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How to make Japanese Style Curry Rice

Updated on February 7, 2014
Some curry rice I made.
Some curry rice I made.

What is Japanese Curry Rice?

If you are at all familiar with any type of popular Japanese fiction, whether it be anime or manga, on occasion you may have come across mention of a dish called "curry rice". Curry rice is an exceedingly popular dish in Japan, noted for its nutritional value, ease at cooking, and its great taste. What's unique about Japanese curry rice is that that Japanese didn't create their version of curry based on a previously existing form of curry in China or India. Rather, the origins of Japanese curry comes from the British.

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During the late 19th century going into the early twentieth century, Japan went through a process of rapid modernization called the "Meiji Restoration". Naturally, the Japanese military was also modernized with the implementation of the new Japanese Imperial Navy, modeled after the British Royal Navy. Looking for an easy dish with which to feed their sailors, the Japanese Navy looked toward the curry that the British fed their sailors with. Rather than putting the curry on bread like the British did though, the Japanese decided to put it on rice, and that is how curry rice was invented. Thus, when sailors left the Navy the spread the meal amongst the civilians, beginning with the city of Yokosuka where the majority of the Japanese navy was stationed at. In fact, one of the first restaurants to serve curry rice to civilians, "Yokosuka Navy Curry Hall" 「よこすか海軍カレー」, is still in business today, not too far from the US navy base in Yokosuka.

Ingredients for Curry Rice
Ingredients for Curry Rice
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/5 pkg. (20g)
Calories 110
Calories from Fat63
% Daily Value *
Fat 7 g11%
Saturated fat 4 g20%
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 9 g3%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 1 g2%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 990 mg41%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Before we start...

I am basing these instructions on a brand of curry called S&B Golden Curry since it is generally the most widely available brand of Japanese curry that can be found in the United States. However, although it is a little less common, the personal brand I recommend is House Vermont Curry. It is a bit less common in the United States but can still be found regularly if you look hard enough. Curry usually comes in three levels of spiciness: mild, medium hot, and hot. Also, the type of meat you use is optional although beef, pork, and chicken tend to be the most popular. Onions, carrots, and potatoes are also simply the most popular ingredients, you can actually add any vegetables that you want. Or any kind of food for that matter. One of the things that makes Japanese curry so popular, is that you can put almost anything into it.

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 35 min
  • Yields: 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups white rice
  • 1 4oz pack Japanese curry
  • 1 pack stew meat
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 potatoes
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Washed rice in cooker.Chopped up carrots and potato.Stir frying meat and vegetables.Bringing added water to a boil.Cover and letting it shimmer.Fluffing up the rice.Adding curry.Melted curry.Serve over rice.
Washed rice in cooker.
Washed rice in cooker.
Chopped up carrots and potato.
Chopped up carrots and potato.
Stir frying meat and vegetables.
Stir frying meat and vegetables.
Bringing added water to a boil.
Bringing added water to a boil.
Cover and letting it shimmer.
Cover and letting it shimmer.
Fluffing up the rice.
Fluffing up the rice.
Adding curry.
Adding curry.
Melted curry.
Melted curry.
Serve over rice.
Serve over rice.
  1. To begin with, you will need a rice cooker and a large pot. First, hand wash the white rice. Place the rice in the rice cooker, and a little under two cups of water and begin the rice cooker's cooking cycle.
  2. While the rice is cooking chop the onions, carrots, and potatoes into bite-size pieces. Conventionally, the carrots and potatoes are chopped into cubes but that is optional. If the meat isn't already bite sized (as in shredded or stew meat) then chop that up as well.
  3. Stir fry the meat and onions in the pot with either margarine, butter, or vegetable oil. Add the carrots and potatoes after about a minute of stir frying but it is important that you first start with the meat and onions. Do so for about three minutes or until the onions start becoming brown.
  4. Once that is done add about 1 2/3 cups of water to the pot. Bring it to a boil, turn down the temperature, cover the pot, and let it simmer for around ten minutes until the meat becomes tender.
  5. Around this time, the rice should've finished cooking. Stir up the rice, close the lid of the cooker, and let it stand for around ten minutes.
  6. After the meat and vegetables have been boiling for about ten minutes remove the pot from the heat. Break the curry into pieces and place it in the pot, stirring until it is completely melted. As an option, you can add a little milk to reduce the spiciness. Let the curry simmer for about five minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Once the curry is finished serve it on the rice. Enjoy.

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