From Scratch Japanese Curry

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We love Japanese curry in our house! That slightly sweet, ketchup-y flavour, with the well balanced spices, oh my!
Once I realised that this was a veggie loaded meal that my kids would ACTUALLY eat, I knew that I had to get onto making it at home stat! When I started searching the internet for a reference recipe, pretty much all of them used store bought Japanese curry paste or powders, all of which had some not so favourable ingredients. It probably took about 6 tries to get that balance of flavour right, but I'm happy to say this recipe is very true to the flavour of restaurant curry.

You can add tofu, tempe, legumes like chickpeas or beef/chicken as your choice of protein. Like with most curries, this tastes best after it's been sitting in the fridge for a day or so. It freezes well but leave out the potato if you're going to freeze.

Happy eating! - Renee x

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Total time: 65 minutes

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  • 4 cups of veggies, chopped into 1 cm cubes (peas, carrots, waxy potato are crucial but everything else is up to you)

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger & turmeric

  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped into 1 cm cubes (Pink lady or Fuji are best)

  • 6 cups water (tap or filtered, not hot)

  • 2 tbs stock paste 

  • 2 tbs ketchup (we love Spiral ketchup)

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

  • 1/2-1 tsp salt + pepper to taste

  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar (ACV)

  • 1 tbs tamari or coconut aminos

  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce (we love Melrose Worcestershire sauce)

  • 2 tbs toasted sesame oil


  • 2 tbs tomato paste

  • 3 tbs tapioca flour/starch or corn flour

  • 1 cup of liquid from the curry


  1. In a large pot, add the sesame oil and heat over a medium flame. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric and sauté for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. 

  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients (not the roux ingredients though) and bring to the boil.

  3. Drop the heat to medium, cover the pot 3/4 with a lid and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Keep the heat on the curry. In a small pot, whisk together the tomato paste and flour over a low heat. Add the cup of liquid from the curry and whisk over the heat, increasing it slightly until it starts to thicken. Once fairly thick (you still want it to pour off the spoon) add it to the curry and stir through.

  5. Cook the curry for a further 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

  6. In this last twenty minutes, cook/grill up your choice of protein. Chicken thigh or breast, tofu or tempe grilled in a little sesame oil goes well with this curry. Alternatively you could through in 1 1/2 cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas.

  7. Serve with cooked rice/quinoa/buckwheat.

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