It’s always a perfect time to enjoy one of the most authentic Japanese food recipes, a colorful vegetable and pork curry. Based on the full bounty of whatever veggies are currently in season, this curry is packed with both color and flavor and will impress your dining guests. First learn a bit about Japanese curries and then use the recipe and video to whip one up on your own at home.
What is Japanese Curry?
Curry is usually not the first thing people think of when they think of Japanese food. Sushi, teriyaki, tempura and even soup usually come to the mind first. But the truth is that curry is one of the most popular foods in Japan. In fact, it was introduced by the British via India during the Meiji era (19th century) and has been completely naturalized since.
There are three basic ways of eating curry in Japanese food culture. Curry udon is curry over noodles, curry bread is a pastry stuffed with curry and curry rice is simply curry over rice, by far the most popular way. Japanese curries are usually created around basics like onions, carrots and potatoes, as well as beef, chicken or pork and are made from a base called roux. Learn more about Japanese Curries and how to make them right here.
Store Bought Curry Roux vs Homemade
Because Japanese curry was developed from Anglo curry and not directly from mainland Asia, it uses a French paste call roux. Roux is created by pan frying flour with a mix of herbs to make a reduced agent that thickens anything you add it too. Japanese roux adds curry spice to this mix and creates the base for the Japanese curry.
Many Japanese people in Japan use a store bought instant curry roux mix. This comes in both powder and block styles. It only needs to be hydrated and heated up and to be served. This is why curry is one of the most popular foods in Japan: it is quick and easy to make. Plus it is delicious.
You can also make your own curry, and it’s a lot easier than you may think. In fact, Japanese roux is a lot of fun and you only need three ingredients: butter, curry powder and flour. The trick is in cooking them at the right temperature and the right amount of time to create the perfect roux. Check out our easy to follow directions on how to do it just right.
This colorful vegetable and pork Japanese curry gives you a healthy Japanese recipe based on this roux. By setting some vegetables aside and grilling instead of mixing everything in the curry, you can create beautiful and colorful presentation.
Ground pork can be substituted with other kinds of meats. You can even make this vegetarian by adding more vegetables such as eggplant and tomato instead of meat. Don’t use oyster sauce if going veggie and make sure if you use a packaged roux that you check the ingredients.
Also consider cooking with zakkokumai instead of white rice. Rice mixed with healthy seeds and whole grains, it adds more nutrients perfect when you’re tired and need more energy. A perfect fuel for an active summer lifestyle.
Colorful Vegetable and Pork Japanese Curry
- ½ lb Ground Pork
- ¼ Kabocha Squash
- 1 Zucchini
- ½ Red Pepper
- 8 Okra
- ½ Onion
- 1 Yellow Potato
- ½ box Curry Roux
- 2 ½ cup Water
- 1 Bay Leaf
- ½ Tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Cooked Rice, for serving
- Slice kabocha squash and zucchinis into ½ inch widths. Cut the red pepper into strips. Cut half of the pumpkins into smaller pieces.
- Quickly boil the okra in salt water, and cool them in ice water.
- Slice the onions, cut the potato into small pieces, and cut 4 of the okra into half.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot, cook the meat and the vegetables. (Leave some of each vegetables for the toppings)
- Add water, and add the okra cut in halves. Cook until ingredients are tender.
- Stop the heat, and melt in the curry roux. Turn on the heat again to cook for a little longer, and add the oyster sauce.
- Place the vegetables kept for topping except for Okra on a frying pan or on a grill. Cook until tender and charred (You can grill okra as well though okra can be eaten raw).
- Serve the curry with grilled vegetables and rice, enjoy!