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Vegetarian Japanese Curry ベジタリアンカレー

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    {Vegan Adaptable} This vegetarian Japanese curry is loaded with thick, meaty slices of king oyster mushrooms and colorful chunky vegetables such as kabocha, eggplant, and asparagus. With homemade Japanese curry roux, this dish is no doubt our family’s favorite for a bright and flavorful dinner!

    A white plate containing Vegetarian Japanese Curry along with steamed rice.

    I received a lot of requests from JOC readers to make a Vegetarian Japanese Curry recipe. Sure, you can throw in chopped veggies in the mix and call it Vegetarian Curry. Instead, I spent a little more time to develop one killer version that I am truly excited to share.

    It’s one pot of a curry that makes the most use of vegetables, and perhaps steal the limelight of the regular curry!

    What’s So Good About This Vegetarian Japanese Curry?

    • Big bold layers of flavors, even without meat!
    • Nutritious and healthy, with lots of veggies!
    • Fulfilling, without too heavy on the stomach.
    • Striving to eat more plant-based food? This recipe is going to be your staple.

    A white plate containing Vegetarian Japanese Curry along with steamed rice.

    Bring Regular Curry to The Next Level

    The most challenging part of making vegetarian curry in a big pot is that each vegetable has different cooking times.

    You can somewhat control by cutting the vegetables into desirable sizes and toss them in, so they are cooked into homogenous tenderness. For this recipe, however, I decided to take on a different approach.

    First, I categorized the ingredients based on the texture and density. For this instance, I grouped onions and root vegetables together as they have similar cooking time. Then, I applied a mix of sauteeing and steaming methods to cook them in my Dutch oven pot. Once they are almost 80% tender, I added broth and continued cooking for a short time. Next, I used a separate frying pan and sauteed the rest of the vegetables in stages.

    With this approach, each ingredient maintains its shape beautifully. No crumbling potato pieces or overly soft peppers. Because I cooked the vegetables and mushrooms in a separate pan, they get a nice char like how you’d sear meat and ultimately brings additional flavors to the curry.

    Watch How to Make Vegetarian Japanese Curry

    {Vegan Adaptable} This vegetarian Japanese curry is loaded with thick, meaty slices of king oyster mushrooms and colorful chunky vegetables such as kabocha, eggplant, and asparagus.

    5 Tips on Making This Curry

    1. Make homemade Japanese curry roux – You can buy an S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix (no meat contained) and use the half box for this recipe, but I highly recommend making the roux from scratch at home!
    2. Cook the ingredients in stages – Divide your ingredients into dense vegetables, tender vegetables, and mushrooms, and cook them in stages.
    3. Use king oyster mushrooms – The unique meaty texture of this mushroom lends a great chewy bite and incredible umami. It’s definitely the most delicious type of mushroom to use for Japanese curry. If you can’t find king oyster mushrooms, you can use large portobello mushrooms.
    4. Don’t overcook each ingredient – Vegetables get mushy and disintegrate easily as you continue to cook. Therefore, it’s important to retain the shape and texture by not overcooking them.
    5. Top the curry with colorful vegetables – To bring out the color of the curry, I recommend keeping some colorful vegetables you sautee for plating later. The vibrant green, orange and yellow contrasts beautifully on a brown sauce.

    A white plate containing Vegetarian Japanese Curry along with steamed rice.

    Ingredients Substitutes and Suggestions:

    This recipe is pretty flexible when it comes to swapping ingredients.

    • Vegetables: cauliflower, corn, green beans, okra, zucchini, and etc.
    • Mushrooms: Crimini mushroom, portobello mushroom, shiitake mushroom, and etc.
    • A meat-eater in the family? You can put Tonkatsu (baked version) or Chicken Katsu (baked version) on top!

    How to Make it Vegan

    I make the curry roux with butter and saute the mushrooms with butter for the flavors. If you want to make this dish vegan-friendly, simply swap the butter with vegan butter or other types of oil.

    Enjoy the Japanese vegetarian curry over rice. It’s going to be the most exciting, satisfying meal you’d love for a very long time.

    A white plate containing Vegetarian Japanese Curry along with steamed rice.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.84 from 18 votes
    A white plate containing Vegetarian Japanese Curry along with steamed rice.
    Vegetarian Japanese Curry
    Prep Time
    30 mins
    Cook Time
    1 hr
     

    {Vegan Adaptable} This vegetarian Japanese curry is loaded with thick, meaty slices of king oyster mushrooms and colorful chunky vegetables such as kabocha, eggplant, and asparagus. With homemade Japanese curry roux, this dish is no doubt our family’s favorite for a bright and flavorful dinner!

