Updated: Sep 26, 2021
The Japanese love a curry. Or to be specific, the Japanese love a Japanese curry.
In fact, the average Japanese gets through 70 dishes of curry a year - so it is quite a love affair - and curry rice is regarded, alongside ramen, as the country's national dish (beating even the mighty sushi). Not that the Japanese only pair curry with rice - curry udon, curry pan (essentially a curried doughnut - no, honestly!) and curried "katsu" cutlets are all very popular dishes in Japan.
Like other things the Japanese have imported and made their own over the years, the Japanese have adjusted the flavour of curry to suit their own tastes (Japanese curry tends to be milder and fruity than what you might be used to). Having adjusted the taste, the process is then stripped down to one bare essential - the curry "roux" pack. This comes in the form of a block normally with 8 - 10 large cubes which you break off depending on how much curry you want to make - many Japanese "mix and match" segments from different curry blocks to create their own favourite blend. a typical Japanese curry starts by frying potato, onion and carrot with pork/chicken/beef though the meat is optional) in a pan. Then, water is added and then in goes the curry roux - this
melts, the sauce thickens and your curry is ready - you can taste at this stage and pop in another segment or two of curry roux if you want to adjust the strength. The curry roux makes a home made curry simple and quick. In Japan, two companies dominate the market in curry sauces, S&B and House Foods. S&B does sell other food products such as wasabi pastes and powders but curry sauces are the corporate mainstay. Their two main brands are Golden and Torukeru (which means "tasty") with each brand having mild, medium and hot variants (actually Golden curry offers extra hot as well). S&B's big competitor is House Foods which sells a much wider range of food and drink products but still has curry sauces as its flagship. House's two big brands are Vermont and Java (House also has some smaller curry lines, Kokumaru, The Curry and Hotel Curry but I'm guessing there's only so much you want to know about Japanese curries!). Like S&B, House sells mild, medium and hot variants of its curry sauces. Both companies started out in the same way, selling curry powders in the 1920s. The 1950s brought the first curry roux cubes to the market and the Japanese have been consuming them in their millions ever since.
Nowadays, you can buy curry cubes from many shops online. So what to cook? Chicken? Vegetables? I've got a dedicated Japanese curry section on my website with lots of different curry idea for your to choose from. You can find these curry recipes at the link below:
So why not try a Japanese curry today?