Curry Doria is Japanese rice gratin topped with flavorful curry meat sauce and cheese and baked into perfection in a casserole. It screams comfort food!
In Japan, we have a rice gratin dish called Doria (ドリア). What’s Doria? Surely it doesn’t sound like a Japanese word but it is a popular Japanese rice casserole.
Doria was invented in the 1930s by the Swiss chef, Saly Weil, who was the first master chef at Hotel New Grand in Yokohama, Japan. The first Doria was Seafood Doria, which was improvised by Weil for a guest who was sick. Since then, all variations of Doria have become popular Yoshoku (Japanese western food) dishes in Japan (source).
Watch How To Make Curry Doria
Japanese rice gratin with delicious curry meat sauce on top of rice and topped with 2 kinds of cheese.
Doria has three components: steamed rice, the savory sauce, and the melted cheese on top. The savory sauce was originally Bechamel sauce (white sauce), but these days there are many sauce variations and this is where you can be creative.
I’ve shared the Doria recipe with the tomato-base sauce (Meat Doria recipe) before, so I’ve made today’s recipe with curry powder. However, it’s not spicy so children can also enjoy this dish.
When you make the sauce, make sure to season the sauce well, by making it a teeny bit on the salty side. The steamed rice dilutes the flavors of the sauce, so don’t worry about making it salty.
Interchangeable Dish with Pasta
By the way, if you prefer pasta instead of rice, you can use elbow (macaroni) or Fusilli pasta. Fusilli is a short spiral pasta with twisted surfaces that grabs hold of the sauce for more taste.
Growing up in Japan, Doria has always been one of my favorite comfort food. As a mom, I love a simple dish like this where you have grains, vegetables, proteins, and dairy in one dish. Plus, how could you resist the melted cheese on top? I especially love the crusty crispy cheese on the baking dish.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Curry Doria (Rice Gratin)
- ½ onion
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 carrot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 oz ground beef
- 6 oz ground pork
- kosher or sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp Japanese curry powder
- 1 ½ cups chicken/vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp tonkatsu sauce (Homemade tonkatsu sauce recipe)
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (separated)
- ½ cup Mozzarella cheese (2 oz; you can use gruyere, parmesan, etc)
- ½ cup Romano cheese (2 oz; you can use gruyere, parmesan, etc)
- 2 Tbsp panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- parsley (for garnish)
- Gather all the ingredients. Start cooking rice with a rice cooker, a pot over the stove, an instant pot, or a donabe. You will also need 2 medium-size baking dishes or 1 large baking dish.
- Mince the onion, celery, and carrot into small pieces.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat and add crushed (or minced) garlic and a bay leaf (if you tear in half, the fragrance will come out faster).
- Saute minced onion and celery over medium high heat until they are almost translucent.
- Add carrot and cook until tender.
- Add the meat and break it up, stirring occasionally. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add 1 Tbsp curry powder and 1 ½ cup chicken/vegetable broth. If the liquid doesn’t cover the ingredients, you will need to add more broth or water.
- Cover with the lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover and skim off the foam, fat, scum off from the liquid. It’s important to get rid of them so that you can achieve a nice and clean soup. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 Tbsp Tonkatsu sauce, 2 Tbsp ketchup, and 1 Tbsp butter. The meat mixture should be a bit on saltier side than bland taste. You will be eating this dish with rice, so make sure it’s well seasoned. Cook and reduce the sauce until you see the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes, and turn off the heat.
- Use the other 1 Tbsp butter to grease the sides and bottom of the baking dish(es). Place the steamed rice in the baking dish.
- Place the meat mixture (and sauce, if you like) on top of the rice. Then sprinkle both kinds of cheese. Finally sprinkle panko on top to add crispy texture.
- Pre-heat the oven on broil for 5 minutes. Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted and you see nice char on top. If you don’t have a broil setting, you can simply bake it until the top is golden brown. Everything is already cooked, so all you need to do is melt the cheese.
- Sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve immediately.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for a month.