Enjoy Japanese Curry at Home with These 5 Curry Roux Recommended by Japanese Locals
Curry is a comfort food in Japan that people of all ages love, from children to adults. The market is filled not just by their so-called “kare rice” (curry and rice combination), but also by a wide array of curry-based dishes such as udon (thick wheat noodles) with curry sauce and curry buns. With that, below are five recommended curry roux mixes that will let you enjoy the delicious flavors of Japanese curry in the comfort of your own home!
India may be known as the birthplace of curry, but it has to be noted that curry was not brought to Japan directly from India. Curry was passed on the United Kingdom, which colonized India in the 18th century, and then it was introduced to Japan by the British around 1859. While India’s curry is characterized by its smooth texture, Japan’s curry is known for the thickness of its sauce. The sauce was apparently made thick so that it would go well with rice, Japan’s staple food, and eventually, the curry evolved into becoming the Japanese kind of curry that is famous today.
In Japan’s market, you will find a wide variety of curry roux variants (made by cooking flour, oil, curry powder, spices, salt, soup and other ingredients until all the moisture is gone and then letting the resulting mixture harden) that have won the hearts of the Japanese people as a home-cooked meal they can easily make.
Where Can You Buy Curry Roux? How Should You Choose? What Are Some Pointers in Making Curry Using Roux?
[Where to Buy] Curry roux can be purchased at any supermarket. Convenience stores also sell them, but the sizes and types they carry may be limited.
[How to Choose] Curry roux is basically divided into sweet, medium hot, and spicy. If you are trying curry roux for the first time, then it would be best to start with the medium hot variant. Depending on manufacturers, there are some brands that sell “extra hot” curry roux mixes that are spicier than the typical spicy variant. Now, if you are particular about tastiness, you should go with relatively expensive curry roux mixes that are priced at 300 JPY or above. Note, though, that the variants priced below 300 JPY are also delicious and boasts superb value for your money.
[How to Make Curry] When making curry using curry roux, the fundamental procedure would be to cut the ingredients into bite-sized pieces, stew them until they’re cooked, and then add the curry roux into the mix at the end. There’s this one thing that you must always remember! Make sure to turn off the heat before you add the curry roux into the pot. If you put the roux into the mix that has already boiled, the roux would not easily dissolve and your curry won’t be that delicious in the end.
1. Java Curry
Java Curry debuted in the market in 1968. Since then, it has been released in sweet, medium hot, spicy and many other flavors year after year. By the turn of 2000s, its manufacturer began to sell a spicy blend of this curry roux that will let you enjoy more of the curry’s spiciness. Java Curry is a longtime bestseller in Japan that treats people to the delicious flavors coming from the roasted onions and garlic. You can probably say that Java Curry is Japan’s classic curry roux.
Price: Java Curry (185 g, medium hot): 318 JPY (excl. tax)
2. Kokumaro Curry
Kokumaro Curry is a curry roux that fuses two kinds of roux: rich curry roux that is based on the deep flavors of onion, and mild curry roux that uses fresh cream. It is a specialty roux that was developed by incorporating the views and ideas of housewives that cook in their kitchens every day. You have to try the delicious taste produced by those two types of roux.
Price: Kokumaro Curry (140g, medium hot): 190 JPY (excl. tax)
3. Curry ZEPPIN
Curry ZEPPIN is a curry roux that caters more to adults who prefer a robust taste in their food. This curry roux that uses 40 spices has a thick paste that incorporates duxelle sauce (a kind of stewed sauce that is made by chopping mushrooms, onions, shallots and other ingredients, and then sautéing them in butter until they reach a paste-like consistency). Enjoy the rich and deep body taste of spices with this curry roux. It is also recommended as a souvenir for curry fans.
Reference price: Curry ZEPPIN (175g, medium hot): Approx. 300 JPY
4. Vermont Curry
Vermont Curry, as its name suggests, is a curry that is associated with the state of Vermont in northeastern United States. In Vermont, they believe that apples and honey are good for your health. By incorporating such healthy ingredients, Vermont Curry has created a sweet taste that has made it popular among children.
Price: Vermont Curry (230g, medium hot): 318 JPY (excl. tax)
5. The Curry
The Curry boasts being the richest roux with the best aroma out of all the curry roux mixes sold by House Foods. The clincher in the delicious taste of this curry roux is the accompanying bouillon. Made from soup stock from meats and potherbs, the flavorful bouillon creates a tasty accent to the dish. Have a serving of The Curry if you feel like eating curry of the slightly rich variant.
Price: The Curry (140g, medium hot): 334 JPY (excl. tax)
What do you think? Go ahead, grab a curry roux of your choice and have a plate of Japan’s delicious curry at home!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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