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Japanese Curry Rice Crash Course!

Published Time
Posted on April 30, 2020

If you like to watch Crayon Shinchan and other children's anime, you may be familiar with this dish: curry rice! It’s a dish loved by all members of a typical Japanese family! While Japanese curry (カレー, karē) is typically served in three main forms: curry rice, curry udon, and curry bread (a curry-filled pastry), today we’ll focus on curry rice.

Curry rice was brought to Japan by the British during the Meiji era (1868–1912) when India was under colonial rule. It was served to the Japanese Imperial Navy to prevent thiamine (vitamin B-1) deficiency. The dish quickly became popular and available for purchase at supermarkets and restaurants in the late 1960's – and today it’s considered to be a national dish! 

Japanese curry is quite different from any other curry you’ll find in Asia – it tends to be more sweet than spicy (no wonder kids love it so much). All sorts of vegetables and proteins can be cooked in a rich, brown curry sauce to make a Japanese style curry The basic vegetables are onions, carrots, and potatoes. Beef, pork, and chicken are the most popular meat choices. Of course, you can add your favorite vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, green peas, zucchini, and even chickpeas to give your curry rice a personal touch! 

Feeling hungry yet? If you’re in the mood for some Japanese Curry Rice, we found this super delicious recipe from  PickledPlum that really hits the spot!

Ingredients (4 servings):

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 pound stewing beef

1 large onion (peeled and finely chopped)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1 tablespoon ginger (peeled and minced)

1 apple (peeled, cored and minced)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 large carrots (peeled and roughly chopped on the bias)

1 large potato (peeled and roughly chopped)

1 teaspoon garam masala

4 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups red wine

1 1//2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cups water

(Curry rice ingredients. Source:


  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and stewing beef. Cook for 5 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Lower heat to medium-low and in the same pot, add remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil with onions and cook for about 10 minutes until onions are translucent and slightly caramelized.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, and apple and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add flour and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add carrots, potatoes, garam masala, and curry powder and stir well.
  6. Add tomato paste, stir well and slowly add red wine and bring to a boil.
  7. Add sugar, soy sauce and water, stir and bring to a boil again.
  8. Add beef and lower heat to a simmering boil. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  9. Take the lid off and cook for another 30 minutes or until curry soup has reduced by a third.
  10. Season with salt and pepper and serve with rice.

Today, it’s pretty easy to find instant curry sauce (also known as curry roux) at the supermarket anywhere in the world. If you are busy and don’t have time to cook from scratch, you can use the instant curry stuff, instead. All you have to do is mix in the sauce with your sauteed meat and veggies! You can boost your store-bought curry with grated apple and ginger for some extra sweetness and a bit of heat, (that’s a pro tip from  PickledPlum  😉). 

Be sure to tag us on your socials if you decide to create your own curry masterpiece! 

If you want to see more interesting facts about Japan make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more news straight from Japan!

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