Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Curry Rice


When I was little, we didn't eat Japanese Curry Rice. The Fujimotos introduced me to it. My mom said she didn't eat it much as a kid, so she didn't cook it. Only after she took a cooking class when I was a teenager, did she make curry.

The recipe she brought home from cooking class was India curry, bright yellow in color and with a thin gravy. Mom said she doesn't like the 'thick, pasty curry' that is the Japanese style, but she likes the milder curry, like Thai curry. Maybe that's why I make mine a combination of the two.

If you follow the directions on any of the packages below, you'll get a very aromatic, pungent, thick gravy curry. It would be more the style you'd get at The Curry House.

Mine is a little less curry-assaulting to the palate, more mild, with a thinner gravy. And lots more vegetables.


Vermont Curry, Mild or Hot

(Vermont is my favorite, although S&B Golden Curry is good, too!)

Chicken, Pork, or any other Meat

 2 Onions

4 Carrots

1/4 Head Cabbage

2 Potatoes

1/2 Cup Peas

Cornstarch for Thickening

Baby Bok Choy as a Side Dish

The first thing you want to do is cut up the meat. Today I'm making it with chicken. It's good with pork, too.

Cut it up into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Peel the carrots, potatoes & onions.

(My dad grew the carrots and the cabbage. Thanks, Dad, for keeping us well fed!)

I like to chop the veggies into soup, rather than stew, size.

The cabbage adds a nice, fuller-bodied, flavor.

Start with a hot pan and add the chicken.
I generally don't add extra oil.

(I know, it goes against what you see on the Food Network, but you don't need that extra fat.)

I put the chicken in and wait a few minutes for the chicken to sear, release its juices, and come away from the bottom of the pan. But since I'm using mostly the breast, there's not a lot of fat in the meat, so I added a little bit of water, enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

After a minute or so, you can stir the meat.

Add water to cover.

When the water boils, the fat will gather in the center.

Skim the scum & fat with a wire sieve.

Or a spoon works just fine too.

(If you're vegetarian, you'll want to start here.)

Add the vegetables and add more water to cover if necessary.

In case you're confused, I'm making two pots.

One with chicken & mild curry. (I'm giving some to my mother-in-law today so she doesn't have to cook. She doesn't like to cook.)

One vegetarian & with hot curry.

The Vermont Hot Curry is my favorite.

The S&B Golden Curry is good too. You can find that one at Vons.

 This is what's in the package.

When you turn it over, it's sectioned into 6. Bend the package and break into 6 pieces.

Easy open here at the corner.

Put all 6 pieces into the pot.

The blocks of curry roux will melt. Let it sit there, simmering, for a few minutes, then stir until curry is dissolved.

When the curry roux is dissolved into the broth, let it boil for about 10 minutes, then taste the broth.

Put a little into a small dish and sip from there. That's the way they do it in Japan. (I know because that's the way my mother-in-law tastes the aji (seasoning).

If it's too strong for your taste, add some water.

If you like it with a stronger curry taste, you can add another section or two of the curry roux squares. (That is--if you bought extra!)

Since I add more volume than the recipe on the box calls for, the curry needs some thickening to give it a gravy consistency.

Put about a heaping teaspoonful of cornstarch into a small bowl.

(I'm adding more since I've got two pots going...)

Add a little bit of water and make a slurry.

It might feel like glue at first, but keep stirring.

Check the mixture. Skim off the bubbly stuff. That's fat.

The curry roux is made with fat. When it comes to the surface, you want to skim that off.

(Does it might seem like I'm paranoid about fat? Honest, I'm not!)

When the mixture is boiling, add the cornstarch & water in a drizzle, stirring constantly. You will immediately feel the liquid thicken.

Add a little at a time so you don't over-thicken it.

Add the frozen peas and let it boil gently for a few minutes so the cornstarch cooks.

Then, it's done!

Serve over rice.


On the side, today I'm serving the curry with some steamed baby bok choy.

Let it soak in a pan of water for a few minutes to get the sand out.

Drain. Then I like to cut them in half.

Steam, with a little bit of water at the bottom of the pan, and the lid on, for a few minutes until they're tender but still bright green.

The baby bok choy is like spinach. It shrinks a lot!

Here's my vegetarian curry with baby bok choy on the side.


Thanks to The Pioneer Woman for the timely photography tips and inspiration!


  1. I like your idea to add cabbage-- also how to wash and cut baby bok choy! I see I've been wasting a lot of it! :( But no more! :)

  2. I think my dad isn't crazy about curry. If you guys didn't have it as kids, is that the reason why he doesn't like it? Your curry is also different from Indian curry.

  3. Dear Foodji:
    Another hit on the blog!!...The ultimate comfort food from MY childhood...Japanese curry rice! :)
    Signed -
    Satisfied in Santa Ana

  4. i made this tonight with a few alternate vegetables. But the main reason I like your version is the sodium content is significantly less than if I followed the directions on the box. Now I, too, can enjoy homemade curry!

  5. Thank you for posting the great pictures, instructions, and quantity on your blog. It has been so awesome to read it when you post. I finally had a chance to make the curry rice and it was DELICIOUS!!!! Thanks again for posting and I'll be on here looking for my next recipe to follow.