Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Curry/ Japanese/ Recipes

Easy Homemade Japanese Curry Roux

17/06/2021

No roux? No worries! Make your own homemade Japanese curry roux with only 6 everyday ingredients. Throw them in a curry, make curry udon, or store them as cubes to save time on future meals!

Three pieces of homemade roux for Japanese curry.

Why We Love This

Japanese curry roux makes it easy to have deliciously thick and glossy curry whenever you want it! 

It’s easy to make homemade roux with a few basic staples, and you can customise the heat, sweetness and flavour by adding more or less of each ingredient to suit your taste.

It doesn’t take long to make it yourself, and this way you’ll always know exactly what’s in it.

Use this amazing homemade curry roux in Japanese curry udon, Vietnamese chicken curry or Nyonya chicken curry for extra thick curry sauce!

Curry roux pieces in glass container with udon and curry powder next to it.

What is Japanese Curry Roux? 

Curry roux (カレールー) is made from flour and butter cooked down until golden brown and nutty – it almost looks like peanut butter! We then add ground spices along with a couple of other ingredients to add extra depths of savoury and sweet flavour. 

Butter adds a rich flavour, while the flour in curry roux helps to thicken curries, soups etc. Usually you have an equal amount of flour to butter for roux, but we’ve added extra butter to absorb the curry powder, otherwise you’d end up with a very crumbly roux and not a solid block.

Popular brands and types of curry roux in Japan include S&B’s Golden Curry (our favourite store-bought variety), Vermont Curry, Kokumaro and Java Curry to name a few. They’re becoming more widely available outside Japan too, with many available in major Australian and American supermarkets as well as Asian groceries. 

Once opened, the store bought roux blocks look a bit like big chocolate blocks, making it easy to break into smaller portions to suit your particular dish. It’s a good idea to set your homemade version the same way!

What You’ll Need

  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter depending on your preference. You can also sub with vegetable oil or margarine if needed.
  • Flour – Just regular plain / all purpose flour is all you need. Avoid self raising flour as this will affect the texture.  
  • Curry PowderS&B curry powder is the best version for this recipe, however it’s a little harder to get where we live. We usually use Clive of India curry powder which has a similar flavour profile once mixed with the other ingredients. Feel free to use what ever curry powder you have on hand, or make your own homemade curry powder with mostly basic pantry spices. 
  • Tomato Paste – We use this to add richness and flavour. 
  • Honey – A little goes a long way to add a hint of sweetness in this recipe. 
  • Garlic Salt – Sub with regular salt if you prefer. This is to replace the MSG – so while it’s not exactly the same, it’s close enough!
Ingredients laid out to make Japanese curry roux.

How to make Curry Roux:

  1. Melt butter on medium-low for around 30 secs.
  2. Add flour and stir through the butter.
  1. Cook on low for 5-15 minutes until light brown with a colour similar to peanut butter. Stir continuously to stop sticking. Turn off the heat once it’s brown and nutty.
  1. Add curry powder, tomato paste and honey and stir through. 
  2. Place into a small container, pressing firmly until flat. Score with a knife to break it apart easily once you’re ready to use it.
  3. This recipe yields around 90-100g / 3.5oz of curry roux, on par with store bought small size S&B Golden Curry (92g / 3.2oz). Adding 750ml / 25 floz / 3 cups of liquid (dashi or chicken stock) will give you a nice thick curry. If you want a runnier soup style curry, you can add more stock to suit your personal preference.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Smooth Consistency – The flour and butter mixture may become very thick, pasty or lumpy at first. Don’t worry, keep stirring on low heat until it becomes soft and smooth.
  • Avoid Burning – Heat should be low. If the flour and butter starts to burn or smoke as it becomes darker, turn off the heat immediately and continue with the rest of the recipe.
  • Cooking Time – Note that curry roux will take longer to cook in small saucepans than in wider frying pans, so you may need to adjust your cooking time to suit. 
  • Storage – Score the roux into smaller blocks for easier portions. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 months, or up to 4 months in the freezer.

FAQs

Does this taste like S&B curry?

Homemade curry roux won’t taste exactly the same as store bought brands, but it will come fairly close. Things that can affect the flavour include how long you cook the flour and butter for (longer generally means richer nuttier flavour), the brand of curry powder you use (the ratio of its spices) and the flavour of your other ingredients. Homemade also doesn’t include MSG, so you may have to up the garlic salt, add a soy sauce or extra stock in the curry to get it close to how you like it.

What dishes can I make with Japanese curry roux?

We most often use it for beef or chicken curries, with some onions, carrot and potatoes. It’s also great for curry udon! Use it to flavour soups and stews, like curried sausages.

How can I make my Japanese curry better?

Taste and season with salt and/or pepper to suit your own taste. You can also add more of any ingredient to get the right flavour profile for you.

Why do I need to cook the flour and butter for so long?

