Japanese curry over mashed potatoes is one of those combinations that should be on everyone’s menu! Similar to shepherd’s pie but sweeter and more rich, it’s one comforting meal that both kids and adults will enjoy.
Japanese curry is a dish I love making on Sundays because it requires little preparation and can be served in about 30 minutes. And while I usually serve it with rice, I discovered a few weeks ago that it could be just as delicious when it’s served over mashed potatoes.
The recipe is very simple – make Japanese curry, make mashed potatoes, and combine. You won’t believe how good it is!
What is Japanese Curry?
Japanese curry rice, also called kare raisu (curry rice), is a popular Japanese dish that is commonly found in family restaurants, cafés, and traditional Japanese restaurants serving comfort food. It’s also sold in conbini, Japanese for convenience stores, and is a staple in most Japanese homes since it’s simple and easy to make.
Japanese curry is usually served with white short grain rice (gohan), topped with a deep fried pork cutlet (katsu curry), stuffed in deep fried buns (kare pan), or added as a topping to ramen or udon (kare udon). The flavor is typically mild, close to a demi-glace, since most Japanese people cannot handle spicy food well.
Ingredients for Mashed Potatoes
- Potatoes: I find that 1 ¼ pound of potatoes yield the proper ratio of mashed potato to Japanese curry. But you can use a little less, around 1 pound, if you want the Japanese curry to be at the forefront of your meal.
- Butter: I’m using vegan butter but feel free to use regular butter, or even margarine.
- Milk: I used unsweetened soy milk but feel free to use any other type of non-dairy milk, or regular milk.
- Salt and pepper: Using a proper amount of salt is important in order to balance out the natural sweetness of the potatoes. Using ground black peppers adds a floral and woody note.
What Potatoes Are the Best For Mashed Potatoes?
My personal favorite is the Yukon Gold potato for its natural sweetness and smooth texture. But since they can be hard to find depending on where you are located, using a good old russet potato will do just fine.
I even use baby potatoes sometimes to make mashed potatoes and leave the skin on. It makes the dish a bit more interesting, texturally.
How to Make Mashed Potatoes
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe.
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Chop them up and place them in a medium size pot.
- Fill the pot with enough water so there’s about 2 inches over the potatoes.
- Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to medium, so the water is still boiling, but not spitting.
- Boil the potatoes for about 7 minutes, or until you can pierce them easily with a fork or a knife.
- Turn the heat off, drain the potatoes, and place them back in the pot.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a fork until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and mix well to combine.
Ingredients for Japanese Curry
- Japanese curry roux: Japanese curry sauce mix is quite simply a solid block of curry roux made of curry powder, flour, garlic, and several other ingredients. They are very easy to find these days in Japanese, Korean, and other Asian supermarkets, sometimes in regular grocery stores, and online such as on Amazon. There are many different brands you can choose from and each one varies in taste (more on this later). I’m using Vermont Curry for this recipe since it’s what I had in my pantry.
- Water: Since the curry roux is so concentrated in flavor, stick to only using water. Using stock could result in a curry that’s too salty.
- Onion: Adding chopped onions infuses the dish with ‘amami’, or sweetness. It’s the classic way to make Japanese curry and, therefore, is considered an essential step to the recipe.
- Mixed Veggies: You can technically use any combination of vegetables (e.g., eggplant, green peas, and mushrooms) you like for this curry but I find that carrots, zucchini, and corn, add just the right amount of sweetness.
- Spinach: Adding a handful of spinach to my curries is something I’ve been doing for years as an easy way to increase my intake of vegetables.
What is the Best Japanese Curry Roux?
That’s a tough question to answer because it really comes down to what your personal preferences are. So instead of telling you what my favorite mix is, I thought it would be more helpful to give you a basic idea of what some of the more popular brands taste like.
- SPICIEST – House Java Curry: While most Japanese curry roux are never truly spicy (even the boxes that say “HOT” are surprisingly mild), Java Curry does deliver on that aspect. The curry roux is packed with fragrant spices and is less sweet than other brands.
