This is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make Japanese curry! Before living in Tokyo, I have to admit I did not even realize that curry was a popular dish in Japan. The first time I had Japanese curry was in a popular Casual family restaurant chain called COCO Curry House. It was one of our first stops in Tokyo. We were hot, tired, and starving globe trotters (with a two month old baby and a five year old along for the ride).
I wanted something fast, cheap, and tasty but to be honest I did not have high expectations of curry! My husband assured me that I would really love it. (He is much more adventurous with foods than I am, to say the least! Actually, there are many foods that I would have never tried if it were not for his suggestions… and now many of them are my favorites!)
My husband had also previously lived in Japan, so he knew many good places to try. We found that this restaurant was not too far from our new house and we were still getting acclimated to driving on the other side of the road. We did not want to take too many chances and go on any difficult driving journeys when we first arrived this was a good starting point for adventure.
On this particular day we had lots of errands to run as were still had no furniture or belongings yet. Everything was still being shipped, but… we did have our new car on this day! Which was great. (It made us feel much more at home to have a car here in Tokyo – even though technically you do not even need a car in this city!)
Since it was so hot outside, I was not really sure about having hot curry…. but I went with the suggestion, because hey… I did not have my Japan license yet. As many of you know basically a passenger has no say in the destination! When you know nothing about 1.where you are 2.where you are going and 3. when you are relying on your husband to order your food anyway (because he speaks Japanese and you don’t!) its best to just go with the flow! ha!
Anyway, I had no idea that curry was a big thing here but it really is. Although it is different than Indian curry of course, It is still typically served over rice and it is spicy. It is a regular staple at most restaurants especially on the kids menus… wherever we go there is always a kids curry with rice option as a “kids seto” and many of them come with a little mini sized hamburger a juice box and a little jello type of dessert. My son loves the kids meals in Japan especially the curry.
After eating at COCO Curry I was totally obsessed. I thought that it was so tasty. I thought it also looked like something that would be pretty simple to cook, and to customize to our family’s own taste. It also looked like it shouldn’t cost too much to make at home. I searched the internet, books, and you tube of course. I found a few recipes that were helpful and led me in the right direction but they had so many steps. I did not have enough time for a long curry session so I figured out my own specifics to make curry that is just fine for my unrefined simple American pallet! It is also much quicker than the traditional way of making curry but hey, I’m just a SAHM trying to clean the house and cook dinner, and teach a 5 year old math at the same time! 🙂
So here goes, the great thing about this recipe is that it only needs 5 cheap ingredients and it can accommodate a small or large family with just a couple changes. You defiantly do not need to write this recipe down or do any difficult conversions.
** As always products used linked below**
What you need:
-1 box of Japanese curry mix.
(you can find this in some grocery stores, or an asian /Japanese market , or if you click this link and use my favorite kind and it will be shipped right to you through amazon. **Yes, it is an affiliate link but my purpose is not to make money from this site, it is just to share our experiences with other people and to do that sometimes I need to share where you can easily get a product because sometimes they aren’t easily accessible to everyone.)
-some type of cubed beef for stew cut into small pieces.
(just leave this out if you don’t meat and it will taste fine. I actually prefer it without the meat but my family does not.)
3 Steps to a Finished Meal:
- brown your meat in a pan (rinse away any grease after this)
- chop your veggies into bite size pieces
- add veggies, curry blocks, and water to put and let it cook!
I let it cook for a while to make sure that my carrots get really soft. I give it a stir from time to time. If you find that if gets a bit scummy or greasy at the top due to your meat just simply skim this off the top and discard. I never skip this part as the cuts of meat in Japan seem to contain much higher fat content than in the U.S. – the marbled look in beef (as in fat throughout) seems to be thought of as tasty and high quality here. It is hard to find beef without a white marbled look in the markets near our home.
The more time you let this simmer the better it will be but if you are in a rush just let it cook until you can pierce through your carrots and potatoes easily. And Voila! you are finished. Now you are an expert at one of the most common dishes in Japan… we just did it the easy way! 😉
FYI – If you are making a small batch use 2 cups of water and just 1/2 of the cubes of curry in the box. (4 little cube pieces.)
If you are making a big batch for a large size family or want a lot of leftovers to freeze just the entire 8 blocks and 5-6 cups of water.
It will seem water while it is cooking but as it cools it will thicken.
This is also a really easy freezer meal. I just cook fresh rice in the rice cooker and thaw a freezer bag of this in the fridge the night before. Heat on stove and its ready in just a few.