If you’ve never tried Japanese Curry before, you must! This comfort food dish is loved by kids and adults alike in Japan and can be customised to how you want.
There’s no need to make separate toddler and adult versions. Here, I’ll show you how easy it is to make a mild version for the whole family, then after serving up, you can make spice it up if you want to.
What Is Japanese Curry?
Although Japanese curry derives from Indian curry and has the base spices like Turmeric, Cumin and Coriander, it’s completely different. It’s MUCH thicker and is sweetened with fruit or honey.
Without giving you a full history lesson, ‘curry’ came over from India to the UK, then UK to Japan who put their own spin on things.
It comes in a block like this, which you stir into your ingredients and water, sort of like stock cubes for a stew.
The Packs Look Like This:
甘口 ’Amakuchi’ – Sweet
中辛 “Chukara’ – Medium
辛口 ‘Karakuchi’ – Hot
Is It Toddler Friendly?
Yes, if your toddler has completed the weaning stage and is basically eating food that you eat (for us it was between 1 and 1.5 years old), they can eat the mild version of these curries.
I’ll show you how to make it extra mild and baby friendly in the recipe below.
And It’s From A Packet?!
If you’re put off by this, I hear you because I usually make everything from scratch for my baby but now that he’s 1.5 years old and wants to eat everything we’re eating, I’m beginning to relax a little. Only a little!
This is a dish loved by kids his age in Japan and if we were in Japan right now, he would have eaten it in a restaurant already, so who am I to take that away from him!
So I make it every now and again and we all eat together.
How Do You Eat It?
Think of it as a sauce which you can have it with whatever you want.
There are SO many ways it’s eaten but I would say the most common ways it’s served in Japan are:
カレーライス ‘Kare Raisu’ Curry Rice
かつカレー ‘Katsu Kare’ Katsu Curry Rice
カレーうどん ‘Kare Udon’ Curry Udon
I talk more about Udon Noodles and how to eat them in my ‘Ketchup Udon’ recipe here.
Where Can I Buy Japanese Curry?
I’d like to say in most local supermarkets but it’s not sold everywhere… yet, but I’ve seen these two sold in Waitrose and on Ocado:
And these on Amazon:
But fear not, you can buy a decent variety of Japanese curry cubes in Japanese and Oriental supermarkets – look out for the brands ’S&B’ and ‘House’.
The ingredients and instructions will be in English.
Here are the places I shop in London but some of them may deliver further out:
Simply Oriental Foods
Rice Wine (website is in Japanese only but you can pop into the store to buy the curry)
There are instructions on how to make the curry with the classic ingredients, (usually chicken, carrot and potato) on the box BUT the beauty about this curry is that you can customise how you want.
In Japan, every household makes it differently:
• My mum puts chicken thigh cubes and loads of vegetables and rest the whole pot in the oven overnight
• My friend’s mum puts seafood, potato and serves it straight up
• I like to put 100ml less water than the instructions say, so the sauce is even thicker, and pack it with lots of vegetables
You can put any vegetable, any protein, make it more soupy or extra thick, whatever you want!
Once you start to make it, you’ll see where you can customise for next time.
For some reason, Japanese curry tastes even better the next day but you can also freeze it or I like to have it the next day with udon noodle, spaghetti or even poured over well-done wholemeal toast!
And Now For My Customised Japanese Curry
Japanese Curry for The Whole Family (1 Year+)
- 1 Pack of 220g Japanese Curry Cubes
- 1 Large Onion Or more because you can’t put enough!
- 1 Large Carrot or 2 Small
- 1 Aubergine
- Handful of Mushrooms I like to use Chestnut Mushrooms
- 50 g Frozen Peas
- Handful of Frozen Prawns Or fresh prawns
- 1100 ml Water The box says 1200 but I use 1100 for a thicker sauce
- 1 tbsp Oil for frying I like to use Sunflower or Rapeseed
- 1 tbsp Oil for coating the aubergine
- Dollop of Plain/Greek yogurt for toddler
- Sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper for older kids and adults to spice it up
- Cut all of the vegetables into bite size chunks or smaller if you prefer
- Put the aubergine in a large bowl, toss in some oil, cover and microwave for 2mins. Set aside
- De-vein the prawns and cut up smaller if you prefer
- Open the pack of curry, break up the cubes and set aside
Lets Get Cooking!
- Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and fry the onions on a low heat for about 5mins
- Once the onions have some colour, turn the heat up to medium, add the carrots and mushrooms and fry for a further 5mins
- Push the vegetables aside in the pan and fry the prawns until they start to go pink
- Add the water, turn the heat to high, put the lid on and bring to the boil
- Switch the heat to low and simmer for 10-15mins or until the vegetables are cooked to your liking
- Add the curry cubes, aubergine and frozen peas. Simmer for about 5mins, constantly mixing until the cubes have completely dissolved. You’ll see the sauce get thicker and thicker
- If you think the sauce is too thick, add more water a little at a time, mixing constantly
- Serve with rice, udon, anything you want!
- After it’s done, put the lid on and place the whole pan in an unheated oven for up to 1 hour. This will deepen the flavour and make the onions lovely and melty
With boiled egg
With Cayenne Pepper
With Fish Fingers
Give It A Try
If you give this recipe a go, let me know how it went in the comments below!
Here’s Jin enjoying the dish!
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