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Japanese Curry Kare Raisu and Its Many Faces

Japanese Curry Kare Raisu and Its Many Faces

When one thinks of curry (Kare), the association is often less with Japan and more with Indian cuisine and its history surrounding the famous trade route from India to Europe. This route opened up at the end of the 15th or beginning of the 16th century, bringing precious spices from the Far East to England, against the backdrop of colonialism. Alternatively, many think of the famous red or green Thai curries, distinguished by varying degrees of spiciness.


Recipe in this blog post:

» Kare Raisu Rezept

Curry spice mix made in India

What makes the exotic favorite dish of many Europeans stand out is its foundation: the curry spice blend. It glows golden in our spice shelves in many different facets. Up to 36 different spices find their purpose in this magic mix, creating its own unique aroma. This corresponds to its respective use and can be rediscovered time and again, depending on preferences. The components of the spice blend come from roots, woods, leaves, and flowers. Originating from South or Southeast Asia, the spice still mostly comes from India today, suggesting its continued connection to Indian culture. This is also because it is modeled after the local Masala, the traditional version. Originally equally diverse, Masala can be spicy, mild, fruity, or even sweet. The most well-known among them is probably Garam Masala, but Tandoori and Chaat Masala are also familiar to connoisseurs. Reflecting its base color, turmeric is the main ingredient.

Internationally, the curry dish varies in terms of its base spices as well as its accompaniments. Also, in the way it is prepared – as a stew, ragout, chutney, baked, or presented classically – it varies, pleasing the palate in different ways. Served with rice and bread, such as Naan or Puri, and sometimes garnished with onions and ginger, curry makes for a complete meal.

The Japanese style of curry

In Germany, curry still represents something exotic, rarely cooked at home but frequently enjoyed in restaurants. In Japan, it is a regular part of everyday life. Kare dishes are a firm element of the culinary culture here. According to statistics, the Japanese eat curry 72.6 times a year, at least once a week. Japanese curry consists of a hearty sauce with a variety of colorful ingredients (such as onions, asparagus, red bell pepper, carrots, garlic, pumpkin, or potatoes). The finished dish also tastes excellent with fruity components like apple. It is usually served with rice (Kare Raisu) or alternatively as curry rice or with Udon noodles (Kare Udon), fish, or meat (e.g., Japanese cutlet/Tonkatsu or here: Kare Katsu). It is also found in fried buns (Kare Pan) as a snack. In Japan, curry is home-cooked food because it is nourishing and versatile.

Tonkatsu Recreate the recipe »

Japanese spice mix - what you need to know

If you've developed a taste for it and want to try cooking it in your own kitchen, there are a few things to consider. In Japanese cuisine, there is a distinction between curry powder (Koreku), curry cubes, or ready-made curry sauces. Flavor, color, and spiciness vary from provider to provider and should be taken into account. In Japanese culture, distinctions are made between Mild, Medium, Hot, and Extra Hot. Occasionally, spiciness is also expressed in numbers. Beginners should not be too bold in their choice. Those who opt for one of the mentioned variants will find a manageable selection in regular supermarkets. More or different options are available in specialty shops and Asian stores. Common instant curry brands include Java, Torokeru, Vermont, or Golden Curry, with the latter being the original and suitable for vegetarians.

For those who want to mix their own curry powder, perhaps even harvest from their own garden, should follow the Japanese example. Coriander (1/2 tsp), cinnamon (1/2 tsp), nutmeg (1/4 tsp), cardamom (1/3 tsp), cloves (1/4 tsp), and allspice (1/4 tsp) are the main components, while star anise, dill, fenugreek, cumin, oregano, rosemary, sage, orange peel, fennel, thyme, and bay leaf add alternating nuances according to personal taste. Turmeric, paprika (1 tbsp each), and saffron are added individually to achieve the desired color result. For spiciness, add pepper (1/2 tsp), ginger (1/2 tsp), or chili (1/4 tsp). It's important that all components are finely ground and roasted over medium heat without vegetable oil. Sugar can be completely omitted due to the fruity-sweet facets.

Japanese side dishes - you're spoilt for choice

If you want to prepare Japanese curry, you embark on an experimental journey. Recipes should be viewed not rigidly but flexibly. Exploring online, one quickly discovers that in the social media sphere, one curry variation chases the next. The rule is: everything is possible, nothing is mandatory.

A challenge with vegetables is the different cooking times of various types. On one hand, this can be balanced by the size of the pieces; on the other hand, by previously clustering varieties into firm and tender vegetables (Caution: mushrooms have a unique characteristic here!)

