Can you feel it? The days are getting shorter and the morning air has an undeniable chill. Oh yes, it’s comfort food season! From beef bourguignon in France, tamales in Mexico, and chicken noodle soup here in the US, every country or region has its own dish known for warming the soul. But here’s a question for all you foodies, world travelers, and trivia lovers alike: can you name one of Japan’s most beloved comfort foods?
If you struggled with that last question, don’t feel bad. Most Americans’ familiarity with Japanese food stops at sushi or ramen, which comes at no surprise with an estimated 20,000 sushi restaurants and 10,000 ramen shops across the country! But we’re willing to bet that when asked about their favorite Japanese comfort dish, most Japanese Americans will point you to the same thing: Japanese Curry.
Curry—kare in Japanese—is a national dish in Japan, appropriate for any meal of the day. With a more gravy-like consistency and milder flavor than Indian or Thai curries, Japanese curry plays well with pretty much everything. From traditional pairings with rice or noodles, to its more creative uses like topping hamburgers or fries for Japanese-style poutine, this versatile sauce is a blend of sumptuous flavors that are oh-so tasty and truly comforting.
Like many favorites in Japan, curry is an imported flavor that was adapted over time to fit the country’s needs and resources. A favorite meal of the British Royal Navy, curry was adopted from India as a hearty meal for long voyages and brought to Japan in the late 1800’s. Curry first gained popularity in Japan’s Navy mess halls where more vegetables and meat were added to maximize the nutritional value in a straightforward meal.
Because curry was adaptable to local food ways, the new flavor spread far and wide. As curry gained national popularity, flavor adaptations were made to fit the tastes of Japan’s different regions; but the foundational elements: onions, carrots, and potatoes, cooked with a mild but flavorful curry roux, always remained the same.
Now walking through the streets of Japan, you’re just as likely to encounter a curry shop as a ramen shop, and it’s a staple in Japanese households the way pizza is for American families. And although its stateside popularity does not compare to that of sushi or ramen, Japanese curry holds a special place in the hearts of many Japanese Americans. The same qualities that made the dish so ideal back in the 1800s (hearty, balanced, and easy to prepare) make it an easy choice for families today.
In the US, one brand has continued to dominate the Japanese curry market with its well-known curry roux bricks. Growing up in a Japanese American household, Cindy (the Masi to our Masi Masa) spent her formative years feasting on the Japanese Curry mother made with these universally-known bricks, never questioning the ingredients or what made them retain their cubic shape.
As an adult, Cindy’s affinity for Japanese curry has remained the same, but the blithe disregard for chemical additives in her food is a bygone of childhood. Wanting to deliver that familiar, comforting flavor in an all natural and versatile package, Masi Masa is proud to introduce our newest spice blend, and the flavor most near and dear to our hearts yet: Japanese Gold Curry!
Made with all-natural ingredients, our powdered Japanese Gold Curry blend is vegan, non-GMO, preservative-free, additive-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and nut-free! Check the packaging for a done-for-you recipe, or let your imagination run wild with our easy-to-use spice blend for a quick, authentic meal in 30 minutes or less. And keep an eye out for more Japanese Gold Curry recipes coming soon!
Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Curry Leaves, Fennel, Kashmiri Chili, Cloves, Garlic, Fenugreek, Ginger, Nutmeg, Onion, Orange Peel