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10 Surprisingly Easy (and Healthy!) Japanese Curry Recipes

When you’re dieting, you probably like to keep things simple.

Whether you’re tracking macros or following a meal plan, you know how much easier it is to hit your numbers when you mostly eat whole foods like chicken breast, rice, broccoli, and so on.

There’s a price you have to pay for this convenience, though: it can get pretty boring.

And simple dishes like these Japanese curry recipes are the perfect antidote.

Traditionally, a curry is a combination of spices, herbs, and chilis mixed with vegetables and meat, but as most are made with large amounts of butter, oil, and coconut milk, they’re simply too high calorie for cutting.

If you replace those high-fat ingredients with “lighter” alternatives, though, you can get something just as delicious with a fraction of the calories.

For example, the Pressure Cooker Japanese Seafood Curry has just 8 grams of fat per serving, the Japanese Chicken Curry is ideal when you want something on the spicier side of things, and the Japanese Beef Curry is perfect for when you want a heartier meal with a little more fat.

Enjoy!

Japanese Beef Curry

japanese beef curry

 

Picture courtesy of Just Hungry

Want to skip the pre-made Japanese curry sauce? This blog has a guide to making your own Japanese curry powder using turmeric, cumin, cardamom, cloves, and a lot more.

Of course you don’t need a ton of spices to make a delicious curry. This one just has a few basics that you can find in your local grocery store. You can also add a pinch of extra herbs and spices, like allspice and even cocoa powder, to make it your own.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 lb. cubed beef chuck (or other stew meat)

6 large onions, sliced

3 cloves garlic

2–3” fresh ginger

2 cups crushed tomatoes

1 beef stock cube

1 bay leaf

1 star anise

2 Tbsp. garam masala

3 large carrots

1 medium apple

3 medium potatoes

2 Tbsp. oil or butter

1 cup frozen green peas (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 529

Protein: 28 grams

Carbs: 51 grams

Fat: 25 grams

GET THE RECIPE

Pressure Cooker Japanese Seafood Curry

pressure cooker japanese seafood curry

 

Picture courtesy of Just One Cookbook

Love curry, but worried about cooking it? This easy curry recipe comes together in an electric pressure cooker, so you can nail the flavors without burning anything along the way.

Serves 4

Ingredients

12 large manila clams (about 1 lb.)

3 cups water

2” x 3” kombu (dried kelp)

3 onions

6 mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

1” fresh ginger

6 oz. medium shrimp

1 Tbsp. oil

6 oz. bay scallop

6 oz. calamari

1/4 cup white wine

1 package Japanese curry sauce mix

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/4 apple

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 422

Protein: 53 grams

Carbs: 29 grams

Fat: 8 grams

GET THE RECIPE

Japanese Curry Bread

japanese curry bread

Picture courtesy of Chopstick Chronicles

Take Japanese beef curry to go with these delicious stuffed rolls.

Called karee pan, this Japanese stuffed bread is the perfect afternoon snack. Bake a large batch, either with this homemade dough, or using some ready-made pizza dough plus the bread crumbs to coat.

Serves 16

Ingredients

Bread Roll:

3 cups baker’s flour

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/5 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 envelope active dry yeast

1 cup + 1 Tbsp. milk

1/4 cup butter

2 cups bread crumbs

Olive oil spray

Curry Filling:

1/4 lb. 90% lean ground beef

3 potatoes, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup water

2.5 oz. (about 1/3 package) Japanese curry sauce mix

1 tsp. garam masala

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 242

Protein: 8 grams

Carbs: 37 grams

Fat: 8 grams

GET THE RECIPE

Eggplant & Ground Beef Curry

eggplant and ground beef curry

 

Picture courtesy of Japanese Cooking 101

This simple Japanese curry only needs a few staple foods, so it’s easy for beginners to cook. And even with minimal ingredients, the combo of beef and eggplant make this a nutrient-dense meal.

Want even more flavor? Add optional seasonings like Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, or even apricot jam for a touch of sweetness.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 tsp. oil

1 tsp. fresh minced ginger

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 large eggplant (or 4 Japanese eggplants), cubed 1”

4 cups water

4 oz. Japanese curry sauce mix

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 491

Protein: 28 grams

Carbs: 53 grams

Fat: 22 grams

GET THE RECIPE

Curry Udon

japanese curry udon

 

Picture courtesy of Umami Mart

Have leftover curry, but no rice? This bowl of udon noodles is cooked in a broth that’s made with your extra curry from the night before.

