Learn how to make Homemade Japanese Curry Cubes with this easy recipe. Made with healthier ingredients, this homemade curry ‘roux’ is also vegan, gluten free and oil free!
Welcome to day two of curry week! Today we’re making homemade curry ‘roux’ cubes.
What is Japanese Curry Roux?
The term roux refers to flour and fat cook down together and used to thicken sauces or stews. Adding curry to the mix makes curry roux.
The boxed curry roux cubes come in a box with about 8-10 breakable cubes. S&B Golden Curry, Torokeru Curry, Java Curry and Vermont Curry are some of the most common brands you’ll find.
NOTE: This recipe is technically not a ‘roux’ because we are omitting the butter but more so mimicking a roux consistency. I’ll be referring to these are curry roux cubes for a lack of a better word.
Is Japanese curry roux vegan?
While 99% of the time I’d say homemade stuff is the best and most authentic, it’s actually more traditional and common to use store bought curry roux. You can find many brands of these instant curry cubes at your local Asian store BUT not all of them are vegan. Two I can recommend that are vegan are the Torokeru Curry and S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix.
Homemade Japanese Curry Roux
The commercially bought ones are popular because of their convenience but also contain a lot of MSG, artificial flavours and additives which I know many people are not too keen about. So for those of you that want a healthier version that is also vegan, gluten free and doesn’t use any butter this recipe is for you! Plus, homemade Japanese curry ‘roux’ cubes means you can really customize the flavour and spice level to your preference.
Note: Due to the lack of MSG and other flavours, this recipe is not a exact duplicate of store bought curry cubes but something similar. To make delicious curry, it’s all in the preparation. The cubes alone will make a decent curry but what will make is delicious is in the kakushi aji (hidden taste) and preparation.
Ingredients ( + Substitutions)
- Onions: The star ingredient that makes the roux deliciously caramelized and sweet.
- Apple sauce: replaces the ‘wetness’ of butter and adds sweetness.
- Ketchup: Replaces most of the ketchup powder typically added.
- Japanese Curry Powder: Here is my homemade blend that I use.
- Vegetable Broth Powder: I use better than boullion or Japanese vegetarian consomme.
- Sweet Rice Flour: What thickens the curry. You could also use corn starch but it tends to not hold up its thickening ability after a period of time. All purpose flour can also be used if not gluten free.
You can also add some other additional flavourings such as:
- Japanese Worcestershire sauce
- Instant coffee granules
- Cocoa powder
- Nutritional yeast
I did not add salt because I prefer to season my food while cooking so I can taste and adjust then but you can add some if you’d like.
How to make Japanese curry roux
This recipe does take some time but is also super easy and customizable. Here’s a run down:
- Caramelize the onions: Add finely diced onions to a pan and cook until golden brown. Then add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook until the onions are ultra soft and caramelized.
- Add flavourings: Mix in the apple sauce, ketchup and Japanese Worcestershire sauce. Then mix in curry powder, veggie broth powder and any other flavourings you want to use. By now, the onions should start looking pasty.
- Thicken it up: Add the sweet rice flour and stir it through. It will be dry and clumpy at first but use a wooden mixing utensil and keep mixing (almost like you’re kneading it in). If needed, add up to 1 table spoon of water. If you add anything more, it will ‘dilute’ the actual cubes (which just means you’ll need to use more of it when actually making the curry).
- Set: Transfer to ice cube trays or any kind of mould (I re-use the store bought packages as a mould). Then place into the freezer to let it firm up.
TIP: If you prefer a smoother curry, you can add the mixture to a food processor. Sometimes I’ll do this, sometimes I’ll keep it as is for a little texture (or mainly because I’m lazy haha). It just depends what texture you like.
Storing Curry Roux
These cubes will keep well in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How to use it to make curry rice
These mimic the store bought roux in which the cubes are melted and stirred in at the end. Because these cubes had a higher water ratio, you’ll need x1.5-2 more in weight than the recipe calls for.
This recipe yields about six 45 gram servings. If a recipe calls for 1 curry cube, use 40-50 grams of this homemade version. Start with a lesser amount and add a bit at a time until desired texture and flavour. As well, be sure to add a generous amount of salt as it really does help bring out the flavours.
If making a large batch of curry, you can double the recipe and use a larger pan.
With these handy homemade curry cubes, you’ll be able to make any sort of Japanese curry dish anytime! Here are some delicious recipes you can make with homemade curry roux:
- Basic Vegan Japanese Curry (coming soon)
- Japanese Curry for One (coming soon)
- Cury Udon (coming soon)
- Vegan Katsu Curry (coming soon)
- Yaki Curry (coming soon)
If you recreate this Japanese Curry Cubes recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
Hungry for more? Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest for more deliciousness!
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
Okonomi Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you purchase something through my amazon affiliate links, I earn a small commission that helps me produce consistent content at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my plant based kitchen!