Easy, homemade Japanese curry powder that's perfect for Japanese curry, fried rice, noodles, soups, stews and more!
Happy Monday, friends! This week is going to be all about Japanese curry. We're kickin' it off with a Japanese curry powder recipe because a) I know it can be difficult to find it in stores and b) to make our own homemade curry and curry roux.
What is Japanese Curry Powder
Japanese curry powder is a spice blend made up of mild spices and herbs. While primarily used to make curry, it can also be used in soups, stews, noodles and anything you want to add a mild, subtly sweet curry flare to.
Japanese curry powder vs. Indian curry powder
The main difference between Japanese curry powder and Indian curry powder is the level of spiciness. When curry powder was first imported into Japan, they altered it to their taste, making it sweeter and less spicy. In fact, if you ever purchase 'hot' curry roux, you'll find its actually still quite mild.
Whats in Japanese curry powder
Depending on the brand, different curry powders contain different ingredients with different ratios. I based my recipe off of the most popular brand: S&B.
- ground black pepper
- ground cinnamon
- garlic powder
- bay leaf
To make it better:
- star anise
What spice do I add to Japanese curry roux to make it spicier?
Japanese curry is meant to be mild. Even the commercially bought ones that are labeled hot are not very spicy. Two spices that can bump up the heat without changing the flavour are cayenne and black pepper. A little cayenne pepper goes a long way so be sure to add just a pinch at a time.
Why toast spices?
Toasting spices intensifies their flavours by breaking down their essential oils and then releasing their aromatics in a different form. It also adds layers of warming, toasty notes and a complexity of flavours.
To toast spices, add them to a pan over low heat stirring every few seconds to ensure they don't burn. Continue until they start to release a strong fragrant smell. Remove from the pan immediently once the aromatics intensifies and be careful not to burn it.
The best way to keep curry powder is in an air tight container in a cool dry place away from heat or sunlight. It can last for months, but it will lose its strong aromatic flavours over time. Since it's easy to make, I suggest using it within 2 months.
What can I use Japanese curry powder for?
- Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin Curry
- Japanese Curry Fried Rice
- Homemade Japanese Curry 'Roux' Cubes (Vegan + No Butter) - coming soon!
- Authentic Japanese Curry (From Scratch) - coming soon!
If you recreate this Japanese Curry Powder 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!
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Japanese Curry Powder Recipe
- Total Time: 3 minutes
- Yield: 7 tbsp 1x
Easy, homemade Japanese curry spice that's perfect for Japanese curry, roux, fried rice, noodles, soups, stews and more!
- 2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 3 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp ground fenugreek
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp ground star anise
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground bay leaf
- ½ tsp ground all spice
- ½ tsp ground thyme
- ½ tsp ground sage
- ½ tsp cayenne
- Add all the spices to a cast iron skillet or pan over low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Once fragrant, remove from the stove and out of the pan immediently.
- Let the spices cool and then store in a spice jar.
- Helpful Equipment: spice jars
- Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer).
- Prep Time: 3 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Category: spices
- Method: mixing
- Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, japanese
- Serving Size: 1 tbsp
- Calories: 20
- Sugar: 0.2
- Sodium: 3.3
- Fat: 0.9
- Saturated Fat: 0.1
- Unsaturated Fat: 0.8
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 3.5
- Protein: 0.9
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: japanese curry powder, japanese curry
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
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Taylor George says
I must have been tired when I made this, because once I was done I realized I didn’t triple the recipe and I was so sad I had only made such a small amount! Will be making another very soon seeing as I’m already almost out 😅
Thanks so much for this blend idea! I had just purchased my first can of the S&B spice blend before reading this... but I plan on comparing that vs. your blend soon for fun. I am just now starting to try making Japanese curry at home, it’s so warming and delish, and a perfect way to serve tons of vegetables to picky eaters. 😝
Lisa Kitahara says
Let me know what you think!! 🙂
Zach B says
Turned out great! I'm still pretty new to cooking so I was wondering if you had any suggestions for turning this into a curry roux. Thanks!
To make curry roux (or any kind of roux) just melt 3 table spoon of butter in a skillet and mix very well with 3 table spoons of wheat flour, always using low heat, until the mix becomes light brown color (or you feel a scent of nuts coming from the roux). After the roux is done, add the curry powder and mix well. That's it.
this is wonderful thank you! I was wondering if I could use coconut oil to replace butter and cornflour instead of wheat flour? We love Vegetable Katsu curries served with sticky rice in our house and this recipe will just enable us to eat more!
S Ingram says
Tamera, you can use coconut oil but I would not recommend the corn starch. While cornstarch can be used as a thickener, it’s not the same as using a roux. You can substitute the wheat flour with potato, oat, or rice flours or use gluten-free wheat flour if desired. No self-rising flours, of course.
Thanks. How much curry powder to add to the above butter-flour mixture?
S Ingram says
Himanshu, when making curry roux, if I were to use 3 Tablespoons fat (butter, etc) and 4 Tablespoons flour, I would add about 1-1/2 Tablespoons curry powder and 1 Tablespoon garam masala. It will seem a bit dry at first, but as the mixture sits, it will come together nicely. This ratio of spices is very similar in taste to many of the commercially available curry roux cubes and to curries I have eaten in Japan, although everyone’s recipe and taste varies so play around with what works for you.
