Japanese Style Curry

This recipe is a take on a classic, mild curry that is wildly popular in Japan.  Curry is thought to have been brought by British sailors from India to Japan where it caught on and is now one of Japan’s most commonly eaten dishes.  Because this curry has been adapted over time to the British, then the Japanese palette, this dish tastes quite different from many Indian curries.

This curry recipe uses a combination of spices and technique to create a deep, rich flavor.  Filled with onion, carrot, and potato, this curry is hearty and filling.  The wide variety of spices used in this dish infuse it with several health benefits.  Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, a substance with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects; cinnamon and fenugreek (methi) have been shown to be effective in helping reduce blood-sugar levels; ginger reduces inflammation; garlic helps support immunity and heart health; and cumin is rich in iron. Thus, including plenty of these spices in your diet can be a great asset to your health.

This recipe is a delicious starting point, but you can also feel free to add any vegetables you like, or add in some soya sauce and honey for a slightly sweet and savory spin, even add in chicken if you want a non-vegetarian version.  Serve this curry over brown rice, with boiled eggs.  Most importantly, enjoy!

Ingredients

For the masala:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (dhania)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1 tsp aniseed (saunf)
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 7 cloves (lavang)
  • 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
  • 3 cm piece of cinnamon stick (dal chini)
  • 2 pods green cardamom (elaichi)
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder

For the curry:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 medium onion (150 grams), sliced
  • ½ large potato (150 grams), cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 medium carrot (50 grams), cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, minced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp wheat flour (maida)

Method

  1. Toast all the whole spices except black pepper in a dry pan on medium-high heat until the mustard seeds begin to pop and the spices just begin to smoke, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Grind the toasted spices and black pepper with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
  3. Transfer these ground spices to a bowl and mix in the other powdered spices (turmeric, sea salt, red chilli).  This is your curry masala.  You should have more than you need for one batch so keep this on hand for next time.
  4. Heat the oil in a pot or deep pan and add in onions, potatoes, and carrots.  Saute on medium-high heat until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in ginger and garlic and cook for another two minutes.
  5. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add in the butter and flour, cook for 3 mins, stirring constantly.  Add in two tablespoons of the curry masala and mix for one more minute.
  6. Add in 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Let the curry boil uncovered until the potatoes are tender and the curry has thickened a bit.
  7. Adjust salt to taste and serve with rice and boiled egg.  Serves 2-3.

 

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