Kare raisu: A Guide to Japanese Curry

We may earn a commission on qualified purchases made through one of our links. Learn more

Kare raisu is a Japanese dish made with curry and rice.

It’s a popular dish in Japan, and there are many variations of it. It’s often eaten with “donburi” which is a Japanese rice bowl. It’s also a popular way to eat leftovers.

Let’s look at everything that makes kareraisu truly a Japanese curry.

What is Kareraisu

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Spicing Up Your Life: A Guide to Japanese Curry

The Spice of Life

When it comes to Japanese curry, the spice is the thing. But what kind of spice? Well, if you want to get technical, it’s the kind that comes in a tin of S&B curry powder. This popular Japanese brand is the key to unlocking the secrets of Japanese curry.

Spice Up Your Life

If you’re looking to make your own Japanese curry, you’ll need to get your hands on a tin of S&B curry powder. It’ll give you the breakdown of spices in order of quantity, so you can get the perfect blend. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Turmeric: The main ingredient, making up the largest portion of the mix.
  • Coriander seed: A light, floral, and sweet spice.
  • Fenugreek: The spice used to flavor artificial pancake syrup.
  • Cumin: For more funk.
  • Black pepper: For warm heat.
  • Chile pepper: For more robust spice.
  • Grated fresh ginger: For zip and zest.
  • Dried orange peel: For a hint of citrus.
  • Star anise: For a hint of licorice.
  • Cinnamon: For a hint of sweetness.

Mix It Up

Once you’ve got your spices, it’s time to get mixing! Toast the spices in a dry skillet before grinding them to a powder in a spice grinder. Then, customize the blend to your tastes by changing the proportions of the spices. That’s the beauty of making your own Japanese curry – you can make it just the way you like it!

The Finishing Touches

The Broth

Ah, the broth. The lifeblood of any good stew. And this one is no exception! We’ve got a delicious combo of chicken stock and dashi, giving it that unmistakable Japanese flavor. Plus, you can use whatever meat you want – chicken, beef, pork – it’s all good!

The Add-Ins

Time to get creative! Here’s what we’ve got:

  • Onion and carrot for some veggie goodness
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs for that melt-in-your-mouth texture
  • Potatoes for a hearty bite
  • Grated or minced apple for a sweet kick

And that’s it! Now you’ve got all the ingredients for a delicious Japanese curry.

Making Your Own Curry Rice

The Basics

If you’re looking to make a delicious meal that’s sure to impress, why not try your hand at making your own curry rice? All you need is a few simple ingredients and a bit of know-how, and you’ll be able to whip up a dish that’s sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

The Steps

Making curry rice is surprisingly easy, and here’s how you do it:

  • Start by stirring in the roux, then simmering until the broth has thickened.
  • Add some green peas for a bit of crunch.
  • Serve it up with a generous mound of warm short-grain rice.
  • Voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious dish of curry rice.

The Finishing Touches

Once you’ve got your curry rice all ready to go, there are a few things you can do to take it to the next level. For starters, why not top it off with a sprinkle of fresh herbs or a dollop of sour cream? You can also add some crunchy nuts or a drizzle of honey for a bit of sweetness. Whatever you choose, you can be sure that your curry rice will be a hit!

The Interesting Origin of Japanese Curry

A British Introduction

It may come as a surprise, but Japanese curry wasn’t brought over from India, Thailand, or Malaysia. Nope, it was the British who introduced it in the 1870s with their C&B brand curry powder. But the Japanese weren’t too keen on it at first since it was a soupy version meant to be eaten with bread.

The Navy and Army Make it Popular

It wasn’t until the early twentieth century when the Japanese navy and army adopted the curry that it really took off. Sailors and soldiers returning home brought this new version of curry with them, and it quickly became a hit.

Curry is Here to Stay

Nowadays, Japanese curry is a staple in the country. It’s served in homes, restaurants, and even convenience stores. So if you’re ever in Japan, make sure to give it a try – you won’t regret it!

What is Japanese Curry?