By cooking the butter and flour into a roux over a longer period of time, it cooks away the flavour of the flour so it acts as a thickener only. It also darkens the roux over time to give it a nuttier aroma AND that classic curry flavour.

Variations

  • Extra Flavour – Got time on your side? Try slow cooking onions in the pan on low for around 20-30 minutes until ultra soft, then add the butter and flour and continue with the recipe. This will add a whole extra depth of flavour to your final roux. 
  • Add Heat – Add ½ – 1 tsp cayenne, chilli powder, rayu chilli oil or shichimi togarashi.
  • Switch Things Up – Try using this as the base for Australian Curried Sausages!
Homemade curry roux, cut and stacked on small blue plate.

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Stack of three curry roux squares.

Easy Homemade Japanese Curry Roux

No roux? No worries! Make your own homemade Japanese curry roux with only 6 everyday ingredients. Throw them in a curry, or store them as cubes to save time on future meals!
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Condiment, Curry
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 1 Block of Curry Roux
Calories: 489kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Melt butter on medium-low for around 30 secs in a small saucepan or frying pan.
  • Add flour and stir through the butter.
  • Cook on low for 5-15 minutes until light brown with a colour similar to peanut butter. Stir continuously to stop sticking and for even cooking. Turn off the heat once it’s brown and nutty.
  • Add curry powder, tomato paste, garlic salt and honey and stir through.
  • Place into a small container, pressing firmly until flat. Score with a knife to break it apart easily once cooled, and you’re ready to use it.
  • This recipe yields around 90-100g / 3.5oz of curry roux, on par with store bought small size S&B Golden Curry (92g / 3.2oz). Adding 750ml / 25 floz / 3 cups of liquid (dashi or chicken stock) will give you a nice thick curry. If you want a runnier soup style curry, you can add more stock to suit your personal preference.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Storage – Score the roux into smaller blocks for easier portions. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 months, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
  • Butter – Sub with vegetable oil or margarine if needed.
  • Flour – Just regular plain / all purpose flour is all you need. Avoid self raising flour as this will affect the texture.  
  • Curry Powder S&B curry powder is the best. Sub with Clive of India curry powder or whatever curry powder you have on hand. 
  • Garlic Salt – Sub with regular salt if you prefer. This is to replace the MSG – so while it’s not exactly the same, it’s close enough!
  • Add Heat – Add ½ – 1 tsp cayenne, chilli powder, rayu chilli oil or shichimi togarashi.
  • Smooth Consistency – The flour and butter mixture may become very thick, pasty or lumpy at first. Don’t worry, keep stirring on low heat and it will become soft and smooth.
  • Avoid Burning – Heat should be low. If the flour and butter starts to burn or smoke as it becomes darker, turn off the heat immediately and continue with the rest of the recipe.
  • Cooking Time – Note that curry roux will take longer to cook in small saucepans than in wider frying pans, so you may need to adjust your cooking time to suit.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Homemade Japanese Curry Roux
Amount per Serving
Calories
489
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
35
g
54
%
Saturated Fat
 
21
g
131
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
9
g
Cholesterol
 
86
mg
29
%
Sodium
 
2748
mg
119
%
Potassium
 
486
mg
14
%
Carbohydrates
 
42
g
14
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
Sugar
 
8
g
9
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
1421
IU
28
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
108
mg
11
%
Iron
 
7
mg
39
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Easy Homemade Japanese Curry Roux

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Gina
    21/09/2022 at 2:18 am

    This was excellent! I live in a place that has zero Asian grocery stores 🙁 So, this is very helpful. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
    As a tip, whenever I make any kind of roux with dried spices, in something like enchilada sauce or coconut milk curries , for instance, I find it imperative to dry toast or add the dry spices to the roux at least partway during the cooking, otherwise the spices taste flat and uncooked in the final dish. So, i mixed the curry powder into the roux towards the end and it toasts the oils in the spices, so that they are fully developed. Again, thank you so much for this recipe.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      22/09/2022 at 12:21 pm

      That’s so awesome you were able to make this when you don’t have Asian grocers available. Thanks for the tip with the spices too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mark
    17/06/2021 at 4:45 pm

    5 stars
    Beautifully explained, easy to follow and produces an excellent homemade curry roux. Thank you for a wonderfully detailed and clear recipe; I especially like the recipe notes at the end.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      18/06/2021 at 10:09 am

      Awesome Mark, so glad you liked it!

      • Reply
        Kurt K
        12/03/2022 at 2:18 am

        Silly rookie question, do I used the whole roux with 3 cups of stock or start with 1/4 cube and add to taste?
        Thanks I love Japanese curry but MSG is a no no in our house so look forward to giving this a try

        • Reply
          Wandercooks
          15/03/2022 at 11:21 am

          Not a silly question at all! I always say start with less as you can always add more and learn what your personal preference is. We use all of them, but maybe start with 2 cubes (half the roux), give it a stir and let it thicken for a minute or two, then taste. If you want it thicker or need more curry flavour, then add in the remaining two! 🙂

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