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: curry, vegetarian
    Servings: 4
    Author: Namiko Chen
    Ingredients
    Curry Ingredients
    • 1 onion (280 g, 10 oz)
    • 1 carrot (85 g, 3 oz)
    • 2 yukon gold potatoes (260 g, 9 oz)
    • kabocha (without seeds; 140 g, 5 oz)
    • 1 knob ginger (Only need 1 tsp)
    • 1 bell pepper (half yellow and half red; 220 g, 8 oz)
    • 8 asparagus (140 g, 5 oz)
    • 1 Japanese eggplant (115 g, 4 oz)
    • 4 king oyster mushrooms (140 g, 5 oz)
    • ½ shimeji mushrooms (100 g, 3.5 oz)
    • 4 button mushrooms (60 g, 2 oz)
    • 1 tomato (150 g, 5 oz)
    Condiments and Seasonings
    • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
    • 3 cups vegetable broth (or water; 720 ml)
    • kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; Use half for table salt)
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter (13 g; For Vegan, use vegan butter or other types of oil)
    • Homemade curry roux (recipe below)
    • 1 apple (220 g, 8 oz)
    Homemade curry Roux
    • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter (42 g; For Vegan, use vegan butter or other types of oil)
    • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour) (30 g; You can use GF flour as well)
    • 1 Tbsp curry powder (6 g)
    • 1 Tbsp garam masala (6 g)
    • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (1-2 g; omit for mild spicy level)
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry Ingredients
    To Make Curry Roux
    1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter completely over medium heat and then add the flour.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 1
    2. Using a silicone spatula, stir to combine the flour and butter. The mixture starts to fuse and swell but becomes more liquid form. Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir for 15 minutes.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 2
    3. The mixture will darken to a chocolate color after 12-15 minutes.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 3
    4. Then add 1 Tbsp curry powder and mix well.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 4
    5. Add 1 Tbsp garam masala and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional for spicy).
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 5
    6. Mix well to combine and cook stirring for 20 seconds. Transfer the roux to a bowl and set aside.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 6
    To Prepare Ingredients
    1. Cut the onion in half and then cut each half into 4 wedges.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 7
    2. Cut the golden Yukon potatoes into a quarter and soak in water to remove starch.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 8
    3. Cut the kabocha into 1 inch cubes.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 9
    4. Cut the carrot using the Japanese rangiri style. Grate the ginger (you will need 1 tsp).

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 10
    5. Cut the bell pepper into small strips.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 11
    6. Discard the tough bottom of the asparagus (you can snap easily by holding both ends) and cut them diagonally.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 12
    7. Cut the Japanese eggplant into wedges and soak in water to remove the bitterness and prevent discoloration.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 13
    8. Cut off the end of king oyster mushroom stems and cut into 1-2 inch pieces.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 14
    9. Discard the bottom of shimeji mushrooms and cut the button mushrooms in half.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 15
    10. Cut the tomato into 6 wedges.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 16
    To Cook Vegetarian Curry
    1. In a large pot (I used 4.5 QT Dutch oven), heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add the dense vegetables (onion, potatoes, kabocha, and carrot). With a spatula, mix and coat the vegetable with oil.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 17
    2. Add the grated ginger and mix. Close the lid and reduce the heat to low/medium-low.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 18
    3. Let the vegetables steam for 20 minutes (We use the steaming method instead of boiling to keep the ingredient’s shape). Once in a while shake the pot so the bottom of the pot doesn’t get burnt. After 20 minutes, insert the skewer and see if the vegetables are 80% cooked.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 19
    4. Add vegetable broth and bay leaf. Bring it to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 20
    5. Skim the scum and foam on the surface. Insert a skewer and once the vegetables are cooked through, turn off the heat.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 21
    6. In a large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add the eggplant.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 22
    7. Cook the eggplant until nicely brown, about 8-10 minutes, and transfer to a plate.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 23
    8. In the same pan, add 1 Tbsp oil and bell pepper and asparagus.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 24
    9. Saute the vegetables until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the plate.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 25
    10. In the same pan, heat 1 Tbsp butter and sauté all the mushrooms, about 4 minutes.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 26
    11. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Set aside.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 27
    12. Bring the pot back on the stove over medium heat and bring it to simmer. Remove the bay leaf from the pot (optional). Add the mushrooms to the pot.

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 28
    13. Add vegetables to the pot and gently mix all together. Tip: I recommend keeping some colorful vegetables for toppings later.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 29
    14. Gradually add the small amount of the homemade curry roux to your ladle and let it dissolve completely before releasing it to the broth and add more curry roux (I use all the homemade curry roux).

      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 30
    15. Grate an apple and add to the curry (Adjust the amount of sweetness as you like). Mix gently without breaking up the vegetables.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 31
    16. Taste the curry (it’s very important!). If needed, add more apple and season with salt. Sometimes just a pinch of salt can bring out more flavors.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 32
    17. Taste again, and when it’s good, add the tomatoes and heat the curry when you’re ready to serve.
      Vegetarian Japanese Curry 33
    To Serve
    1. Put the steamed rice on one side of a plate and pour the curry on the side. Add a few colorful vegetables you saved on top of the curry.
      A white plate containing Vegetarian Japanese Curry along with steamed rice.
    Recipe Notes

    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 in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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