Introduction to the dish
Discover the warmth and richness of traditional Japanese cuisine with this easy-to-follow Japanese Potato Curry recipe. This is my vegetarian take on the beloved Japanese dish—a hearty, tasty treat that’s just as comforting as the original, yet with a plant-based twist perfect for potato and carrot enthusiasts. It’s splendid as a standalone dish or as a base to add your choice of protein. The recipe also includes a method for preparing curry roux, helping you save money!
What protein to serve with Japanese Potato Curry?
I absolutely love preparing this delicious curry for my family. Each time, I like to serve it with a different protein side. Here are some ideas for you:
- Soy Glazed Fried Tofu – Start with firm tofu, sizzle it in a pan until it’s wonderfully browned, and then lavish it with a sweet soy sauce glaze. It’s a bite of pure satisfaction guaranteed!
- Chickpeas – Grab a can of cooked chickpeas and give them a gentle boil for 10 minutes. They’ll become so tender, they’ll practically melt in your mouth!
- Peas or Edamame – A delightful alternative for all the veggie enthusiasts out there.
- Base for Chicken Katsu Curry – Sometimes, I love using this as a scrumptious base to nestle my crispy Chicken Katsu on top. It’s an absolute taste sensation!
Store bought Curry Roux Vs. Homemade
I find that store-bought curry roux is quite pricey for what it offers. Making your own can be a cost-effective alternative. Essentially, curry roux is a mix of spices and a thickening agent. To create a homemade version, all you need is some butter, flour, and a curry spice blend of your choosing. The method is conveniently detailed in my recipe card.
What other dishes do you recommend Chef ?
- Osaka Style Okonomiyaki – This is one of my favourites from the Japanese street food selection. It’s a Japanese pancake made with cabbage, prawns, and bacon. Be sure to check it out!
- Chinese Fried Rice with Smoked Tofu – Another quick and tasty vegetarian dish that’s also super healthy.
- Polish Apple Pancakes – After such a delightful dish, you’ll want to prepare a quick and delicious dessert. Here’s something from my homeland that you can whip up in no time!
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What is History of Curry in Japan?
Every time I prepare a dish, I’m reminded of the incredible stories behind each ingredient and recipe. Curry, for instance, isn’t just a dish—it’s a journey. Born in the vibrant kitchens of India, this aromatic stew has travelled across continents, winning hearts and appetites along the way. And yes, it made a special stop in Japan, showcasing the Indian influence on Japanese culinary traditions.
How Curry Found its Unique Place in Japanese Cuisine?
Picture Japan in the late 19th century: a nation on the cusp of change, eagerly embracing the world. Along with new ideas and technologies, came the tantalizing flavours of Indian cuisine. Curry, with its bold and spicy character, was initially a novelty, mostly enjoyed by the military and adventurous expats. But, you know how it is with good food—it doesn’t stay a secret for long.
Japanese chefs, with their knack for innovation, began playing with the curry adaptation recipe. They introduced local favourites like apples, carrots, and a touch of honey, taming the fiery spice and crafting a version that resonated with the Japanese palate.
Japan’s Adoring Affection for Curry
Fast forward to today, and curry isn’t just a dish in Japan—it’s an emotion. From bustling restaurants to cozy family dinners, it’s everywhere. And the best part? Its adaptability. Whether you’re in the mood for chicken, beef, veggies, or seafood, there’s a curry variation for that. Morning, noon, or night, it’s always curry o’clock somewhere in Japan.
For me, the widespread love for curry in Japan (and honestly, everywhere) is a beautiful reminder of how food connects us. It bridges cultures, tells stories, and creates memories. As a chef, I’m not just serving a dish; I’m sharing a piece of history, a pinch of culture, and a whole lot of love. And I can’t wait for you to join me on this flavourful journey. Check out more recipes for Traditional Japanese dishes.
Best Potatoes for Japanese Curry
Potatoes are tubers, which means they serve as storage organs for the plant. As the potato plant grows, it converts the energy from sunlight into glucose through photosynthesis. Some of this glucose is used for the plant’s immediate energy needs, while the excess glucose is transported to the tubers and stored as starch.
As the growing season progresses, the potato tuber continues to accumulate starch. Young potatoes, often referred to as “new potatoes”, are harvested before they have had the chance to accumulate a significant amount of starch. This results in a higher water content and a waxy texture, making them ideal for boiling in the sauce without falling apart, perfect for Japanese Curry.
On the other hand, as potatoes remain in the ground and mature, they continue to accumulate starch and their water content reduces. This transition makes mature potatoes mealy or floury in texture when cooked. These starchy potatoes are perfect for frying, mashing, or baking because of their fluffy texture.