Japanese curry, or kare, is a classic dish that has been around for centuries. It’s a delicious and comforting meal that’s sure to please.

The Ingredients

Japanese curry is made with some tasty ingredients:

  • Onions that make you cry
  • Carrots that make you smile
  • Potatoes that make you feel full
  • Apples that add a sweet surprise

The Flavor

Japanese curry is sweet and mild in flavor, and thickened with a spiced roux. It’s like a stew, but better! It’s usually made with beef, but you can find versions with other proteins too.

The Perfect Side

What’s the perfect side for Japanese curry? Rice, of course! It’s the classic starch that goes with this dish, and it’s sure to make your meal complete.

Everything You Need to Know About Cooking with Carrots, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Ginger, Curry Powder, Garam Masala, and Honey


Carrots are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for carrots:

  • Look for young, firm, bright orange carrots with healthy peels.
  • Avoid carrots that seem dry, have small roots or cracks, and feel lifeless.
  • To prepare, chop off the green parts, wash them under cold water, and gently scrub them with a brush to remove dirt.
  • Organic carrots can be eaten unpeeled. If you’re short on time, peeling is more efficient than scrubbing.


Potatoes are a staple in many dishes, so it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for them.

  • Use any potatoes you like. Red potatoes are a great option and work well for this recipe.
  • Look for potatoes with tight skin and firm flesh, without wrinkles, cuts, or bruises.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious addition to any dish. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for them:

  • Look for sweet potatoes with tight skin and firm flesh, without wrinkles, cuts, or bruises.
  • Japanese and Korean sweet potatoes tend to be sweeter than other varieties.
  • Do not substitute sweet potatoes with yam.


Ginger is a great addition to many dishes and adds a unique flavor. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for it:

  • Use fresh ginger for this recipe. It’s less fibrous and more tender and flavorful than ground ginger.
  • Peel off the outer skin with a paring knife and use a ginger grater.

Curry Powder

Curry powder is a great way to add flavor to dishes. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for it:

  • Use a mild curry powder for this recipe.
  • Curry powder is often found at Asian grocery stores.

Garam Masala

Garam masala is a blend of spices originating from India. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for it:

  • My favorite blend is from Spicewalla with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, black peppercorn, cumin seed, and green cardamom.
  • Different versions exist, so feel free to use your favorite one.


Honey is a great sweetener for many dishes. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for it:

  • I used honey as a sweetener for this recipe because the apples I had were beyond their use.
  • Feel free to substitute with a sweet apple like Fuji or your favorite variety.

Substituting Ingredients for a Delicious Meal

Protein Options

If you’re looking for a protein-packed meal, you can’t go wrong with the classic trio of pork, beef, or lamb. But if you’re looking for something a bit more veggie-friendly, why not try adding some extra veggies instead of the chicken?

Veggies Galore

When it comes to veggies, the possibilities are endless! Try out some cauliflower, parsnip, kabocha squash, or red kuri squash for a delicious and nutritious meal.

Spice It Up

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try making your own spice blend? Check out Dan Gritzer’s recipe on Serious Eats for a flavor-packed meal that’ll have your taste buds singing!

How to Cut Carrots in a Fun and Interesting Way

What is Rangiri?

Rangiri is a cutting technique that will make your carrots look like a work of art! It’s a way to make uneven vegetables like carrots, lotus, and burdock look uniform and fancy.

How to Cut Rangiri Style

Here’s how to make your carrots look like a masterpiece:

  • Cut the carrot at an angle
  • Roll it one-quarter turn
  • Cut again
  • Repeat!

Why Cut Rangiri Style?

Cutting your carrots this way has some serious benefits:

  • Your carrots will cook faster
  • They’ll absorb more flavor
  • You’ll look like a pro in the kitchen!

How to Make the Perfect Roux


  • A generous helping of butter
  • A heaping tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of curry powder
  • A sprinkle of garam masala
  • A cup of broth (your choice!)


