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Did you know that curry is not just popular in India and other South Asian countries? It is also popular in Japan. It is fast and cheap and mostly enjoyed by most people young and old. You can find this delicious staple in supermarket bento corners, convenience stores, curry shops, road stations (michi no eki), and family restaurants. It is also popular as a home-cooked meal.


Image by chilllinwitme0 from Pixabay

In fact, the Japanese version is sweeter and the consistency of the sauce is thicker compared to its Indian counterpart. The base of most home-cooked curry is a roux and not curry powder which can be purchased at supermarkets. This recipe version from the book of Sarah Marx Feldner “A Cook’s Journey to Japan” was a little bit altered with additional soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to help balance the sweetness.

The servings of this recipe are enough to feed 6 persons or if you eat alone or with a partner, you can freeze and reheat it, making it more convenient for you if you have limited time for cooking.


2 tbsps. butter

1 tbsp. oil

500g boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2.5cm. chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 large onions, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (2.5cm) knob fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock

4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped

135g mild, medium, or hot Japanese curry roux (1/2 packet) broken into smaller pieces

2 tbsps soy sauce (optional)

2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce (optional)

White rice

Red pickled ginger silvers (beni shoga)


  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork shoulder and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with the remaining pork. Set aside.
  2. Lower the heat to medium, add the onions, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, and cook until translucent and starting to caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  3. Return the meat and residual juices to the pan, pour in the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1  1/2 hours.
  4. Add the chopped carrots and potatoes, cover, and cook until fork-tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Add the roux and stir until dissolved. Simmer, stirring constantly so as not to burn the bottom, 5 minutes more. Turn off the heat, taste the curry and, if it is too sweet for your liking, stir in the optional soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Serve with rice and pickled ginger.



Image by Michelle Volkmann from Pixabay. Tonkatsu Curry

In some restaurants and supermarkets, Japanese curry can be served with beef, thus calling it beef curry. It can also be topped with Tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlets) which is called Tonkatsu curry. In family restaurants, it can be topped with an egg (sunny-side up) which is a popular children’s lunch meal (okosama lunch) . For adults, it can be served alongside chicken katsu (breaded chicken cutlets), and omelet rice (omorizu).

Try this at home and it is perfect for this coming chilly, winter season.





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