My parents sent us a package from Japan which contained a lot of Japanese food and snacks. There were some packages of Japanese curry in the box too, and I realised how tasty the Japanese curry was again.
When we make Japanese curry, we normally use curry cubes. In Japan, there are lots of types of curry cubes produced by different companies. Japanese curry cubes are not always available outside of Japan. Even if it’s available, it’s not very cheap. So it is handy if I can make Japanese curry cubes myself with ingredients from the kitchen, and it is possible.
3 Ways to Make Japanese Curry cubes
There are a few ways to make Japanese curry cubes.
- make a paste with flour and butter and add curry spices
- make a paste with minced onion, mashed ginger and garlic, add curry spices
- combine 1+2 – use onion based paste and flour plus butter
I wanted to try the minced onion based paste, but I realised that we didn’t have enough onions, so I tried method No.1.
Ingredients for the paste
- All Purpose Flour: 4 tablespoons (about 60 g)
- Butter or Margarine: 50-60 g
- Maple Syrup (or Honey or Fruits Jam): 1-2 tablespoons
- Tomato Ketchup: 2 tablespoons
- Ginger (mashed): a little
- Garlic (mashed): a little
- Salt: a pinch
- Drained Yoghurt (optional): about 150 ml (after it’s drained)
*Ginger and garlic can be replaced with ginger powder and garlic powder. In that case, you can add them to curry spice mix.
Ingredients for curry spice mix
- ☆Red Chilli
- Black Pepper
- Cacao Powder: a little
☆: You must put these four spices and the others are optional.
How to Make Japanese Curry cubes
1. Roast the curry spice mix in a pan on the lowest heat, constantly stirring, until it gets coloured.
2. Take the curry spice out of the pan, put butter (or margarine) in the pan. Heat the butter on the lowest heat.
3. After half of the butter melts, add the flour. Continue heating them on a low heat constantly stirring.
4. When the flour and butter gets creamy, add the curry spice mix and stir them well.
5. Add maple syrup, mashed ginger, mashed garlic and tomato ketchup. Mix well and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes.
6. After taking it off the heat, put the paste in a container. When it cools down, cut it into cubes and store in the fridge.
7. Optionally, you can add drained yoghurt at the last step as I did. Adding drained yogurt can give another flavour. If you don’t use it within a few days, I recommend freezing it.
Note that it’s easy to burn, so always cook on a low heat and constantly stir it.
How to use the Japanese Curry cubes
- Beef, Chicken or Pork: 150-200 g
- Onions: 1-2
- Carrots: 1-2
- Potatoes: 1-2
- Vegetable Oil: 1 tablespoon
- Curry cubes
- Water or Chicken Soup Stock
- Salt and Black Pepper
Seasoning Ideas (optional)
- Soy Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Tomato Ketchup or Tomato Paste
- Maple Syrup or Honey
- Grated Apple
- Fruits Jam
- Additional Spices (red chilli, black pepper, garam masala, paprika)
- Massa de Pimientos (red pepper paste)
- Yoghurt or Milk
In Japan, curry products are a big market. There are a few big companies who have sold them for years. I still remember the TV ad from one of them, “♪apple and honey… delicious curry♪” Obviously, apples and honey are important factors to make the curry tasty. Everyone has some favourite ingredients to add to their curry. The list of “seasoning ideas” above are the ingredients you can try to add to Japanese curry, or you can even discover a new seasoning for yourself.
How to cook
- Peel the potatoes and carrots. Cut the vegetable and meat into bite-sized pieces. Chop up the garlic.
- Heat the vegetable oil and chopped garlic in a frying pan and cook the meat on a medium heat.
- Add vegetables and cook them until the onions are clear.
- Add water or chicken soup stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables get tender.
- Add curry cubes and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the cubes completely melt.
- Season with your favourite ingredients and serve with steamed rice.