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The Delicious World of Japanese Curry Rice

August 22, 2016

A favorite of people of all ages, Japanese curry rice is undeniably one of the most popular types of food in the country. It's easy to prepare at home for a comforting home cooked meal, and it can also be eaten in Japan at larger chains or local, independent shops. With an Indian origin and a British influence, Japanese curry rice has its own distinct and delicious flavor.

The Special Features of Japanese Curry Rice

A staple meal in most Japanese households, curry rice is simple and quick to prepare using a solid curry base that comes in cubes, called curry roux. It's a go-to dish for busy people and families, as it's packed with nutrients, very filling and affordable. While it shares many similarities with Indian curry, the Japanese version is a lot thicker and is made with ingredients such as meat, vegetables and sometimes even seafood. No matter which ingredients are added to customize it, potatoes, carrots and onions are the three essential ones. The chunky stew is simmered for a long time, and is always served alongside rice. The dish is often served with condiments, such as fukujinzuke (a mix of pickled vegetables such as radish, eggplant, lotus root and cucumbers) and rakkyo (pickled shallots).

Japanese curry rice features various degrees of spiciness. Instant curry roux, which was invented in Japan, comes in all forms and flavors. The solid cubes (or sometimes powder) are composed of vegetable flavorings, spice and wheat flour. At any Japanese supermarket, the curry roux section can be overwhelming, as well as exciting: some variations tend to be sweeter, with hints of apple and honey, while other versions are spicy enough to make you reach for a glass of water. Thanks to curry roux, there is no need to mix spices together from scratch, and it is easy to recreate a restaurant favorite at home.

Everyone can also customize their own dish: curry restaurant chains offer it topped with tonkatsu (pork cutlets), kara-age (fried chicken) or cream croquettes, and most families add their own secret ingredient to enhance the flavor, such as fresh cream, soy sauce or ketchup, when they cook it at home. Most children absolutely love curry rice, and grown-ups are also big fans of the tasty dish.

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