  • Start by melting the butter in a saucepan over low heat until it’s lightly browned.
  • Whisk in the flour until it’s all blended together.
  • Add in the spices and let them do their thing until they release their tantalizing aromas.
  • Pour in a half cup of liquid from the simmering broth and whisk until it’s thick and creamy.
  • Finally, add the roux mixture into the simmering broth and let it simmer until it’s reached the desired consistency.

And there you have it! The perfect roux that’ll make all your dishes taste like they were made by a professional chef. Bon appetit!

Cooking Up a Delicious Curry

Marinating the Chicken

Let’s get this party started! Grab your chicken and give it a good massage with some salt and pepper. Now it’s time to get your veggies ready.

Sautéing the Veggies

Time to heat up the pan! Brown the chicken on both sides and remove it from the pan. Then, sauté the onion until it’s nice and translucent. Add some ginger and garlic and cook it up until it smells delicious. Put the chicken back in the pan and add potatoes, sweet potatoes, salt, and water.

Simmering the Curry

Bring everything to a boil over high heat and then turn it down to medium-low to simmer. After 20 minutes, make a roux and add it to the simmering broth. Don’t forget to add the carrots too! They should be cut smaller than the potatoes, so add them in later. Keep simmering for another 20 minutes until all the veggies are nice and tender.

Enjoying the Curry

And there you have it! A delicious curry that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds. So grab a spoon and dig in!

A Deliciously Easy Japanese Chicken Curry Recipe

What is Japanese Chicken Curry?

Japanese chicken curry, or kare raisu, is a savory dish made with tender chicken, sweet root vegetables, and a thick sauce. It’s a great weeknight dinner option that’s super easy to make!

How to Make Japanese Chicken Curry

Making this delicious dish is a breeze! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 3 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 6-oz white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • ½ tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 medium carrots (about 10 oz), cut rangiri style
  • 4 red potatoes (about 10 oz), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 small Japanese sweet potatoes (about 10 oz), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (can substitute with potato starch)
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala

Start by marinating the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper for an hour in the refrigerator. Then, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan.

Decrease the heat to medium and add the onion. Let it cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken back to the pan. Add the potatoes and sweet potatoes, remaining salt, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the liquid reaches a boil, turn it down to medium-low heat and let everything simmer for 30 minutes.

At the twenty minute mark, make the roux. To make the roux, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the flour. Stir frequently for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture has darkened slightly. Stir through the curry powder and garam masala. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the spices release their fragrance. Ladle half a cup of cooking liquid into the roux and whisk until well combined. Transfer the roux into the simmering liquid.

Add the carrots and let everything simmer for 20-25 minutes until all the vegetables are tender and sauce thickened. Whisk in honey and season with additional salt to taste.

Storing Japanese Chicken Curry

This Japanese chicken curry can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator. It might thicken in the fridge, so just add a bit of water to thin it out to the desired consistency. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. Enjoy!


Kareraisu Vs Kare

Kareraisu and kare are two Japanese dishes that are often confused for one another. While they may look similar, they are actually quite different. Kareraisu is a Japanese-style curry dish that is made with a roux-based sauce and is often served over rice. The roux-based sauce is made with a combination of butter, flour, and curry powder. This dish is usually served with vegetables, meat, and sometimes even fruit. On the other hand, kare is a Japanese-style stew that is made with a soy sauce-based broth. This dish is usually made with vegetables, meat, and tofu. The broth is made with a combination of soy sauce, mirin, and dashi.

Kareraisu and kare are two dishes that are often mistaken for one another. However, they are quite different. Kareraisu is a curry-based dish that is made with a roux-based sauce and served over rice. It is usually served with vegetables, meat, and sometimes even fruit. On the other hand, kare is a stew-like dish that is made with a soy sauce-based broth. This dish is usually made with vegetables, meat, and tofu. The broth is made with a combination of soy sauce, mirin, and dashi. So, if you’re looking for a delicious Japanese dish, make sure you know the difference between kareraisu and kare!


Japanese curry is a must-try dish for anyone visiting Japan. It’s a bit different from the usual curries you might be used to, but it’s packed with flavor and sure to warm you up on a cold day. It’s also super easy to make at home, and you can use this recipe to get started.

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

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.