You’ll also need tsuyu soup base to complete this bowl of Japanese curry noodles. It can be bought pre-made in Asian grocery stores, or make your own with just three ingredients: dashi stock, mirin rice wine, and soy sauce.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 servings leftover Japanese beef and eggplant curry

1 packet (7 oz.) dry udon noodles

1 cup dashi (or chicken stock)

1/3 cup tsuyu soup base

Green onions, for garnish

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 435

Protein: 22 grams

Carbs: 64 grams

Fat: 12 grams

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Japanese Chicken Curry

japanese chicken curry

 

Picture courtesy of Cooking with Dog

Once you learn to make a quick Japanese curry with premade sauce mix, upgrade your recipe to be truly from scratch.

This one uses a mix of curry powder, cumin, ginger, and garam masala. And if you prefer a lightened up Japanese chicken curry, use bone-in chicken breasts instead of drumsticks.

Serves 3

Ingredients

6 chicken drumsticks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tsp. curry powder

Flour, for dusting

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 large onions

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1” fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, grated

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 1/2 cups water

1 chicken bouillon cube

1/2 can (about 7 oz.) diced tomatoes

3 Tbsp. plain yogurt

1 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. curry powder

1/2 Tbsp. fruit jam (apple, strawberry, or mango)

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 442

Protein: 24 grams

Carbs: 21 grams

Fat: 30 grams

GET THE RECIPE

Japanese Vinegar Curry

japanese vinegar curry

 

Picture courtesy of The Fat Cat’s Cookbook

For an easy way to adapt traditional Japanese curry, just add vinegar.

You don’t need any premade curry sauce for this easy recipe. Chop up your veggies and chicken to prep, and then make the simple sauce from curry powder, rice wine vinegar, and a touch of sugar.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/2 lb. chicken thighs, chopped

1 lb. eggplant, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 Tbsp. curry powder

4 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1/2 tsp. sugar

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 262

Protein: 24 grams

Carbs: 31 grams

Fat: 8 grams

GET THE RECIPE

Japanese Chicken Curry with Fried Egg

japanese chicken curry with fried egg

 

Picture courtesy of Just One Cookbook

Although you don’t need veggies to make a delicious chicken curry, adding carrots and corn will make it even better.

Vegetables will get you more vitamins and minerals, of course. And if you need even more protein, add a fried egg to this healthy Japanese chicken curry. Serve with steamed rice, or enjoy as is to reduce carbs.

Serves 4

Ingredients

6 cups water

3 carrots

2 potatoes

1 onion

3 cloves garlic

1 chicken leg

2 chicken wings

1/3 chicken breast

2 Tbsp. milk

1 cup corn

4 large eggs

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 345

Protein: 25 grams

Carbs: 33 grams

Fat: 13 grams

GET THE RECIPE

Japanese Curry with Vegetables

japanese curry with vegetables

 

Picture courtesy of The Spruce

The standard Japanese curry recipe uses beef and potatoes. But if you don’t have meat, don’t worry. You can have an awesome curry with eggplant instead.

To get more protein with this Japanese vegetable curry, serve with crispy baked tofu.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 Japanese eggplant, sliced 1/4” thick

2 yellow bell peppers, diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

4 cups water

1 small package (125g) Japanese curry sauce mix

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 257

Protein: 5 grams

Carbs: 34 grams

Fat: 14 grams

GET THE RECIPE

Japanese Apple Curry

japanese pumpkin curry

 

Picture courtesy of Vegan Miam

This hearty stew is made with pumpkin, carrots, and apples. It’s so full of flavor you won’t even realize it’s missing meat.

For a filling vegan Japanese curry, the recipe includes both potatoes and frozen edamame. That means this meatless curry still has over 15 grams of protein – even more when you serve it with quinoa or rice.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Roux:

3 Tbsp. sunflower oil

4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. curry powder (or garam masala)

Curry:

1 Tbsp. sunflower oil

1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/3 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2” thick

3/4 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1” chunks

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste (or ketchup)

1 Tbsp. Oriental curry powder (or garam masala)

3 cups vegetable broth

1 medium Fuji apple, peeled and grated

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. agave nectar (optional)

1/2 cup frozen edamame, thawed

1/4 cup scallions, green parts sliced

Sesame seeds, for garnish

Salt to taste

Nutrition Facts (per Serving)

Calories: 401

Protein: 16 grams

Carbs: 48 grams

Fat: 18 grams

GET THE RECIPE

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