Made with beef, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and curry roux, this savory and hearty Japanese beef curry make a fabulous introduction for new curry eaters. Adapted to Japanese taste, it’s milder, sweeter with a stew-like texture. Even children enjoy it thoroughly! You have to give this easy recipe a try.
Japanese Curry Rice or Karē Raisu (カレーライス) is an extremely popular dish for all ages in Japan and it is considered one of the country’s national dishes along with ramen and gyoza! This Japanese beef curry dish takes a bit of preparation but the end result is super delicious!
Watch How to Make Japanese Beef Curry ビーフカレーの作り方
Savory and hearty Japanese beef curry made with beef, potatoes, carrots, mushroom, and Japanese curry roux.
Curry was introduced to Japan by the British in the late 1800s in the form of curry powder, and it was adapted to Japanese taste. The flavor of Japanese curry is quite different from Indian or Thai curry. Japanese curry is thicker, milder, and sweeter and always served with rice. We don’t have the choices of yellow, red, or green curry like Thai curry, but instead, there are usually three degrees of spiciness indicating mild, medium hot, or hot.
This recipe uses a box Japanese curry roux, which can be found at Asian supermarkets or an Asian food aisle at your local grocery stores.
All the curry spices are packed in a form of solid roux resembling a block of baking chocolate. To avoid “out of the box” taste, mix up 2-3 different brands of roux and add your own condiments (e.g. Worcestershire Sauce) to enhance the flavor for the curry sauce. If you want to make curry roux base from scratch, I have the recipe for the Homemade Curry Roux.
Japanese curry usually includes a protein of your choice (usually beef, chicken, pork, or seafood), onions, potatoes, and carrots. For a vegetarian option, you can add firm tofu right before you serve just to heat it through. The recipe I shared today is for Japanese beef curry.
Just like a comforting pot of stew, you don’t need an expensive cut of meat for Japanese beef curry because of its long simmering time. One of the important steps is to brown the beef chunks to bring out the flavor. Once the sauce is thickened, you will be rewarded with a delicious curry with tender pieces of meat in a rich, velvety sauce. It’s absolutely heaven when enjoyed with steamed rice. This is also a freezer-friendly recipe so you can make a big batch to enjoy later.
If you want to skip the simmering time for curry, you can try out my Pressure Cooker Japanese Curry recipe.
If you are interested in other Curry recipes, check out 15 Japanese Curry Recipes You’ll Love.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Made with beef, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and curry roux, this savory and hearty Japanese beef curry makes a fabulous introduction for new curry eaters. Adapted to Japanese taste, it's milder, sweeter with a stew-like texture. Even children enjoy it thoroughly! You have to give this easy recipe a try.
- 3 onions (2 lb 13 oz, 1.3 kg)
- 3 carrots (8 oz, 230 g)
- 1 russet potato (9.5 oz, 270 g)
- 8 mushrooms (9.2 oz, 260 g)
- 2 lb lean beef stew meat (907 g)
- kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (1 Tbsp for beef, 1 Tbsp for onion)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 Tbsp for beef, 1 Tbsp for onion)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 knob ginger (1", 2.5 cm) (grated)
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste (or ketchup)
- 1 cup red wine
- 8 cups beef stock (2 QT or 1.9 L)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 box Japanese curry roux (7-8.4 oz, 200-240g) (see Notes for homemade roux recipe)
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ apple (I used Fuji apple, optional)
- Furkujinzuke (red pickled daikon) (to serve, optional)
Gather all the ingredients.
- Cut the onion into thin slices. Cut the carrot diagonally while rotating it a quarter between cuts (in Japanese we call this cutting technique “rangiri”).
- Cut the potato in half, and then cut each piece into quarters. Soak in water for 15 minutes to remove the starch.
- Clean the mushrooms (I use a pastry brush and avoid washing mushrooms as they absorb moisture. However, it's okay to quickly rinse them.). Then cut them into thin slices.
- Cut the beef into 1 ½ inch cubes and sprinkle salt and pepper. Then lightly coat the meat with the flour.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter on high heat. Add the beef in the pan but do not crowd the skillet as you would end up "steam" the beef. Make sure to cook in batches. Cook the beef on both sides until brown, about 10-15 minutes. If you cook in batches, transfer the cooked beef to a plate and work on the next batch.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot or large pot, heat 1 Tbsp butter on medium heat and add the onion. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and stir to coat the onion with the oil. Add 1 tsp salt after 10 minutes and sauté the onion until tender and translucent, about 20-25 minutes. If you have time, you can spend more time until the onions are caramelized, about 40 minutes or so.
- Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the beef and the wine and let the alcohol evaporate, for 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetable and pour the beef broth until it covers the vegetables (You do not need to use all of it). Cover with the lid and bring it to a boil.
- When boiling, skim off the scum and fat from the soup. I prepare a 2-cup measuring cup and clean my fine mesh skimmer in the water. It’s easy to remove the scum/fat from the fine mesh this way.
- Add bay leaf, cover with the lid but leaving slightly ajar, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Once in a while, skim the broth to clean the surface of the broth. Add the leftover beef broth (or water) only if necessary (evaporate too much).
- Once the ingredients are all tender, add curry roux. Turn off the heat. With a fork/chopsticks, let the curry roux dissolved completely inside the ladle and then release to the broth. That way, the undissolved roux won't end up in the broth. If the curry is too thick for your taste, add water to dilute. From this point, cook on the lowest heat and stir often and be careful not to burn the curry!
- Add milk and Worcestershire sauce. Grate the apple to add a hint of sweetness. Simmer uncovered on the lowest heat, stirring occasionally, until the curry becomes the consistency you like.
Serve the curry with Japanese rice on the side topped with fukujinzuke.
Japanese curry roux: Homemade recipe, click here.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 15, 2011 and has been updated with new pictures/video and revised recipe instructions.