Cook This Japanese Vegan Curry Recipe From Scratch in 1 Hour
Traditional Japanese curry can take a long time to cook from scratch. When I visited Japan, I ate at a restaurant that boasted of cooking their sauce for over 24 hours! But I want to create a quick and easy curry. In my vegan Japanese curry recipe, I have used mostly canned ingredients, which speeds up the cooking time and makes cleaning up so much easier—always a plus in my book!
What Is Japanese Curry?
While sushi and ramen are what many of us in the West associate with Japanese cuisine, Japanese curry is considered a national dish in its homeland. You can learn more about Japanese curry in this great article from the Japan Times.
Katsu curry is by far the most popular version in the UK, with some arguing that katsu curry has over-taken chicken tikka masala as a British national dish. But in Japan, curry with rice (or karē raisu) is a very popular and comforting convenience food found in restaurants and home alike.
How I Came up With This Recipe
My Japanese curry recipe is not an authentic recipe. Instead, this version is based on a pared-down British version of Japanese curry and I have used my Japanese-style curry sauce as the base.
While I admit that this version is not as rich as the 24-hour curry, it does all that a good Japanese curry is supposed to do. It is comforting, rich, hearty and delicious.
Why This Recipe Is Great
- This version can be made from start to finish in under an hour, including making the curry sauce from scratch.
- It is incredibly comforting.
- It is low in fat, full of hidden vegetables, but the flavour is rich enough to give you the satisfaction of a takeaway.
- It is made from store cupboard ingredients, making it a great go-to recipe for a weeknight meal.
- All the ingredients used to make this Japanese-style curry are low-cost, making this a cheap but delicious meal.
- This curry is full of flavour without being spicy (unless you add extra chilli, of course), which makes it a great option for those who don't like a lot of spice in their food.
- To speed up the curry sauce, use onion powder instead of onion. This will slightly lower the nutritional value but also cut the cooking time by around five minutes.
- To make a perfectly smooth curry sauce, pass it through a sieve to remove lumps.
- Add the water from your can of carrots and sweetcorn into your stock. It will enrich the flavour of the sauce while maximising the nutritional value of the canned ingredients.
- To get that signature Japanese curry look, cut your vegetables into large chunks.
- Use the same pan to make your sauce and your curry to get the most flavour from your ingredients, and save on washing up.
For the Japanese-style curry sauce:
- 1 (300 gram / 10 oz) can sliced carrots
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or fresh equivalent
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon cornflour / cornstarch
- 400 milliletres vegetable stock
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- A generous pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes, (optional, for a spicy kick)
For the curry:
- 1 (567 gram / 20 oz) can peeled new potatoes
- 1 (200 gram / 7oz) can sweetcorn
- 1 (300 gram / 10 oz) can sliced carrots
- 1 onion
- 2 spring onion / scallion chopped, as a topping
- Start with your Japanese-style curry sauce. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat.
- Meanwhile, finely chop your onion.
- Add onion to oil along with a generous pinch of salt and cook for around 5 minutes until the onion is soft.
- Add carrots, spices, garlic powder and sugar and cook for around 5 minutes.
- Add the cornflour and stir into the existing mixture.
- Add your hot vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes, or until carrots are very soft.
- Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, or to taste.
- Using a stick blender, blend the sauce until smooth.
- Set aside your curry sauce.
- Next, start making your Japanese-style curry. In a pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over a medium heat.
- Meanwhile, chop your larger potatoes so that all potatoes are a similar size. Chop your onion into eight chunks.
- Add your onion and potatoes to the pan.
- Fry for around 5 minutes. Gently stir if they start to stick.
- Add your curry sauce to the pan, along with the sweetcorn and carrots.
- Loosen your curry sauce with a little water if necessary.
- Simmer for 20 minutes. By this time, all your vegetables should be soft.
- Serve with rice and top with sliced spring onion/scallions.
There you have it! Delicious store-cupboard Japanese-style curry made from scratch, including the sauce, in under an hour. I would recommend serving this with Japanese rice if you can get it, but if you don't have it on hand, fluffy basmati rice also works nicely.
© 2020 Kathryn Worthington