3 Ways To Enjoy Japanese Curry At Home | CoolJapan

Japanese curry is one of the easiest Japanese comfort foods to recreate at home. To make the dish, you need only a couple of staple ingredients from the pantry, plus curry roux that can be bought in most Asian or Japanese supermarkets.

Japanese curry served with rice.

Japanese curry served with rice. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

This savoury dish is also pretty versatile; you can pair the stew with almost any protein of choice. You can even go the vegetarian route and not put any meat at all. Plus, it’s a breeze to prepare; even the most not-so-experienced cooks feel like masters in the kitchen when whipping this up.

Ready to wow your tastebuds with some home-cooked Japanese curry? Here are three ways to enjoy this dish at home.

But first, how different is Japanese curry from Indian curry?

Many countries have different takes on curry, which originated from India. In the case of Japan, several stories suggest that curry was brought to the Japanese shores by the British during the Meiji Era (1868 to 1912). The thicker consistency of Japanese curry was said to adopted from the British, who prepared their curry stew with flour to make it richer than the Indian recipe.

Japanese curry roux.
Japanese curry roux. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

Varying stories aside, it wasn’t until 1923 when ‘curry lover’ Minejiro Yamazaki perfected his blend of spices to create what became Japan’s take on curry powder. Minejiro founded a spice manufacturing company and commercialised his Japanese curry recipe.

Three ways to enjoy Japanese curry at home

Japanese curry is rich in flavour and nutrients, making it a powerhouse meal that can fill anyone’s appetite in a healthier way. Here are a few ways to prepare and serve it for your next meal.

1. The original stew version enjoyed with rice

Many of us know Japanese curry as a hearty dish that is best eaten with rice. It might seem complicated to prepare, but the most basic stew requires only a few ingredients: potato, onions, carrots, and Japanese curry roux.

You can add other ingredients like garlic, butter, soy sauce, or apples to tweak the flavour, but if you want something nice and easy, you can stick to the basic ingredients we mentioned earlier. You can also choose between meat or vegetable stock or just plain water for your stew’s base.

You can take your pick from beef, pork, or chicken or you can swap any of these with fried tofu for a vegetarian option. You can also go for hamburger patties or breaded meat cutlets. There are really tons of ways to enjoy this dish.

You can even serve the stew just as it is since the rich flavours of the spices are more than enough to satisfy your palate.

Easy Japanese Curry recipes

Japanese curry stew can be elevated in a number of ways.

Easy Japanese curry rice recipe

Ready to cook? Here’s what to do.

Cut your vegetables into the same size to make sure everything cooks nicely and uniformly. Heat the pan and put oil that’s just enough to sautee the onions in until they are caramelised. Next, saute the carrots and potatoes with the onions to bring out the sweetness of the ingredients.

After this, pour stock or water to cover the vegetables. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes to allow the vegetables to soften and enrich the flavour of the mix. If you have other ‘add-ons’ like apples or ginger, add them as well. If you’re putting in raw meat, put it in the broth during this step too. Make sure you skim the broth of any impurities until it is completely clear.

Once your broth is ready, gradually drop curry roux blocks by batches into the mix. Stir well each time to make sure the blocks are dissolved into the broth completely. Another technique is to get a ladle to put the roux in, submerge it into the hot broth, and use cooking chopsticks or a fork to melt the roux.

After the last step, let the stew simmer for at least 10 minutes, stirring it in intervals to ensure the bottom of the stew isn’t overcooking. When the stew is nice and thick and the flavour suits your liking, your Japanese curry is ready to serve and eat with hot rice!

2. Make no-bake curry bread or kare-pan

Have a lot of leftover curry from the earlier recipe? Create snacks with it by turning it into curry bread. No baking skills are required. All you need are slices of bread, egg, panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), cooking oil, and, of course, your leftover Japanese curry stew.

First, remove the crusts of your bread. Then, flatten two slices using a rolling pin or the palm of your hand until the bread feels nice and thin. Fill one slice of bread with leftover Japanese curry stew but make sure you leave some space between the curry and the edge of the bread.

Curry bread

Curry bread or kare-pan is another popular way of enjoying Japanese curry. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

Beat an egg and put some of it in the space you left empty. Put another slice of bread on top and ‘seal’ the slices together by pressing them down using either a fork or your fingers.

Once done, cover each side of the bread with the same beaten egg, cover it with panko, and deep fry until golden brown. There you have it — mouthwatering no-bake curry bread.

3. Mix it with instant noodles or easy-prep udon

Want to level up your instant noodles? Instead of going with the flavour packet instant noodles usually come in, swap it for Japanese curry roux or leftover curry stew instead!

Just cook the instant noodles according to the instructions, put in a curry roux or mix your leftover Japanese curry stew once the noodle water comes to a boil and voila, two comfort meals in one.

Japanese curry instant noodles

Here's something for noodle fans! (Photo from: Photo-AC)

If you’re feeling a bit fancier, you can use the same technique using instant udon which is also available in many Asian or Japanese supermarkets.

Which of these Japanese curry recipes are you going to try soon?