Sunday, September 13, 2009

Japanese Curry Rice


As this is a Rune Factory/Harvest Moon Cooking Site, it would be lacking in versimilitude if I did not include Japanese Curry Rice Recipes. Sadly, most of the Recipes I discovered called for commercial 'Japanese Curry Roux' for seasoning without listing the ingredients. That rather begs the question, as I wished to know what the difference was between ordinary Indian Curry Powder and the Japanese version... Fortunately, I did find a Recipe for Curry Rice that did include a recipe for Japanese Curry Roux.

As various types of Curries are found in large quantities in Harvest Moon and Rune factory, I rather suspected that they were extremely popular in Japan. What is interesting is that they evidently are considered to be 'yoshoku' dishes derived from Western food rather than Indian Cuisine. In fact, the manner of cooking as well as the spices used would give the Japanese Curries a distinctive taste that would be very different from any Indian Curries.

A food writer declared that Japanese Curries are more like spicy stews than generic Indian/Pakistani Curry. Certainly there are ingredients included in some of the Japanese Curry recipes I have seen that I never encountered in traditional Indian curries, from yams to applesauce. Now I have more understanding of the Recipes for 'Finest Curry' and 'Ultimate Curry' in Harvest Moon! Obviously, unorthodox ingredients can be the key to a rare dish in Japan.

Japanese Curry Rice:

Garam masala:
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or ginger powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon black pepper

All ingredients:

4 cups cooked rice
2 potatoes, in small pieces
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
2 onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup water
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups water
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon beef bouillon
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons butter
salt to taste

Cut potatoes, carrots, onion and any meat you wish to use into small pieces.

Saute meat in cooking oil until fully cooked. Add potatoes, carrots and 1 chopped onion and continue to saute until cooked. Add 1 cup of water, bring to a boil quickly, then lower temperature and simmer for 40 minutes.

In another pan, melt butter and saute 2 sliced onions for 20 minutes until brown. Add the grated garlic and ginger to the pan and saute well, then add the flour and curry powder.

In yet ANOTHER pan, add the 2 types of bouillon to 3 cups of water to create soup. Once the soup is made, pour it slowly into the pan containing the sliced onions, stirring quickly. Simmer until thickened and once thickened, add the garam masala that you made gradually. This is your 'curry roux'.

When the vegetables and meat have cooked for about 40 minutes, add the curry roux. Stir, then allow it to simmer for ten minutes. Sprinkle with salt.

Note from Freyashawk: Kind of a complicated way to make Curry compared to the single skillet variety I was taught to make! When I was taught, no one measured the ingredients either. They simply told me to watch them and they would proceed to take a handful of this and handful of that, knowing precisely how big of a handful was required for each ingredient! I will have to do more research, but it seems that Japanese 'curry roux' is kind of a basic curry sauce.


  1. In Japantown, the owner of On the Bridge recommends using apples and bananas as sweeteners for true Japanese curry (Kanto style).

    True Japanese curries are very different from most of the Indian curries that I've tried because they're sweeter and far less spicy (more suited to the Japanese Palate, I guess). Personally, I've found most of the "curries" sold in restaurants (including in Japan) to be highly MSG laden "spicy stews."

    Japanese curries are more closely tied to French cooking than Indian. A good roux supposedly takes 3 days to make.

    The real thing is much better.

  2. Thank you, Matt. I surmised as much because of the various 'sweet' ingredients such as apples and yams that I noticed usually were included. Most people feel they are NOT derived from Indian cuisine at all really.

    As 'roux' is a French word and 'roux' are simply sauces of various kinds, it makes sense that the Japanese, who appear to have embraced and modified many French dishes, would make Curries that contain some elements of French cooking.

    In fact, 'Indian' is kind of meaningless as a 'style' of cooking because there are so many varieties of Indian cooking based on location and culture. When I lived in Nepal, I tasted curries made by women (and men) from Sri Lanka and Bangalore, as well as northern areas of India. Each was completely different but all were wonderful. Muslim Indian cooking tends to be quite different from Hindu... and Pakistani cuisine, although similar perhaps to Muslim Indian cooking, has its unique Curries. When I met Indians from Africa, I discovered that they had modified the original Curries even further! Cooking really is international. Dutch Indonesian cuisine, for example, is quite different from real Indonesian cuisine and then you have to realise that 'Indonesian' embraces as many different cultures as 'Indian'...