Do you love a good curry? Here, we’ve rounded up our most delicious Japanese curry recipes you’d want to make over and over again.
Many people are most familiar with Thai and Indian-style curries, but did you know there’s also a whole suite of delicious Japanese curry for you to explore? While it’s not native to Japanese cuisine, Japanese curry is considered one of the nation’s most popular convenient, and comfort foods. We even invented a myriad of Japanese curry dishes that are suited to the Japanese lighter palette.
Why you’ll love Japanese curries? Most of Japanese curry dishes are milder in heat and come with a fruity sweetness and a stew-like texture. They are kid-friendly and make a perfect introduction to people who are trying curry for the first time. Did we mention they are also easy to make and freezer-friendly? Let’s cook up some flavor-packed, comforting curries today!
16 Popular Japanese Curry Recipes to Make at Home
1. How To Make Japanese Curry Roux
Instead of coconut milk which is a common ingredient in yellow curry or Thai green curry, Japanese curry roux is made of flour, butter, and a blend of curry powders. You can find readily made Japanese curry sauce mix in a convenient package or make it from scratch. Add more cayenne pepper or leave it out for a milder taste. Once you have this nailed down, you can use the curry roux to flavor a great variety of dishes you can think of.
2. Japanese Chicken Curry
This is probably the most popular chicken curry for all generations in Japan! In this recipe, tender pieces of chicken, carrots, and potatoes cooked in a rich savory curry sauce. It’s hearty and super comforting. Kick it up with some fresh grind of black pepper, if you prefer. This is a must-keep for your family meal.
3. Curry Udon
Thick chewy udon noodles soaked in a rich, fragrant curry sauce, this curry udon will satisfy your noodles craving in an instant. Bonus: it’s simple enough to throw together on a busy weeknight. Grab your chopsticks and slurp away!
4. Soup Curry
A relatively new addition to the popular Japanese curry scene, soup curry hails from Sapporo, Hokkaido. This unique recipe—with influences from Chines/Korean medicinal soups and curries from India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka—is packed with so much flavors! The soup base is made of a mix of curry blends, aromatic ginger, garlic, herbs like basil and bay leaf, tomato paste, and mango chutney. The curry itself features fall-off-the-bone chicken thighs and colorful veggies such as eggplants, carrots, bell peppers, okra, and kabocha squash.
5. Katsu Curry
Ultra crispy oven-baked chicken or pork cutlet slathered in a creamy curry sauce served over a bed of steamed rice. Need we say more?
6. Vegetarian Curry
This vegetarian curry is all about the clever layering of ingredients to bring up the flavors and textures. With meaty slices of king oyster mushrooms, colorful chunky vegetables, and flavorful broth, it’s going to be the most exciting, satisfying meal you’d love for a very long time. To change things up, you could also use sweet potatoes in place of kabocha squash.
7. Curry Ramen
When there are nights that call for emergency meals, reach for a package of instant ramen and leftover curry in the freezer to make this super easy curry ramen.
8. Beef Curry
Savory and hearty Japanese beef curry made with beef, potatoes, carrots, mushroom, and Japanese curry roux. This is a staple on cold wintry days.
9. Pork Curry Donburi
Looking for a fool-proof and speedy curry? Make this pork curry donburi! With just 5 ingredients, this rice bowl can be put together quicker than you think. No long-simmering needed at all.
10. Curry Doria
Similar to lasagna but made with fluffy rice, curry doria is Japanese rice gratin topped with umami-packed curry meat sauce, cheese and baked into perfection in a casserole.
11. Cold Curry Udon
Cold curry udon is chilled udon soaked in a curry soup, topped with sliced pork, boiled egg, sliced onion, julienned cucumber, mizuna leaves, tomatoes, and grilled eggplant. It’s a colorful, nutritious and refreshingly savory summer dish!
12. Pressure Cooker Japanese Seafood Curry
Packed with amazing flavors from shrimp, squid, scallops, spices, and kombu dashi, this Japanese seafood curry may sound luxurious but totally doable on a weeknight with the help of an Instant Pot! Use frozen seafood mix for an even quicker version.
13. Pressure Cooker Japanese Curry
Dinner is solved on a busy weeknight with this easy yet delicious pressure cooker Japanese curry. I simply add the ingredients in the pot, set up the timer, go out for my kids’ activity, and come home for a fabulous dinner ready to eat.
14. Keema Curry
An Indian curry dish that has been adapted to the Japanese palate, keema curry is a simple curry with ground meat and minced vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. It’s a curry that you can whip up in under 20 minutes. For vegetarians, you can switch out the meat with lentils or cauliflower and the chicken stock with vegetarian broth.
15. Curry Bread
Tired of the same old pastries with sweet fillings? Try this savory bread bun with curry filling instead. The exterior is lightly coated with crispy panko, which makes the bread even more delicious and satisfying. This curry bread (or kare pan) is very popular at Japanese bakery shops, but you can definitely nail the recipe at home with my detailed instructions and video tutorial. What’s hard is to stop yourself from eating more than one when the curry buns are freshly baked out of the oven.
16. Dry Curry
Dry Curry is a no-gravy version of Japanese curry rice made with ground meat and minced vegetables and often topped with a fried egg. It’s as simple as cooking the onion, ground meat, and veggies in a skillet, then season the mixture and let it simmer. You’ll love this as a quick weeknight dinner!
Key Ingredient for Japanese Curry Dishes
To make authentic Japanese curry dishes that I share above, I recommend the S&B brand curry powder which has a distinctive taste. The curry mix includes turmeric, nutmeg, fennel, anise, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, bay leaves, sage, black pepper, cardamom, and orange peel.
You can use packaged curry powder from an Indian grocery store, but the blend can taste drastically different from Japanese-style curry powder.