I love Japanese curry, and this love affair started from my college days when cooking was a new thing for me. I chose to prepare Japanese curry because it’s fast, easy enough for a beginner cook, I can use a whole lot of vegetables and meat, and best of all, I make one big pot of curry that can last me for days.
Like everyone, I started with store-bought instant curry roux. Being a poor college student, a box of Japanese curry roux is not exactly cheap, especially since I went through so many boxes in a month, I finally decided to create my own Japanese curry roux to save money.
So, here is my recipe for a homemade Japanese curry roux from scratch. ♥
How to make homemade Japanese curry roux
To make curry roux from scratch, you will need the following ingredients, which is enough for cooking one batch of Japanese curry (500 gram of meat):
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter (Indonesian: mentega tawar)
- 4 tablespoon all-purpose flour (Indonesian: tepung terigu)
- 1 tablespoon curry powder (Indonesian: bubuk kari), any brand of curry powder is fine
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (Indonesian: bubuk cabe), or more if you like spicier curry
Here is how to prepare your homemade curry roux:
- Melt butter in a sauce pan on low heat.
- Add flour into the pan, and cook until the mixture turns into a brown shade, stirring all the time. About 20 minutes.
- Add curry powder, garam masala, and chili powder into the pan. Stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then remove from heat. The curry roux is ready. ♥
If you make a lot of Japanese curry at home, you may want to make multiple batches at once and store them.
I usually make 4 batches in one go. Once the curry roux is cool, I place each portion on a parchment paper and wrap it, then store them in a freezer safe ziplock bag.
I simply take out one portion at a time when I need to prepare Japanese curry. If you store them in the freezer, they should be good for at least 2 months.
How to make homemade garam masala
If you cannot find garam masala in store, you can follow my simple recipe for homemade garam masala. Most of the spices are already in powder form, so if you lack a good spice grinder, this should work.
It is best to dry toast all the spices in a frying pan until fragrant before grinding/storing.
This recipe should yield roughly ½ cup worth of garam masala:
- 3 tablespoon ground coriander seeds (Indonesian: bubuk ketumbar)
- 3 tablespoon ground cumin seeds (Indonesian: bubuk jinten)
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper (Indonesian: bubuk lada)
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (Indonesian: bubuk kapulaga)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Indonesian: bubuk kayu manis)
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (Indonesian: bubuk pala)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (Indonesian: bubuk cabe)
- 3 whole star anise (Indonesian: bunga lawang/pekak), grind into powder (about 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise)
- 2 teaspoon cloves (Indonesian: cengkeh), grind into powder (about 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)
Place all the spices in a frying pan, and dry toast until fragrant. If you are using whole spices, grind into powder with a spice grinder. I usually use a spice attachment that comes with my blender for this.
Once the spice is cool, transfer to a jar. The garam masala should keep well for up to 4 months if stored properly (i.e. wherever you usually store your spices). ♥
How to make homemade Japanese curry powder
Like I said, you can use any brand of curry powder for making this homemade Japanese curry roux, but S&B curry powder is probably the one most widely used inside Japan.
I have tried tinkering with the curry powder mix over the years, and I think this particular mix is quite close to S&B version.
If you happen to love the particular taste of S&B curry powder and want to create your homemade version, you can try using the following spice mix, which will net you 100 gram worth of copycat S&B curry powder:
- 40 gram ground turmeric
- 25 gram ground coriander seeds
- 15 gram ground cumin seeds
- 5 gram ground cardamom
- 5 gram ground pepper
- 3 gram chili powder
- 3 gram ground cloves
- 1 gram ground fennel seeds
- 1 gram ground cinnamon
- 1 gram ground nutmeg
- 1 gram dried yuzu peel (or dried lemon/orange peel)
Simply buy all the spices in powder form and make your own mix. Place all spices in a clean sterilized glass jar, and just shake to combine. You can then measure out 1 tablespoon to prepare homemade Japanese curry roux.
How to prepare Japanese curry from homemade roux
Once you have your curry roux ready, we can proceed with making Japanese chicken curry. Actually, you can use beef, pork, or even seafood if you prefer.
We usually serve this with steamed white rice, or over a bowl of boiled udon noodles. Occasionally, we prepare a batch of pasta and top it with Japanese curry.
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