japanese beef curry

by easy quick meal
japanese beef curry

japanese beef curry recipe

Japanese beef curry, often simply referred to as “beef curry” in Japan, is a popular and beloved dish in Japanese cuisine. It is a hearty and flavorful curry dish made with tender pieces of beef, carrots, potatoes, and onions, all simmered in a rich and mildly spicy curry sauce.

The curry sauce is typically made from a curry roux, which is a mixture of various spices, including curry powder, garam masala, and other seasonings, combined with flour and fat (usually butter or oil) to create a thick, flavorful sauce. The sauce is then simmered with the meat and vegetables until everything is tender and well-infused with the curry flavor.

Japanese beef curry can be customized to suit different preferences, with variations in spiciness and ingredients. It’s often served over steamed white rice and may be garnished with pickles or a boiled egg. It’s a comforting and satisfying dish enjoyed by people of all ages in Japan, and it’s also a popular option in Japanese curry restaurants and households around the world.

What are the key ingredients for making authentic Japanese beef curry at home?

To make authentic Japanese beef curry at home, you will need the following key ingredients:

  1. Beef: You can use cuts like stewing beef, sirloin, or chuck roast. Cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Onion: Onions provide the base flavor for the curry sauce. You’ll typically use a large onion, chopped.
  3. Carrots: Carrots are a common vegetable in Japanese curry, adding sweetness and texture. Slice them into rounds or small chunks.
  4. Potatoes: Potatoes add thickness and starchiness to the curry sauce. Peel and cut them into chunks.
  5. Curry Roux Blocks: These are pre-made curry roux blocks that contain a blend of spices and flavorings. You can find mild, medium, or hot versions, depending on your spice preference.
  6. Oil: Vegetable oil is commonly used for sautéing the beef, onions, and other vegetables.
  7. Water or Broth: You’ll need water or beef broth to create the curry sauce. The amount depends on the desired consistency.
  8. Optional Ingredients: While not strictly necessary for authentic Japanese beef curry, you can add these for extra flavor or variety:
    • Garlic: Minced garlic can enhance the aroma and taste.
    • Ginger: Grated ginger adds a subtle, warming flavor.
    • Apples: Some recipes call for grated apples to add sweetness and complexity to the sauce.
    • Fruits or Vegetables: Some people like to add ingredients like peas, bell peppers, or mushrooms for additional flavor and nutrition.
    • Soy Sauce: A small amount of soy sauce can deepen the umami flavor of the curry.

Optional toppings for serving:

  • Fukujinzuke: This is a type of pickled relish often served with Japanese curry.
  • Shichimi Togarashi: A Japanese seven-spice blend for added heat and flavor.

Keep in mind that the specific ingredients and their quantities can vary depending on the recipe and your personal preferences. Japanese curry is highly customizable, so you can adjust the ingredients and spice level to suit your taste.

Can I use other meats besides beef in Japanese curry?

japanese beef curry

you can absolutely use other meats besides beef in Japanese curry. Japanese curry is quite versatile, and it can be adapted to various dietary preferences and ingredient choices. Here are some common alternatives to beef in Japanese curry:

  1. Chicken: Chicken is one of the most popular alternatives to beef in Japanese curry. You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces. Chicken curry is often milder in flavor compared to beef curry.
  2. Pork: Pork is another excellent option. You can use pork loin or pork shoulder, cut into cubes or strips. Pork curry has a different flavor profile, and it can be quite delicious.
  3. Seafood: While less common, seafood such as shrimp or white fish can be used to make a seafood curry. Be mindful of the cooking time, as seafood cooks much faster than beef or chicken. You may need to add it towards the end of the cooking process.
  4. Tofu: For a vegetarian or vegan version, tofu can be substituted for meat. Extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes, can be added to the curry sauce. Tofu curry is a lighter option with a different texture.
  5. Vegetarian and Vegan Options: You can make a completely plant-based Japanese curry by omitting meat and using a variety of vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, and eggplant. Add protein with ingredients like tofu or seitan.
  6. Lamb: While less traditional, lamb can also be used in Japanese curry. Lamb curry has a unique, slightly gamey flavor that can work well with the curry sauce.
  7. Combination: Feel free to mix different types of meats or proteins in your curry. For example, you can make a chicken and pork curry or combine tofu with various vegetables for a multi-protein and vegetable curry.

