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!

japanese curry in a black bowl with rice and pickles

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.

ingredients for japanese curry roux cubes in white bowls

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.
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • 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
  • Sugar

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.

step by step process shots of how to make japanese curry roux cubes

How to make Japanese curry roux

This recipe does take some time but is also super easy and customizable. Here’s a run down:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

curry roux cubes in moulds, a bowl and in a pot

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!

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Japanese Curry Cubes (Vegan)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


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!



Additional flavours


  1. If your spices are not already toasted, add them to a pan and toast over low heat stirring frequently until fragrant.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of oil to a pan with the onions are golden brown (about 15 minutes). Add garlic and ginger and continue to cook until onions are caramelized and very soft (10 minutes). Use the back of a wooden spoon or spatula and mash the onions. 
  3. Add apple sauce, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce (if using) and mix. Then add the curry powder, vegetable broth powder and any additional flavourings, and mix until combined.
  4. Bring heat down to the lowest setting and add the sweet rice flour and mix. It will be quite dry at first and take some time to mix through. If needed, add up to 1 tablespoon of water to help mix in the rice flour. Optional step: If you prefer a smooth curry, transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. 
  5. Transfer the mixture to ice cube trays or a parchment lined container. Freeze to firm them up and they will keep for up to 2 months. 

How to use these curry cubes

  1. One serving is about 40-50 grams (depending on the level of flavour you like and how much liquid was added to mix the ingredients). 
  2. To use in place of commercial curry roux cubes, thaw at room temperature and use about 2 – 2 1/2 times more than recipe calls for. If recipe uses 4 curry roux cubes (about 80g), use about 180g. Be sure to add salt to the recipe as these cubes don’t have any added salt. 


  • NOTE: These curry cubes do not taste exactly like the commercially bought ones since it is butter free and does not contain any msg or additional flavourings. See post above if you are looking for commercial vegan curry roux cubes. 
  • Helpful Equipmentwooden mixer, food processor, ice cube trays, micro grater
  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer). 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: condiments
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, japanese


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 84
  • Sugar: 4.1g
  • Sodium: 57mg
  • Fat: 1.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 17.2g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Protein: 2.1g
  • Cholesterol: 0


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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. This was amazing. It was my first time making curry from scratch and I was super nervous, but it all worked out perfectly. I used a cooked pear and used 1tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp carob to sub for any sweeteners and omitted everything else except for the sweet rice flour and curry powder. I also added in some vegan cream cheese I happened to have and water until it was mixable and then poured it into a glass container with parchment paper in the freezer until it was hard. I then cut it into cubes and used about half of all the cubes and 1 can coconut milk to mix with some zucchini, Japanese okara left over from making tofu, tofu katsu, and some kinako mochi for a satisfying curry. So far, all the recipes I’ve used were awesome and adaptable.

  2. I’m so glad I found this, cause now I can make my own Jap curry at home! I have always had issues with the store bought cubes as it had too much oil. I love that this feels so much better for me. I can also adjust the salt level according to my liking. Gives me so much more freedom.

  3. I love this recipe and it is very flavourful with the additional add-in like Worcestershire sauce and nutritional yeast. I cooked vegan katsu curry last night and it was a hit! I seasoned it with soy sauce, salt and a bit of agave syrup and it was delicious! This curry roux is definitely a fantastic base for any Japanese curry dishes!

  4. I usually use the cubes but I wanted to make it from scratch for a change to make it a bit healthier. Loved it- the flavours were wonderful!

  5. I grew up on Japanese curry. To me, it’s a perfect comfort food. I’ve been making Japanese curry with slight variations and decided to try this recipe. OHMYGOODNESS it’s legit the best curry I’ve made in years. The layers of flavor are soooo satisfying, and major plus that it doesn’t have that weird palm oil mouthfeel when it cools that all the box kinds leave you with. Absolutely will make this again. And again. My 3yo asked for it for breakfast after we’d all had it for lunch and dinner. For days. It’s that good.

    1. Japanese curry is one of my favourites, too– I actually had this yesterday too! I’m so glad you hear you and your family enjoyed it as much as we do, thanks so much for the review!

  6. For my first time trying Japanese curry, I decided I wanted to experience all of the flavors that go into it by making these homemade roux cubes. I’m so glad I did! It worked perfectly. Plus, I have the rest stored in my freezer ready for the next time I want to make a quick curry. Tip: definitely toast the spices! It really fills your kitchen with a cozy smell.