Japanese curry Doria recipe | The ideal easy & family-friendly dinner

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  March 26, 2021

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I’m sure you’ve tried a potato gratin in a casserole before, so you know it’s one of the best oven-baked comfort foods.

But, have you ever tried a curry and rice gratin before?

Japanese Curry Doria (ドリア) is a Japanese rice gratin doused in a creamy meat sauce, topped with cheese and oven-baked until golden brown.

Japanese curry Doria

It’s one of those dishes you can put together with leftover rice and some basic ingredients. I think it’s one of the best rice casserole dishes you can make when you’re not in the mood for pasta or potatoes.

I’m sharing my minced pork curry Doria recipe, which is perfect for dinner because it has delicious family-friendly ingredients that even kids will love.

Japanese curry Doria

Japanese Minced Pork Curry Doria Recipe

Joost Nusselder
You can use any type of minced (ground) meat for this recipe, including chicken, beef, and pork. I’m using minced pork because it’s easy to find at the store and tastes great paired with curry and rice.
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Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1.1 lbs minced pork
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 0.5 lbs mushrooms sliced
  • ½ carrot cut into small pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups short-grain white rice rice-cooker cup sizes
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 0.33 lbs cheddar cheese or mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp panko

For sauce:

  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 10 oz milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cook the rice in your rice cooker or on the stovetop.
  • Preheat the oven to 395 F.
  • In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil and cook the onion and garlic until they become clear and aromatic.
  • Add the minced pork and carrots and cook for 5 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Add the mushrooms, ketchup, salt, and curry powder, and continue cooking.
  • If the meat hasn’t eliminated enough liquid, add a splash of water to ensure the meat doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Let it simmer away.
  • Grab a medium saucepan and heat the butter until it melts and bubbles. Now add in the flour slowly and mix well. Start pouring the milk and constantly stir until the sauce thickens.
  • Oil your casserole dish and place the rice on the bottom. Then layer on the meat mixture, pour the sauce and then sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle the panko on the top. This will give the gratin that beautiful golden color.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown. If your oven has a broil setting, then use that and broil for 3-4 minutes.

Notes

Tip: If you want to make this gratin creamier and softer, I recommend adding 3 or 4 tbsp of ketchup and a splash of red wine when you cook the pork mince. This gives the rice more liquid it can absorb while baking in the oven. Wine is also the perfect cooking alcohol for pork dishes.
Keyword Curry, Pork
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Read more about Japanese curry recipes: Beef Roux from scratch & 6 more recipes

Japanese curry Doria recipe variations

Curry Doria is very easy to make, and what I love most about it is that you can use leftovers to “build up” this casserole.

If you have pre-cooked rice in the fridge, you can just use that and mix in some veggies, make the curry sauce and use whatever cheese you’ve got.

Seafood

The original curry Doria was made with seafood. The secret to tasty seafood Doria is to add more butter to the rice as it makes the gratis much creamier.

You can use pretty much any type of seafood you prefer, but Japan’s most popular options are shrimp, clams, calamari, scallops, and mussels.

Bechamel (white sauce) is the perfect complement to this rice and seafood combination. The baked cheese makes this gratin irresistible.

Meat

As I mentioned before, any type of minced meat works here.

For a leaner and healthier casserole, I recommend minced turkey, but chicken is a good option too. Beef and pork are great, and if you want, you can combine the two and add 0.5 lbs of beef and 0.5 lbs of pork.

Pasta

Doria is all about using steamed rice as the base of the dish. However, you can substitute it with fusilli pasta.

It’s not the classic Doria anymore, but if you keep the rest of the ingredients the same, you can taste what the flavor is supposed to be like.

Also read: this is what a good curry with udon noodles should taste like

Extra sauce

If you want more Japanese flavor for your rice, you can add tonkatsu sauce instead of ketchup.

This sauce is made of fruits, vegetables, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar and has a thick texture. It has a similar flavor to Worcestershire sauce.

Dark soy sauce is also a good option.

If you like spicy food, you can always add some chili flakes or spicy curry powder.

Vegetables

For this dish, you can use all kinds of vegetables. Celery, leek, squash, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower are all great options.

I used onion, mushrooms, and carrots because those are staples in most households, but you can always get creative and use leftover veggies.

Rice

Short-grain white rice is an excellent choice for this gratin. But, you can also substitute the white rice for brown rice or use quinoa.

Jasmine rice and basmati rice work, too; just be sure to cook them according to package instructions as you don’t want the rice to be undercooked or too mushy.

How to serve Japanese curry Doria

Serving curry Doria is relatively easy because it has the texture of other oven-baked casseroles. Simply cut into four portions and serve on a plate.

Since this rice gratin is full of satisfying ingredients, it’s a complete meal, perfect for lunch or dinner.

Curry Doria is served on its own with no accompanying side dishes, but you can always add a light leafy green salad or some pickled veggies.

What is curry Doria?

Chances are that you’ll find Doria on most yoshoku restaurant menus. The main reason is that it’s a wholesome dish that combines two favorites: rice and curry.

Since it has meat and cheese, it’s one of those satisfying meals that doubles up as the perfect comfort food.

It’s not quite a pasta casserole or a potato gratin, but it combines elements of both dishes, but it’s got a unique taste.

Unlike traditional curries, the Doria dish is more of minced meat, rice, and cheese dish with a light curry flavor rather than a full-on curry sauce.

It’s a classic casserole dish with a bed of cooked rice, covered in a layer of minced meat, sauce, and two types of cheese. Then, the casserole is oven-broiled until crispy and golden.

Traditionally, curry Doria was made with a white bechamel sauce, but these days it’s simpler, and most people add curry powder or stock cubes to the minced meat.

The gratin is mild, with a focus on the flavors of the curry rather than spiciness. Thus, this dish is usually kid-friendly, hence why people enjoy making this for dinner.

Origin of Japanese curry Doria

While Curry Doria is a very popular rice casserole dish in Japan, it was actually invented by Swiss chef Saly Weil, who was working at Hotel New Grand in the city of Yokohama in the 1930s.

Apparently, a hotel guest was feeling ill and wanted some special comfort food with seafood.

Weil, the master chef, made up a new rice gratin recipe with seafood and served it to the ill guest.

The recipe was an instant hit, and since the 30s, Doria has become one of the most beloved Yoshoku (Western-inspired Japanese food).

Conclusion

If you’re after a plate of yummy comfort food, then look no further than this rice gratin.

Since it’s got the added flavor of curry, it’s great fusion food with Japanese umami flavor and classic Western-style comforting ingredients like cheese and minced meat.

With this simple recipe, you can satisfy meat lovers, rice lovers, and curry fans alike.

Here’s another popular east-meets-west fusion food: Sushi Burrito (Best places to buy & recipe to make one yourself!)

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.