The key to using different meats or proteins is to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as each type of meat or protein may require different cooking durations to reach the desired level of tenderness. Additionally, consider the flavor profile you want to achieve, as different proteins can impart distinct tastes to the curry.

Ultimately, Japanese curry is highly customizable, and you can get creative with your choice of meat or protein to suit your taste and dietary preferences.

Is Japanese beef curry healthy?

Japanese beef curry can vary in terms of its healthiness depending on how it’s prepared and consumed. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Ingredients: The ingredients used in Japanese beef curry can greatly impact its healthiness. Lean cuts of beef and a variety of vegetables can make it a nutritious choice. On the other hand, using fatty cuts of beef or excessive amounts of oil can increase its calorie and fat content.
  2. Portion Size: Like any dish, portion size matters. Eating large servings of beef curry can lead to excessive calorie intake. It’s important to practice portion control.
  3. Spices and Flavorings: Japanese curry often uses spices and flavorings like curry roux blocks, which can contain varying levels of sodium, preservatives, and additives. Opting for homemade curry with fresh ingredients or choosing low-sodium options can make it healthier.
  4. Accompaniments: How you serve Japanese beef curry matters too. If you serve it with a large portion of rice, it can increase the calorie count. Consider pairing it with brown rice or reducing the amount of rice to make it healthier.
  5. Cooking Method: The method of cooking can also influence its healthiness. Baking, grilling, or using less oil for stir-frying the beef and vegetables can make the dish healthier compared to deep frying.
  6. Customization: Japanese curry is versatile, and you can customize it to your preferences. Adding more vegetables, using less meat, or opting for alternative proteins like tofu can improve its nutritional profile.
  7. Serving Frequency: Like any dish, consuming Japanese beef curry in moderation is key to a balanced diet. Eating it occasionally as part of a well-rounded meal plan is healthier than having it frequently.

In summary, Japanese beef curry can be part of a healthy diet if prepared and consumed mindfully. By using lean ingredients, controlling portion sizes, minimizing additives, and making smart choices in preparation, you can enjoy this dish while keeping it relatively healthy. Remember that balance and variety in your diet are essential for overall health.

some tips and tricks for making Japanese curry roux and Japanese beef curry

japanese beef curry

Tips for Making Japanese Curry Roux:

  1. Use Quality Ingredients: Start with good-quality curry roux blocks. You can find various brands in Japanese grocery stores or online. Choose a level of spiciness (mild, medium, hot) that suits your taste.
  2. Add Butter or Oil: When making the roux, add a small amount of butter or oil to a pan before adding the roux blocks. This helps create a smooth and rich texture.
  3. Low Heat and Patience: Melt the roux over low heat, stirring continuously. Be patient; it can take some time for the roux to fully dissolve and thicken. Avoid rushing it with high heat, as it can lead to lumps.
  4. Watch for Burning: Be vigilant and don’t let the roux burn. Stir constantly to prevent sticking to the pan, and remove it from heat if you notice any browning or burning.
  5. Adjust Consistency: If you want a thicker curry sauce, use less water or broth when dissolving the roux. For a thinner consistency, add more liquid gradually until you reach the desired thickness.

