What do you think of when you hear the word “Japanese food”?
Sushi? Tempra? Ramen? Miso soup and rice? Sure, they are popular and delicious but “Japanese curry” is actually one of the most common type of food in Japan.
Curry was original brought to Japan from India by the British and it became popular in the late 1960s in Japan. It has been loved since then and Japanese style curry is one of the most loved dishes in Japan now. The curry we make is different from Indian curry, and there are many kinds of it.
What is Japanese curry?
Japanese curry is usually not spicy, and curry sauce is served on top of cooked rice. Some people try making curry roux from scratch using powders and various spices, but most use curry blocks. Pre-made curry is also available. You just need to warm the curry in vacuum-sealed bags in boiling water or using a microwave, and then pour it on rice.
Curry rice usually comes with Fukujinzuke (non-fermented pickles with a sesame-flavored soy sauce, sugar, and a selection of chopped vegetables like radish, cucumber, eggplant, lotus root, ginger, perilla, and sword bean) or Rakkyo (picked Chinese onion) on the side.
Kinds of Japanese curry
There are many different types of curry rice in Japan.
Among them, below are most popular kinds.
・Beef/Pork/Chicken Curry: Served with stewed Beef/Pork/Chicken with vegetables.
・Katsu Curry: Served with a breaded pork cutlet on top.
(Recipe: https://www.justonecookbook.com/katsu-curry/ )
・Soup Curry: A watery, broth-like curry sauce served with chicken leg and vegetables.
(Recipe: https://www.justonecookbook.com/soup-curry/ )
・Keema curry: Ground meat and minced vegetables served with an egg.
(Recipe: https://www.justonecookbook.com/keema-curry/ )
How to cook
As an example, I will explain how to make the easiest and the most popular one: Beef Curry. Most commonly used ingredients for a Japanese Beef curry are potatoes, onions, Beef, and carrots.
First, you need to pour some oil in a large pot and cook beef and vegetables until they get tender. (It is the best to cook meat first and take it out to a plate and then return it when you boil vegetables).
Then add some water and boil for about 20 min (make sure to cover and simmer). Skim the dark foam off the top when the water comes to a boil.
After that, turn off the heat and add curry roux. Mix until the roux gets melted. Finally, cook it on low heat for about 5 min and let the roux melt completely. Serve it on cooked rice. People usually use a spoon to eat.
It’s very easy to cook if you have curry blocks.
Some people put garlic, spices, or wine in when they make curry.
Once you get comfortable making it, I recommend that you experiment adding whatever you like to make your own style.
Popular Curry restaurants in Japan
Established in 1978, it is the most popular Japanese curry chain restaurant. You can make your own CoCo Ichi curry by customizing the rice portion, toppings, and spice level. You can even order vegetarian curry in that only plant-based ingredients are used. https://www.ichibanya.co.jp/english/
Go! Go! Curry!
Started business in 2003, Go! Go! Curry! has restaurants in many places in Japan especially in Kanazawa and Tokyo areas. The style of curry they serve is called “Kanazawa Curry”. Black, rich taste roux is used and it is rather salty than spicy.
Besides curry rice, we have curry udon (curry over udon noodles), and curry bread (a curry-filled pastry). And there are many regional specialty curries such as Hokkaido Sika Deer curry, Scallop curry, Natto curry, Matsusaka beef (one of the best beefs in Japan) curry, Oyster curry, and more.
Japanese people really love curry. If you get interested, I recommend that you order curry roux online and try cooking it home. And if you have a chance to come to Japan, make sure to visit curry restaurants and try different kinds of curry!
See you next time!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me: [email protected]