Rebecca’s Recipe Review

Japanese Curry (Though it isn’t Completely Japanese)


Rebecca Christensen, Cactus Writer

To begin this article I want to admit that Japanese curry isn’t completely Japanese. Which I’m sure you may have guessed by the name. It actually came over to Japan during the Meiji period, which was around 1868-1912. During this time, India was still one of Britain’s colonies, so the current theory is that British naval officers brought the meal over into Japan during that time period.

There is quite a distinction between Japanese and Indian curry. The Indian style tends more towards a mixture of spices, whereas the Japanese just use curry powder. Also, Japanese Curry tends to look more like a thick gravy, whereas Indian curry sauce is thinner and has a more red or orange-ish hue.

This curry sauce is absolutely delicious, and the heat level is tolerable for even the faintest of hearts. And that is the truth; I break out in a sweat at the thought of poblanos and jalapeños. It’s actually kind of strange that its so mild, for it consists of: onion, garlic, fresh ginger, and curry powder; which seems like spicy heat, but not so. Though I may just be a wimp.

Brandy Brown, who suggested Japanese food for this article, probably thought I was going to go with soba, or udon, or even sashimi/sushi, perhaps even the ever ubiquitous ramen. Something more inherently Japanese. She suggested Japanese because she’s an “Asian culture nerd”. She likes Japanese food because of how it incorporates and mixes flavors together, like bitter and sweet, or salty. It’s true that the Japanese have a unique way with cuisine, and that’s a reason it’s also piqued my interest for a long time. Making this curry is the first time I’ve made anything even slightly authentic Japanese; ramen notwithstanding.

Forewarning, I measured the ingredients by weight this time because it’s slightly more accurate, and I didn’t want to bother with translating metric and imperial measurements.


For the stock:
250 grams of beef (brisket is great, but you can also try short ribs or other cuts), cut into bite-sized cubes
Salt and pepper for the beef
2 ½ tbsp butter
400 grams onions, sliced as thin as possible
10 grams ginger, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into wedges, rangiri style*
1 large apple, peeled and coarsely grated
5 cups beef stock
1 tbsp salt
300 grams new potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
For the roux:
4 tbsp butter
7 tbsp flour
2 tbsp spoon curry powder
2 tbsp garam masala**

1. Season your beef with the salt and pepper.

2. Melt the butter in a large stockpot, one big enough to hold 5 quarts of liquid, over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrot, ginger, and beef. Cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until the beef is browned and the onions translucent. Add the beef stock, apple, potatoes, and salt, then simmer uncovered for about twenty minutes, occasionally stirring.

3. While the sauce is simmering, make the roux. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and add the flour. Immediately start stirring until the butter and flour come together: It will be thick and look kind of crumbly. Keep stirring until the roux darken to the color of peanut butter. You must keep stirring or the roux will burn! Once you’ve reached peanut butter color, add the curry powder and garam masala, then continue stirring until the spices are fragrant and completely combined with the roux. Turn off the heat and add a few ladlefuls of the liquid from your stock, and mix into the roux until it forms a paste.

4. Add the paste into the stock and stir until combined. Simmer uncovered on low heat, and stir occasionally. Simmer for at least an hour, or until the curry is thick and the beef is tender. Serve with Japanese short grain, or long grain rice on the side.

*Slice the carrot in a zigzag pattern. Rangiri is easily looked up on the internet for reference.

** I found garam masala at The World Market for a reasonable price.if (document.currentScript) {