May 15

Make Your Own Japanese Curry Roux Blocks

in Japanese, Main Course

One of my personal favorite recipes is my Japanese curry (aka, curry rice).  In Japan, when people make curry at home, they usually use an instant curry roux (available in a block or powder form) to make the curry sauce or purchase pre-made curry sauce that is packaged in vacuum-sealed bags.  Many recipes for Japanese curry rice even call for these things.  When I developed my first curry rice recipe, back in 2011, I decided I wanted to come up with a recipe that made it from scratch, so I could serve my family something made without the extra additives/preservatives.

Homemade Japanese curry roux poured into a silicone ice cube tray to freeze

I decided a few months ago that I wanted to make it so that I could make the roux ahead of time, to be stored in the fridge or freezer–like my own homemade curry roux blocks.  Adapting my recipe was actually very easy.  This recipe makes enough for one large batch of curry.  You can multiply it to make a larger batch.  I usually double or triple the recipe so that I can have it on hand when I need it.

Blocks of homemade Japanese curry roux to make curry rice

Japanese Curry Roux Blocks

Homemade Japanese curry roux that can be made ahead.  This makes about 6.5 ounces of curry roux---enough for 1 large batch of Japanese curry rice.  It can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Author Rachael Hutchings,


  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam (or peach jam)
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder


Make the curry roux:

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until it makes a smooth paste.  You can use the paste immediately, store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To freeze the curry roux:

  1. Transfer the curry roux into a silicone ice cube tray, or a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, or a freezer bag (extra air pressed out and paste "squished out" into a thin rectangle), and put it into the freezer to freeze.

  2. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or airtight freezer container.  The curry roux will keep in the freezer for about 3 months.

To make curry using the blocks:

  1. -1 recipe curry roux

    -5 cups vegetable stock

    -2 yellow onions, 3 carrots, 2 large potatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces (or any other vegetables/protein you prefer)

  2. Put the curry roux in a large pot, along with 1 cup of the vegetable stock, over medium-high heat.  Break up/mash the roux in the vegetable stock and stir into the vegetable stock.  When it is combined, slowly whisk in the rest of the vegetable stock.  

  3. Add the chopped vegetables and stir to combine.  Bring it to a boil, then cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium/medium-low (high enough to maintain a gentle simmer).  Let the vegetables simmer for 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender.  If the curry isn't thick enough, remove the lid and let simmer until the sauce reduces to the desired thickness.  Remove from the heat and serve over hot steamed Japanese rice.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Noriko May 15, 2020 at 2:08 pm

You make it sound so easy??


Noah September 12, 2020 at 5:12 pm

I’m sorry to nit-pick, but this isn’t really a roux. A roux is made by cooking flour with butter or oil, this recipe doesn’t do that. That isn’t a bad thing, but I recommend making this a real roux. It’s not too much extra effort, and I promise it’s worthwhile.

If anyone wants to make this a roux, omit the cornstarch and melt about one tablespoon of butter or a neutral oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Then add about one tablespoon of flour. Cook this, stirring constantly until it darkens. You can make it as light or dark as you want. A darker roux will give a deeper color and flavor, but it won’t thicken your sauce as much, so I would increase the flour and butter a bit if you want a thicker curry using a dark roux.

Once darkened as desired, you can add all the other ingredients and mix until combined. If you’re using fresh garlic I would add that first and let it cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds before adding the curry powder and spices. After mixing these together off the heat, you can process it if you’d like and let it cool before forming the blocks.

The tomato paste, apricot jam, and rice vinegar are all good additives, but you don’t need those specifically. Additives are the best part of making Japanese curry, it’s what makes each one unique. Think of it like finding your own secret ingredient. There are lots of other common additives like honey, grated apple (I use fuji apples), chocolate, soy sauce, and even coffee. Don’t be afraid to get creative here, play around with different flavors until you get your perfect curry. :)


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