Typically, when I make any other roux for a sauce or gravy, I use a ratio of 2 Tablespoons fat (butter, rendered fat from chicken or meat, etc) and 2 Tablespoons flour to thicken approximately 1 cup of liquid (milk, stock, pan drippings, etc). The amount of liquid can vary depending on if other ingredients are going into it that would change the viscosity (cheese, starchy items like potatoes, etc).
Oops. I apologize for perhaps over explaining.
Margaret Terry says
This blog was? how do I say it?
Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me.
this recipe is so fragrant, I love it so much. It fixes my curry craving. now I can make Japanese curry from scratch. thank you okonomi kitchen for sharing this recipe.
Novita Perry says
The end of my searching of Japanese curry, thank you, my family love it.I think is kinda the similar like Indian masala spices.
The only difference was I put Worcestershire sauce to make the UMPH sensation 😅😄😋 I wish I could send you picture.
Tucker Buster says
I also added thr Worcestershire sauce and it definitely aďedthe UMPH that i been looking for Thanks so much. I will definitely stop bugging you for recipes.recipes.. I know from this one i will eat well.
This is great!! Will be so good to make my own Japanese curry without all the nasty ingredients like palm oil and MSG which are in the commercial brands. Yum!!!!
While palm oil is simply unethical, and depending on where you stand on the saturated fats argument, either harmless or the worst mixture of fatty acids of all naturally occuring fats. MSG has never in any legitimate scientific research proven to be harmful to humans or even have the slightest negative effects on us. Unfortunately it will probably take decades before the general public stops stigmatising it for no reason. Using MSG in about a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio to salt can greatly improve the flavor of any recipe without the negative effects associated with high salt consumption.
Incase you are interested, the only bit of research into MSG was done on mice and used MSG dosages/amounts that would equate to the human consumption of a kilo/2.5 pounds in one sitting, eat 2.5 pounds of salt, butter, black pepper, anything you have, and then tell me you don't also experience negative effects. Extremely biased, unfortunate, misleading research, used to stigmatise asian cousine for decades.
Thomas I'm so interested to read your views on MSG, as I'm one of the many who've avoided it for years due to the bad press. My belief has always been that it depletes goodness from vegetables, but I'm happy to have an open mind to new thoughts, and definitely will reconsider it's use. Already I'm now appreciating that as a flavour enhancer it may help satiate the appetite (think thin!) as well as maintain colour, so yes, think you've taught me something here - thanks! Louise. Thanks to for the above recipe.... DEFINITELY going to create this mix!
Some people have an allergy/intolerance to it and can get heart palpitations etc., but this is the same as any food which people have allergies or intolerances to. You are right that MSG has never been found to be bad for you.
However, the other bad press is that MSG was (probably still is) used to hide the use of meat which is going bad. When meat starts going off it starts losing its flavour.
The whole MSG is bad for you rumor was started by someone who was racist. I grew up thinking it was bad too until my son asked me about getting msg and I told him no, and why, and he told me to do some research. When your 12 year old says "mom, you need to do some research because you're wrong" you immediately google lol but he was right! I'm definitely going to try adding some good old MSG to this (to quote a YouTuber called Uncle Roger, "msg stands for 'make shit good'" lol)
I used normal anise because it had no star anise.
The recipe is very aromatic and leaves an awesome flavor, love it
Patti Taniguchi says
hi just made your japanese curry powder and my husband love it he is japanese. i was looking for a easy way to not have to depend on the stores. went and got the spices and made it, one batch just made beef curry soup all loved it he said its the real deal. thank you for the recipe. i look forward to more.
I gladly had every component on hand... Im an absolute fan of these kinds of japanese curries. Always had some cubes at home until i stumbled upon THIS recipe. Its unbelievable how accurate ... even better this spice blend tastes! i used it fot the typical curries and sometimes in soups for a little bit more oompf. Love this blend and reprepped it alreasy 3 times. Love it!
For your recipe, you just say 'cinnamon' but there are 2 main types of this spice. Do you use the Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) or Cassia cinnamon? These have different taste so I want to make sure I use the correct cinnamon.
James Craft says
The spices are not balanced. The star anise was way overpowered. So much work and it turned out not to be good l.
I had a feeling the anise would be way too much (All I had was the whole star anise pods-- not sure if recipe meant just the anise seeds from the pods or the whole pod grinded). I used 1tsp instead of 3 and still thought it overpowered a bit. Otherwise, it turned out wonderfully! I think if I would've used just the seeds from the pods, it would've turned out quite beautifully.
Note, I used the 3x amounts
Amazing- thank you!
Cooper Erwin says
This recipe was great! I used it to make a batch of Japanese curry roux to season and thicken up my curry. Half is currently frozen in my freezer and I can't wait to use it again. I know Japanese curry is supposed to be a "quick and easy" dish but please do yourself a favor and don't make your curry powder where you cut corners. Make a batch of this and have it on hand, so much better than store bought!