Recipe Card for Japanese Potato Curry:
Japanese Potato Curry
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- 2 Carrots - (300g) medium sized, diced
- 2 Large waxy type potatoes - (700g) (or 2 medium sized sweet potatoes)
- 2 Small onions - finely chopped
- 4 Garlic cloves - sliced
- ½ Celery stalk - finely chopped
- 2 cups Beef stock - (500ml)(for purely vegetarian version use vegetable stock with 1tbsp of miso)
- 1 cup Coconut cream - (200ml)
- 4 tsp Curry Powder
- 2 tbsp Plain flour
- 1 tbsp Dark soy sauce - (add a little more to your preference)
- 1 tsp Honey - Skip if using sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- 5 tbsp Canola oil - for frying
- 1 Green chilli - sliced for garnish
- 1 cup Short grain rice - to serve for 4 people
- Begin by heating 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil in a medium-sized pot.
- Add 2 diced onions and half of a finely chopped celery stick to the pot. Sweat the ingredients on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Turn up the heat slightly and add 2 diced carrots and 2 large diced potatoes to the pot. Fry until the vegetables start to brown. You may need to add a little bit more oil at this step.
- Next, pour in 500ml of beef stock, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and 1 tbsp of mirin. Stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the vegetables are soft and tender, around 20-25 minutes (If you're using sweet potatoes, the cooking time might be shorter).
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the curry roux. In a small frying pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil and add 4 cloves of sliced garlic. Cook until the garlic is browned, then add 4 tsp of curry powder and 2 tbsp of plain flour. Cook on low heat for a minute to combine.
- Once the potatoes and carrots are cooked to your desired texture, add 200ml of coconut milk and 1 tsp of honey to the pot. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat.
- Stir in the curry roux to thicken the sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the curry with a side of rice and sliced green chili. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato: Consider replacing potatoes with sweet potatoes, or use a combination of both for a delightful variation. If incorporating sweet potatoes, omit the honey.
Alternative Proteins: If you’re looking to add protein, consider adding cubed tofu or tempeh. These vegetarian options soak up the curry flavour well and provide a satisfying bite.
Nutrition: To enhance the nutritional value of the dish add 100g of green peas, it will add a pop of colour to the dish but will also add more protein to your meal.
Roux Consistency: The consistency of the curry roux can greatly affect the final texture of the curry. If you prefer a thicker curry, you can increase the amount of plain flour in the roux. Conversely, for a thinner curry, reduce the flour or add more stock or coconut cream.
Herbs and Aromatics: Freshly chopped cilantro can be sprinkled on top before serving for a burst of freshness. Additionally, a bay leaf or two can be added during the simmering process for extra aroma and flavour.
Vegetable Variations: Feel free to add other vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini. Just be mindful of the cooking times, as some vegetables might become too soft if added too early. Grill them beforehand to avoid this problem.
Storage: Japanese curry often tastes even better the next day after the flavours have melded together. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating, you might need to add a splash of water or stock to get the desired consistency.
Best potatoes for Japanese Curry: Waxy potatoes are the preferred choice for Japanese Curry due to their unique characteristics, here are some of the types: Charlotte, Maris Peer, Jersey Royals, Yukon Gold and Red Bliss.
FAQ for Japanese Potato Curry:
- What is best potatoes for Japanese Curry? Japanese curry is a thick and flavourful dish, and it benefits from potatoes that can hold their shape during the simmering process without disintegrating. Waxy potatoes or those with a low starch content are ideal for this purpose. Here are some recommended varieties: Jersey Royal, Charlotte, French Fingerling, Red LaSoda, Maris Peer.
- What makes Japanese curry different from Indian curry? Japanese curry and Indian curry, while both delicious, have distinct differences rooted in their respective culinary traditions. Japanese curry, known as “kare,” is often thicker, sweeter, and milder, typically made with a roux-based sauce and ingredients like potatoes, carrots, and meat. Its flavours are influenced by a blend of spices, but it generally lacks the intense heat found in many Indian curries. On the other hand, Indian curry encompasses a wide range of dishes with varying levels of spiciness, complexity, and richness. They are often characterized by a deep blend of spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, and garlic. The use of dairy, like yogurt or cream, and regional spices gives Indian curries their unique flavours and textures. While both types of curry have spices at their heart, their taste profiles, ingredients, and preparation methods reflect the diverse culinary landscapes of Japan and India.
From the Chef
Check out more of my Vegetarian Dishes. I hope you enjoy this fantastic variation of Japanese Curry! Did you tweak it in any way? What side dishes accompanied your Japanese Potato and Carrot Curry? I’d love to hear your insights in the comments. Don’t forget to hit the star button! Happy cooking!