For rice, playing it safe with Jasmine or Basmati is recommended. The most well-known rice varieties in Asian cuisine captivate with their unique aroma that unfolds during cooking. Both are long-grain rice varieties known for their nutritional value. Jasmine rice is also very sticky in texture and can therefore be excellently eaten with chopsticks. Japanese short-grain rice is also suitable in this regard but is usually used for very specific dishes due to its different taste or the starch that unfolds during cooking, such as sushi or desserts.

Eat properly with chopsticks read in the magazine »

Noodles, on the other hand, are simple. Although there are several varieties in Japan, Ramen, Soba, and Udon are the top three. Udon is used for classic Japanese curries. This type is calorie-friendly due to its base of wheat flour, water, and salt. Moreover, the absence of eggs makes it interesting for vegetarians and vegans. Its mildly distinct flavor allows it to absorb additional taste nuances, making it a good carrier. However, their procurement can be challenging. Not all supermarkets carry Asian products, and if they do, the price is often exaggerated. They are usually more affordable in Asian stores.

Udon noodles Recreate the recipe »

Another popular side dish in vegetarian or vegan cuisine is Tofu, which is also available in many different flavor profiles. For non-vegetarians, there is a colorful array of options to adorn the plate with delicious sides. Whether it's pork, chicken, beef, or various types of seafood, the range is extensive.

Curry vegetables recipe

No. of persons2 personsNo. of persons
Total Timeca. 45 minutesTotal Time
Level of difficultyeasyLevel of difficulty
Dishmain mealDish
Caloriesca. 500kcal per portionCalories
Gemüse Curry in einer Schüssel mit Essstäbchen
List of ingredients
200g rice or udon noodles
1/2 bunch broccoli
1 red bell pepper
1 tomato
1 large onion
1 small eggplant
2 carrots
2 large potatoes
150g oyster mushrooms
100g butter
50g flour
1 tsp curry mix
1 bay leaf
500ml broth
soy sauce
Kochende Miss Oryoki
Step 1

Cook the rice (alternatively udon noodles) until al dente and set aside, covered, after draining the remaining cooking water. (Note: you can also use coconut milk instead of water, which gives the rice a sweet note).

Step 2

To prepare the curry paste, start with the roux. First take the butter and heat it over a medium heat in a small pan. Gradually stir in the flour (note: be patient when adding the flour to prevent lumps forming). When the roux has reached a fine consistency and has darkened slightly, add your curry spice mix and mix well. Then set the curry paste aside in a separate bowl.

Step 3

Cut your vegetable selection into bite-sized pieces and remove the ends or stalks of the different varieties if necessary.

Step 4

Use a large pot, e.g. made from traditional cast iron, and heat 1 tbsp of oil over a medium heat. First add the firm vegetables (here: potatoes and onions) and mix well with the oil. Cover and cook for approx. 20 minutes on a low heat. Stir or shake the pan occasionally to prevent burning. Then add the stock including the bay leaf. Allow the mixture to boil for 3 minutes and then set aside.

Step 5

Heat a frying pan with 1 tbsp oil over a medium heat. Fry the eggplant until golden brown. Place the finished pieces separately and repeat the process with the rest of the vegetables, adding a good dash of soy sauce (note: leave out the oyster mushrooms!) Fry everything until al dente and season with pepper at the end. For the last 3 minutes, you can add the oyster mushrooms and a small knob of butter. Then add the mixture to the eggplants.

Step 6

Bring the pan from step 3 to the boil again and then remove the bay leaf. Then add the remaining vegetables (note: you can set aside some colorful morsels here to add as a topping last).

Step 7

Gradually add the curry paste so that it dissolves well. Fruity nuances in the form of grated apple, pear or similar can also be added at this point. Season with salt and pepper, chili if necessary, and serve with rice or udon noodles after approx. 5 minutes cooking time, garnish with colorful bites and serve with joy (note: the side dish can be briefly reheated beforehand if desired).

If you'd like to add meat or fish to this recipe, sauté it with 1 tbsp oil over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side in a pan. Remove it from the heat and then add it back to the dish in step 6. We wish you a good appetite! (O shokuji o o tanoshimi kudasai)

Video instructions from OIGEN and ORYOKI

In this video tutorial, ORYOKI shows you how to prepare vegetables quickly and easily using cast iron pans from OIGEN and other manufacturers.

Rice bowls view in the store »
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