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!


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.

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.

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.

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

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

When browned, add potatoes and carrots.

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.

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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87 Responses to How to Cook Japanese Curry

  1. 60strat says:

    What is your problem Sherry? Ask the next 5 people you see if they know how to make Ramen and what it tastes like. Ask the same 5 people if they know how to make Japanese Curry and how it differs from Indian Curry, and you would see why this article is very useful.

    I am Japanese (descent), and while I was raised here in the US, I was raised on Japanese foods, as that is what my mom cooked. This is the real deal to Japanese people. I have enjoyed S&B Hot Curry all of my life and still can’t get enough.

    I wanted to add one tip. 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! Also, I have found that the longer it sits, the better it gets. I am talking hours or a day here. This is one of those dishes that tastes better as leftovers than fresh prepared, to me anyway.

    Cheers and Bonne Gohan!

    • kaoko says:

      Thank you for your suggestion, 60strat! That bit about dissolving the roux in a separate bowl of heated broth is priceless. Lost undissolved chunks is definitely far from pleasant—and your step solves it. Will definitely do that next time I cook. Actually, might as well amend the post to include that tip, thanks!

      And yes I agree! Curry gets yummier the next day :)

      • bjørn-christian says:

        My pleasure.
        I want everyone to taste the greatness of good food, well, at least i think it’s good and you have no idea how many i have made this for who just want more and wish there were a “resturant” that served this.
        Sadly we don’t have it here nor do i know any place in Norway that makes this dish.
        We have a chinahouse resturant that serves good china food, we have a sushibar that used to server GOOD sushi, now the japanese have sold that place so someone who makes bad food, we have italian pizza resturant, but people get sick of that food, we have a turkish resturant that server amazing turkish food and then we have some normal resturants who sell plain old food (not old but old fashion) from this place..
        Alot of good food but no one that has even mentioned curry or proper chop suey and the likes of that.
        Hehe, maybe i should start a curry/friend onionring bar 😛

        Anyway, when you make this, i hope you get it as good as i did, it’s just soooooooooo good :)

      • bjørn-christian says:

        Fried, not friend 😛

  2. bjørn-christian says:

    I was looking through the web to see if there were any other ways to make curry but mostly i find people in search of help to make it.
    I’m from Norway but i love my sushi and curry, have yet to try miso soup but will try it soon and then try to make it, shouldn’t be to hard.
    Anyway, i LOVE the curry i make (thanks to a dear friend) but instead of using instant curry….thingy, i make it from scratch.
    I make my own paste which contains flour, liquid butter, pepper, hot curry powder (or the mild normal one if you don’t like it to hot) chili (optional) garlic powder, soya sauce, Worscestershire sauce and some ketchup and then mix it together into a fine paste, i chop up carrots and potatos and throw it into a big pot, add water so it is abit more water then vegetables…i fry the meat (chicken, pork or the meat you like to use) along with red onion and put it into the pot as well, i let the whole pot cook for about an hour, remember to taste as you go so you can adjust the taste and the strength of the curry.
    It takes some time to do it my way, but god does it taste like heaven.
    I usually put in some storebought red curry paste as well to round off the taste :)

    • kaoko says:

      Thank you for sharing, bjørn-christian! By any chance do you have an actual recipe with proportions? I’d love to try your method. I wanted to learn how ages ago but couldn’t find a recipe so I eventually gave up. Your comment rekindles the want to find one 😀

      • bjørn-christian says:

        I will ask my friend for the recipe in details if you like.
        I’ve made this so many times now that i don’t need to follow the recipe as i know what needs to be put in and i taste as i go.
        With the spice i have at the moment (normal store spice) it’s not possible to make it to hot, but my friend have some heavenly hot spice that he uses..hehe..

        How you make the base of the curry is pretty easy though, i usually take around 10+ potatos with white skin (in this case Amandine potatos) and then i take 3 big carrots, don’t peel the potato, just chop it up in big bits along with the carrots and put it in a pot..
        Chop up 1 red onion and use half of it to fry with the meat, i use port meat in bits, cover it in curry and chili powder as you fry it (remember not to burn the onion, put the rest of the none-fried (or cooked, my english isn’t that good, you cook/fry it in a pan with oil) when it’s done put it into the pot along then fill the pot with water so it goes a tiny bit over the ingredients…
        Start cooking it and then move over to the paste..

        Again, i’m unsure of the exact proportions of it as i try to make my up my own mind with how much i need of it all to make it ok..
        You need about 6-9 table spoons with flour, probably more, you have to just see if it is enough when you mix it, 1 table spoon with Worscestershire sauce, 1 table spoon with soy sauce, half a table spoon with garlic powder, 3-4 table spoon with curry (pref the hot curry) 1-2 table spoons with chili, 1 table spoon with churned black pepper, enough butter so you can mix all the flour, add a little ketchup as well, then mix it together (as i said, i were never given the exact measurement for the ingredients, so if you fail you can always try again, also add a little of everything when you have mixed it in the pot, don’t throw in the whole paste but take it in chunks as you stirr around, add some storebought red curry paste into the pot as well if you like, and as always, taste as you go.

        Let the whole thing cook on low-medium heat for about an hour

        Here’s a little video me and my friends made, the speech is in Norwegian but when i edited it i wrote it in English

      • kaoko says:

        Oh, thank you so much bjorn! You don’t know how much I appreciate your effort to write it down. I really want to try it! Perhaps next weekend. *crosses fingers*

  3. Suzy says:

    How many servings will this recipe make?

    • kaoko says:

      Never stopped to count but I estimate it’s good for a family of 5 or 6. There’s three of us and we usually have enough leftovers for another meal.

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  5. JB says:

    I put other veggies like cauliflower, broccoli and pumpkin so it is more colorful and nutritious. I top it with cheese too ^^

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