All About Curry

Curry is one of Japan's most popular dishes. Japanese curry, made from rice, curry sauce, and a wide variety of vegetables and meat, is commonly served in three main forms: curry rice, karē udon (thick noodles) and karē-pan (bread). The basic vegetables used in the dish are onions, carrots and potatoes. Various curry dishes can contain chicken, pork, beef, and seafood.

The curry-making process begins by chopping the vegetables and meat, followed by sautéing them in oil and butter. The meat will brown and the onions will soften. As soon as this occurs, water is added and everything is brought to a boil. The mixture is then simmered over low heat for around twenty minutes, longer if more tender meat is desired. Lastly, the curry mix is added. The mix is stirred for about 5 minutes in order for it to be completely dissolved. After the mix is dissolved and everything is stirred, the curry is then ready to be served and enjoyed!

Japanese curry can be served in anything from a soup bowl to a simple flat plate. The curry is normally poured over rice that is already in the center of the dish. Curry on rice can be considered a national dish, similar to ramen noodles. Because curry goes so well with rice, a staple food in Japan, it is a favorite dish in nearly every Japanese home and school kitchen.

History of Japanese Curry

Curry was first introduced to diners during a period of time known as the Meiji era, which took place from 1869 to 1913. Cooking with curry originated in India, which at the time was under the administration of the British. The British obtained the recipes and took them back to England.

From England, curry spread throughout the world, gaining acceptance as a new way to serve meat flavored with a curried sauce and enjoyed with rice on the side. Curry powder, used to make curry sauce, was first developed in England. This powder contains a mixture of various spices and makes cooking curry-flavored meals in the home extremely simple.

When curried dishes made their way to Japan around the end of the 1800s, they were introduced and presented as a British cuisine. The Japanese developed their own unique style of curry served with rice, bread, or noodles. This versatile meal was considered a luxury in those days. The new, exciting taste soon spread from homes to restaurants. The meal was referred to by one of two names: raisu karee or karee raisu.

The recipe for curry served over rice originated around 1910 and has nearly remained the same since. The curried sauce, thickened with flour and containing more vegetables than meat, is served over rice. It is often accompanied with a relish (usually a chopped daikon radish pickled in soy sauce).

Before World War II, curry on rice turned out to be a convenient meal for the military, since it can be cooked in large quantities and offers a nutritional balance. This dish only became a household meal after World War II due to an important development: a mixture of curry spices and flour used for "instant" cooking. Curry became popular and available in restaurants and supermarkets in the late nineteen sixties.

In 1963, House Foods Corporation (Japan) first introduced their "Vermont Curry," featuring a mild flavor, suitable for everyone, even children. In 1971, they introduced "Kukure Curry," convenient retort pouch curry sauce, known as "Curry Sauce with Vegetables" in the United States. "Java Curry," the next release by House Foods, was introduced to the public in 1975 and features a spicy, hot flavor, more suitable for adult tastes. "Kokumaro Curry," roux-type curry with a rich, smooth flavor, was introduced in 1996.

Curry & Spices

The main reason why the taste of curry is so light, yet full bodied is because of the wide variety of spices used in this unique dish. The word "spice" originates from the Latin word "species," which means "a certain kind of quality." Spices, with their aroma, color, pungency, and taste, are used to bring out the flavor of other ingredients.

The spices used in curry sauce and their general effects are:

Cardamom: improves appetite, relieves flatulence, and induces sweating

Turmeric: increases liver function, heals fatigue, and acts as an anticancer agent

Cumin: improve the appetite and digestion

Black pepper: stimulates appetite, digestion, and circulation

Coriander: helps purify the blood, induce sweating, and aid digestion

Red pepper: helps to improve heart and circulation, as well as induces sweating

Cinnamon: acts as a stimulant and detoxifier

Nutmeg: has analgesic effects and acts as a sleep aid

Fenugreek: brings down fever and helps with acid indigestion and diarrhea

Bay leaf: contributes to good digestion

Curry is widely considered a precious and nutritious health food because of the above spices. These spices are used in a traditional system of Indian medicine called Ayurveda, or Life Sciences, which incorporates them into a daily routine to assure a long and healthy life. People from India commonly use more than 20 different spices in their everyday cooking as they follow a holistic principle of Ayurvedic medicine: "A healthy diet will promote wellness and balance for the body, mind, and spirit."

More Information About Our Curry

Purchasing Sauce Mix and Spices

House Foods has made it easier than ever for families at home to cook delicious curry by using House Foods' Curry Sauce Mixes. House Foods has created original curries rich in flavor by blending together over 30 spices, carefully selected from about 80 spices around the world. You can choose a mix based on what fits your taste from five levels of hotness.

Along with the mixes, House Foods offers an exciting variety of spices that are essential for home-cooked meals made with fresh ingredients. House Foods brings you the best quality spices selected from more than 60 countries around the world. We provide first-grade spices that can add flavor to a wide range of dishes.

Space Curry

Along with providing people here on Earth with curry, House Foods has taken things a step further by developing "Space Curry." Space Curry was developed in Japan for the astronauts living on the International Space Station. This special curry contains a higher calcium content and spicier flavor than the Earth-bound varieties. Space Curry has been approved by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).