Curry rice is one of the famous and delicious food items in Japan. We can see the dish in the menu of every Japanese family restaurant. It is a very simple dish that can be prepared at home as well. The colorful Japanese curry poured over the steamed white rice is really beautiful too. Curry rice is a common meal of most Japanese families as it is equally loved by kids and elders. Since it is a combination of lots of vegetables and meat combined with various spices in its appropriate proportion, it is not only tasty but also healthy.
When we go to the supermarkets of Japan, we can see a huge collection of curry items in their rack. Every packet is unique and colourful. The curry blocks which are seen in the shop have colourful and attractive packets, different names, ingredients, different texture (as seen in the picture on the packet), and of course slightly different tastes. Selecting a packet from the rack is really a confusing job.
The way to prepare the curry rice in Japan is quite simple and takes only a short time compared to the preparation for the curry of India, Thai etc. The ingredients needed for the curry and the method of preparation are written on the back side of the packet with pictures so that makes the work easier even for beginners.
The ingredients of typical Japanese curry are onions, potatos, beef, carrots and mushrooms. Everything will be listed with its amount needed on the curry packet. After cutting the veggies and sauteeing for a while with a little oil, cook the ingredients in boiling water. Then put salt and the curry blocks as per the instruction. Most commonly, the packet contains 8 blocks in it. Based on the amount of veggies, we can decide the number of blocks to be added. With a little effort, the curry can be prepared easily. Poured over the boiled rice, the delicious Japanese curry rice can be enjoyed easily.
Such curry blocks are available with various names, each of them being different variations of the curry. Even though the reddish coloured curry is most popular, there are also curry flavors available in whitish colours. The blocks of curry powders have the spices in its correct proportions inside. Since the exact amount of ingredients are mentioned on the packet itself, it is easy to prepare the curry in its most delicious form.
The instant curry packets available in the supermarkets are more convenient than the other type previously mentioned. It is actually a pressure cooked and vacuum sealed version of curry. We have to just immerse the curry packet in hot water for some minutes to get the curry ready for serving. Or we may use the microwave oven to properly heat the curry. For working people, this curry version seems to be very useful and convenient. Also, the fact that such curry packets can be preserved for a long time is also really amazing.
The old generation of Japan used curry powder, which is a mix of many spices for preparing the curry. The curry is said to be born in India and later it became popular in many other parts of the world like Britain, Thai etc. The history of Japanese curry explains that it was introduced by some British (who made their colony in India during the time) merchants who came here for trading during the early days when Japan started improving its foreign relations. Later, going through many experiments and research, Japanese created their own version of curry and introduced a special curry mixture in powdered form and hence the curry blocks, including various spice powders in certain proportions.
Even though curry was regarded as a royal food item during the ancient days, it is now common in every Japanese house and the taste is very particular. The taste and texture of the curry here is introduced from the Western version of curry including sauces for thickening the curry. With various companies introducing their own new tastes and products, the world of curry in Japan is blooming every day giving new experiences to the taste buds of Japanese as well as to visitors.
While in Japan, everyone must try to cook Japanese curry at least once, as it’s really simple and you can taste your own homemade curry rice. We couldn’t ignore the section of curry items when going to the supermarkets once we started loving the taste of the Japanese curry. It’s really interesting to see the different varieties, to prepare as well as to eat it.