Tips for Making Japanese Beef Curry:

  1. Choose the Right Meat: Opt for tender cuts of beef, such as sirloin or chuck roast. Cut it into uniform, bite-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
  2. Sear the Beef: Before simmering the beef in the curry sauce, sear it in a hot pan with a little oil. This adds flavor and helps lock in the juices.
  3. Layer Flavors: Sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger before adding other ingredients. This builds a flavorful base for the curry.
  4. Balancing Sweetness and Savory: Japanese curry often has a slightly sweet undertone. To enhance this, you can add grated apple or honey. To balance the sweetness, use soy sauce or salt sparingly for umami.
  5. Simmer Slowly: After adding the curry roux, simmer the curry over low heat. Let it simmer for a longer time if possible (at least 20-30 minutes) to allow the flavors to meld and develop.
  6. Add Vegetables Thoughtfully: Add vegetables like carrots and potatoes, which take longer to cook, earlier in the process. For quicker-cooking vegetables like peas or bell peppers, add them near the end to maintain their texture.
  7. Taste and Adjust: Taste the curry as it cooks and adjust the seasonings as needed. You can add more soy sauce, salt, or even a touch of sugar to achieve the desired flavor balance.
  8. Rest Before Serving: Like many stews and curries, Japanese beef curry often tastes even better the next day after flavors have had time to meld. Consider making it in advance.
  9. Serve with Accompaniments: Japanese beef curry is traditionally served with steamed rice, but you can also serve it with pickled vegetables (Fukujinzuke) and a sprinkle of Shichimi Togarashi for added flavor.

Remember that making Japanese curry is an art, and you can adjust the recipe to suit your personal preferences for spiciness, sweetness, and the choice of ingredients. Enjoy your homemade Japanese beef curry!

what kind of beef goes in japanese curry

Japanese curry typically uses cuts of beef that are well-suited for slow cooking, as the meat should become tender and flavorful as it simmers in the curry sauce. The specific cuts of beef commonly used in Japanese curry include:

  1. Stewing Beef: This is one of the most common choices for Japanese curry. Stewing beef comes from tougher cuts like chuck or round, and it becomes tender and flavorful when slow-cooked. You can cut it into bite-sized pieces for the curry.
  2. Sirloin: Sirloin is a higher-quality cut of beef and is often used in more premium versions of Japanese curry. It’s tender and adds a nice texture to the dish. Like stewing beef, it should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Beef Cubes: Some recipes call for beef cubes, which can come from various parts of the cow. The key is to ensure they are suitable for slow cooking, as they’ll be simmered in the curry sauce.
  4. Ground Beef: While less common, some people use ground beef in Japanese curry. It’s a convenient option and cooks quickly, but it results in a different texture compared to chunkier cuts.

It’s important to cut the beef into bite-sized pieces so that it cooks evenly and is easy to eat in the curry. The choice of beef cut can also influence the overall texture and flavor of the dish, so you can choose the one that best suits your preferences and budget.

japanese curry vs beef stew

japanese beef curry

Japanese curry and beef stew are both delicious dishes, but they have distinct differences in terms of flavor, preparation, and cultural origins. Here’s a comparison between the two:


  1. Japanese Curry: Japanese curry has a unique flavor profile characterized by a blend of sweet and savory notes. It typically contains ingredients like curry roux blocks, which consist of a mixture of spices and flavorings. The curry sauce is mildly spiced and slightly sweet, often with a hint of fruitiness from ingredients like apples or honey. It has a thick, silky texture and is served over rice.
  2. Beef Stew: Beef stew, on the other hand, has a more Western flavor profile. It’s typically savory and rich, with deep umami flavors. The stew often features ingredients like bay leaves, thyme, and red wine for added complexity. The broth is usually thicker than Japanese curry but not as sweet.


  1. Japanese Curry: Japanese curry commonly includes beef (or other proteins like chicken or pork), onions, carrots, and potatoes. Additional ingredients like garlic, ginger, and sometimes fruits like apples might be used to enhance the flavor. The curry sauce is created using curry roux blocks, water or broth, and occasionally soy sauce.
  2. Beef Stew: Beef stew includes beef chunks or cubes, a variety of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, onions, and celery), and aromatic herbs and spices. It’s simmered in a broth, often made with beef stock or red wine, which contributes to its savory flavor.
japanese beef curry


  1. Japanese Curry: Japanese curry is relatively quick and easy to prepare. It involves sautéing the beef and vegetables, dissolving curry roux blocks in water or broth, and simmering until the sauce thickens. The focus is on achieving a smooth and silky curry sauce.
  2. Beef Stew: Beef stew is a slow-cooked dish that requires more time and patience. The beef is typically seared, and the ingredients are simmered for an extended period to allow the flavors to meld. This slow cooking results in tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat and well-developed flavors.


