Homemade Japanese Curry Sauce

10 Reviews / 4.9 Average
When we went to Japan, one of my favorite meals was Japanese Curry. Here's my homemade recipe for this yummy dish with more veggies and less deep frying to keep it real food approved.
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Japanese Curry on 100 Days of Real Food

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I’d never had (or even heard of) Japanese curry before this trip and oh. my. goodness, was it YUMMY! That’s what led to the creation of this homemade Japanese curry sauce recipe! Curry in Japan isn’t quite like you’d expect, it’s served almost like a stew and features sticky rice as opposed to Jasmine rice. Try this Coconut Curry Chicken too!

Homemade Japanese Curry Recipe

One of the things I loved about Japan was the wide variety of traditional foods we got to try. I thought we’d be sick of sushi by the end of the week, but that could not have been further from the truth. This Japanese curry recipe brings together the best of Japanese comfort food and savory ingredients all on one plate!

Here’s what it looked like…

So I set out to make a homemade version of this yummy dish with more veggies and less deep frying. I tried it all different ways and even consulted our cooking teacher from when we were there (via email—thanks Keiko!).

How to Make a Japanese Curry Sauce at Home

Here’s the final version I came up with… very similar to what we remember! I did use chicken stock when testing, but I think subbing beef stock would make the sauce even darker in color like the original.

To carry the potatoes and carrots you’re going to want a thick and flavorful sauce. Be sure to keep the temperature at a gentle simmer after adding in the stock, and whisk until you’ve reached the desired texture. This part is essential, otherwise you’re going to end up with a runny curry sauce!

Why not use Corn Starch to Thicken The Sauce?

Since we’re going for a totally homemade Japanese curry recipe from scratch, staying away from the corn starch helps differentiate this recipe from the boxed curry taste. By making a simple roux using whole wheat flour and butter, you’re going to get a much more ‘homemade’ taste. That being said, you can absolutely tailor this recipe to your taste using cornstarch or arrowroot powder to thicken the sauce if desired!

I love how this comes together quickly enough to be a one-dish weeknight dinner. Enjoy. :)

Homemade Japanese Curry sauce recipe served with rice on a white plate

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18 thoughts on “Homemade Japanese Curry Sauce”

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    I made this with some leftover lamb stew. I didn’t see where to add the curry powder, so I added it (and some coriander seeds, star anise) into the butter and sauteed that to release oils, before adding the flour. I’ve lived in Japan half my life, and this is spot-on! Delicious!!

    1. Under how to cook the sauce you’ll mix the spices in after you whisk the butter and flour together. Is this what you are referring to? And at the end, you assemble by spooning the sauce over the rice and meat. – Nicole

  2. The most well-known ones stewed alongside curry are onions, carrots, and potatoes. You could even include some cut apples. Root vegetables are habitually stewed with the curry, and you could consider utilizing variations like sweet potato or squash, kabu, daikon, and so on.

  3. What are your best suggestions for a single person doing this. I freeze portions, etc but cooking so much for one can get old.

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner this week using chicken thighs and added some raw broccoli to the carrots, onions, and potatoes. It is a delicious dinner and also reheats beautifully as well.

  5. 5 stars
    This looks delicious. Japanese curries get forgotten too often, they are such a unique flavour! Interesting that they often use the crispy chicken as well, I don’t know any other cuisines that do that with curries.

  6. I use arrowroot powder to thicken sauces and it’s gluten free. Just mix with water and form a paste and stir in at the end rather than at the beginning. Sauce should be simmering when you add the mixture and it will thicken very quickly.

    1. 5 stars
      I was taught by a Japanese friend to make a curry just like this (full of veggies) when I lived in Japan 30 years ago. We used potato starch or cornstarch when making the curry sauce.