixing and matching and finding your own version. Good luck! 😀

  32. reji-kun says:

    wow it looks really delicious, i have known japanese curry for about a year now but still don’t know how to cook it T-T

    oh and btw, where can i buy a curry roux? do you think the local supermarket has it?

    • Tin says:

      found the s&b curry roux in rustan’s supermarket katipunan. maybe you can find some in other branches too ^_^

      • kaoko says:

        Hi reiji-kun!
        Most local supermarkets, at least the big chains, have it. Just check the international aisle. I know for a fact that Rustans, SM, Makati Supermarket, Landmark and South Supermarket have it. If you can’t find it, try some Japanese groceries.

        @Tin
        Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, I’m a bit slow in the reply to comments department so helpful comments like yours are always welcome.

      • reji-kun says:

        i forgot to check this site again.. thnks for your replies!! well at least i know now where to get the curry roux.. THANKS! can’t wait to go and try to cook one!

      • kaoko says:

        Goodluck reji-kun! Hope it turns out well :)

  33. Beck says:

    I made this about a year ago using the “Hot” (gold coloured box) curry, I cooked it with soba noodles and had quite a lot left over so i tried making kari pan (curry bread) and now im addicted to boath the plain curry and the kari pan

    • kaoko says:

      Sounds really yummy! For your kari pan, do you use just the left over sauce or do you use the leftover curry soba? And is it like a sandwich or do you include it in the dough itself? It sounds really good.

  34. Glen R. Lumbres says:

    I know to cook pork curry… but one thing that I want to know is how to cook curry roux

  35. kaoko says:

    Sorry but I don’t know how to cook Curry Roux from scratch either. I was trying to look for a recipe years back but I was never successful. All I could find were ones using curry roux blocks or Indian-style curry. I haven’t looked recently though, might be worth a shot to try again.

  36. Paul says:

    thanks! youve really helped me a lot! cheers

  37. kaoko says:

    Glad it came in handy, Paul! Bon appetit!

  38. Johnny says:

    How many servings does this approximately make?

  39. I love Japanese curry. Something that I often ordered when I ate at Japanese restaurant. I just made this not too long ago too. Wonderful! I love that SB curry paste too!

  40. kaoko says:

    @Johnny
    Sorry for the lateness of my reply. If it still matters, this is good enough for a family of 4-6, depending on their appetites.

    @what to cook today
    I love it too, though I rarely order it at restaurants since the homemade one is pretty easy to make. And yay for SB Curry paste, it makes it possible.

  41. jenny says:

    At last! directions for the enchanting japanese curry at the landmark!!!
    Ah thanks thanks. I was so pissed all these years that the distributor never bothered to stick a translation on it. mabuhay ka, kitchen cow!

  42. kaoko says:

    Glad to help Jenny! I think naka-tiyempo ako ng box with a translation once, kaya I tried it out. Luckily, maayos ang kinalabasan 😀

  43. Jessica says:

    Thank you thank you I found this really helpful. Im making some for a party in school and I was a little worried that I did something wrong because I had no recipe to follow because my S&b melting curry is in hard core Japanese and I couldnt read the more complex stuff and was really worry it was going to thicken. I hope in a little time it will become thicker thanks again

  44. kaoko says:

    Glad it helped you, Jessica. I had a hard time with the instructions too, since I don’t understand Nihongo. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a box with english instructions, added by our local importer. I figured it would be helpful to share. :)

  45. Meowest says:

    TIP: S & B is way way cheaper at Choto Shop in Little Tokyo vs. chain supermarkets so stock up if you can drop by :)

  46. kaoko says:

    Thanks for the tip Meowest! There are a lot of things that are cheaper at Choto Stop (and sometimes Yamazaki too!) so it helps a lot to compare prices. Not to mention they have nyummy Frito Lay Takoyaki Balls Snacks! 😛

  47. tndcallphilippines says:

    curry rice is one of the most popular dishes in Japan – because its fast and easy to cook…

  48. AAAA says:

    Hey thats like makinbg a post how to make instant ramen. Its not form scratch.

    • kaoko says:

      I think based on how many people found this useful, it’s not quite the same thing. Not everyone knows how to make instant curry, unlike noodles that are available in most countries, and not everyone can read the Japanese instructions on the box. If you can and don’t need this post, congratulations. Try reading the other posts instead, you might find them more interesting.

  49. NM says:

    Thanks for these instructions and photos. I just moved to Japan and wanted to try the curry (I bought the Golden Curry mix) and cannot yet read the Japanese instructions. I appreciate this info very much! I remember also seeing Golden Curry boxes in the international market in the US.

  50. Sherry says:

    I can’t believe you wasted your time writing about how to make curry using a roux! Why do you post how to make ramen using cup noodles next. That would be a fantastic use of your time

    • kaoko says:

      Hi Sherry! I wouldn’t call it a waste of my time since a lot of readers have already voiced how useful they find this post. Not everyone can read Japanese and not all of the exporters include a local translation of the instructions.

      What I find a waste of time is you trolling me. Please try to have a better argument next time. Cheers and have a nice day!

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