  1. Japanese Curry: Japanese curry is typically served over steamed rice. It’s a comforting and hearty dish often enjoyed with pickled vegetables (Fukujinzuke) and sometimes topped with a sprinkle of Shichimi Togarashi for added heat.
  2. Beef Stew: Beef stew is often served on its own or with a side of crusty bread or mashed potatoes. It’s a filling and satisfying one-pot meal.

In summary, while both Japanese curry and beef stew are delicious dishes featuring beef, they offer distinct flavor profiles and preparation methods. Japanese curry leans toward a mildly spiced and sweet flavor, while beef stew is known for its savory richness and use of Western herbs and spices. The choice between the two depends on your personal taste preferences and the type of meal you’re in the mood for.

How to Store Japanese Beef Curry

Storing Japanese beef curry properly is essential to maintain its flavor and safety. Here’s how to store it:

1. Allow it to Cool: Before storing, allow the Japanese beef curry to cool to room temperature. Do not leave it out at room temperature for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.

2. Refrigeration:

  • Short-Term Storage: If you plan to consume the curry within a few days, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent moisture loss and avoid odors from other foods.
  • Long-Term Storage: If you want to store Japanese beef curry for an extended period, it’s best to portion it into meal-sized servings and place them in airtight containers or freezer-safe bags. Label each container with the date for easy identification.

3. Freezing:

  • For Longer Storage: If you want to store Japanese beef curry for an extended period, freezing is a good option. Use freezer-safe containers or bags to prevent freezer burn. Squeeze out excess air from freezer bags to minimize the risk of freezer burn.

4. Proper Sealing:

  • Airtight Containers: Whether you’re refrigerating or freezing, ensure that the containers or bags are airtight to prevent moisture loss and freezer burn. This will help maintain the quality of the curry.

5. Labeling: Always label your containers or bags with the date you prepared the curry. This makes it easy to keep track of how long it’s been stored.

6. Storage Time:

  • Refrigeration: Japanese beef curry can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • Freezing: When properly stored in the freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or below, Japanese beef curry can maintain its quality for 2 to 3 months or even longer. However, it’s best to consume it within this timeframe for the best taste and texture.

7. Thawing and Reheating:

  • Thawing: When ready to eat frozen Japanese beef curry, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. This slow thawing process helps maintain the texture and flavor.
  • Reheating: Reheat the curry either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Ensure it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat.

8. Check for Signs of Spoilage:

Before consuming stored Japanese beef curry, check for any signs of spoilage, such as an off odor, unusual color, or mold growth. If you notice any of these signs, discard the curry.

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japanese beef curry

japanese beef curry

Serves: 8 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 420 calories 20g fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


For the Curry Roux:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (adjust to taste for spiciness)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for extra heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar

For the Beef Curry:

  • 1 pound (450g) beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooked rice, for serving


  1. Prepare the Curry Roux:

    • In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
    • Add the flour and stir continuously for about 5-7 minutes, or until it turns a deep golden brown and has a nutty aroma.
    • Reduce the heat to low, add the curry powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper (if using), turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes to toast the spices.
    • Gradually add the beef or vegetable broth, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
    • Add the ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and honey or sugar. Stir until the roux is well combined and thickened. Simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set the curry roux aside.
  2. Prepare the Beef Curry:

    • In a separate large pot or Dutch oven, heat a little oil over medium-high heat.
    • Add the minced garlic and sliced onions. Sauté until the onions become translucent.
    • Add the beef stew meat and cook until it's browned on all sides.
    • Pour in 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the beef is tender.
  3. Finish the Curry:

    • Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot with the beef and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
    • Stir in the prepared curry roux and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the curry thickens and the flavors meld together.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve:

    • Serve the Japanese Beef Curry hot over cooked rice.
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