- SIMPLEST – S&B Golden Curry: Golden Curry may be the most iconic brand because it’s been around the longest – but it doesn’t mean it’s the best (sorry Golden Curry…). The flavors are quite mild compared to other curry sauce mix, probably because it contains the shortest list of ingredients. It’s a good one to get if you are new to Japanese curry, but one to skip if you consider yourself a curry expert.
- SWEETEST – House Vermont Curry: Vermont Curry roux is on the thicker and sweeter side because it contains a combination of cheese, apple, and honey. It’s an easy curry to enjoy, one that’s also kid friendly.
- MOST COMPLEX – S&B Kokumaru: Kokumaru is very rich and more complex in flavor than the other brands listed above. But it lacks the heat I’m looking for when I’m craving a good curry. While I do find it quite delicious, it does feel like it’s missing a little something.
How to Make Japanese Curry
- Start by chopping all the vegetables.
- Cook the onions and carrots in a little oil until the onions become translucent.
- Add the remaining vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes, until they are tender but yielding a slight crunch.
- Add the water and Japanese curry roux and keep stirring until the blocks dissolves and the sauce thickens.
- Turn the heat off and add the spinach. Stir well and serve over mashed potatoes.
It should be noted that the steps for a regular Japanese curry recipe will vary slightly from the ones listed above. The vegetables would boil in water alone for about 20 minutes, followed by the addition of the curry roux, which would cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
The reason why I’m adding both the water and curry sauce mix together for this recipe is because the vegetables are chopped into smaller pieces, eliminating the need to cook them for long.
Store this Japanese curry over mashed potatoes in an airtight storage container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes.
Yes you can freeze this recipe, it’s very easy!
First, let the dish cool to room temperature and then transfer it to a freezer friendly storage container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
To reheat, take the dish out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes.
Here are some additional curry recipes you might be interested to try!
- Homemade Japanese curry (from scratch)
- Japanese Coco Ichibanya-style vegetable curry
- Panang curry
- Simple egg curry
- Mapo Curry Tofu
Did you like this Japanese curry over mashed potato recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
How to Make Japanese Curry Over Mashed Potatoes
Similar to shepherd’s pie but sweeter and more rich, Japanese curry over mashed potatoes is a comforting meal that both kids and adults will enjoy.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 3 to 4 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 1/4 pound potatoes, peeled, and chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
- 1 cup milk or unsweetened soy milk or oat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or grapeseed oil
- 3oz (about 85g) onion, diced
- 1.5 oz (about 45g) carrot, diced
- 1.5 oz (about 45g) frozen corn, thawed
- 2 oz zucchini (about 60g), diced
- 350 to 400 ml water, depending on how thick you like your curry to be
- 5 blocks (squares) of Japanese curry roux such as Vermont Curry
- 1/3 cup spinach, finely chopped
- Add the potatoes to a pot and add enough water so there’s about 2 inches above the potatoes.
- Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook the potatoes for about 7 minutes, or until they easily be pierced with a knife or fork.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and mashed the potatoes until they are smooth. Set aside.
- Add the vegetable oil to a medium pot over medium heat, and add the onion and carrot. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
- Add the corn and zucchini and stir fry for 2 more minutes.
- Add the water and curry roux and keep stirring until the blocks have completely dissolved, and the sauce is thick and bubbling.
- Turn the heat off and stir in the spinach.
- Transfer the mashed potato to a medium size bowl and top with the vegetable curry. Serve.
To Refrigerate: Put the leftovers in an airtight storage container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Let the dish cool to room temperature and transfer it to a freezer friendly storage container. Freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, take the dish out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 414
- Sugar: 8.2g
- Sodium: 167.3mg
- Fat: 20.6g
- Saturated Fat: 10.7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 1.8g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 55.9g
- Fiber: 25g
- Protein: 11.2g
- Cholesterol: 31.8mg
Keywords: kare rice