Developed in India and then passed down through the hands of the British, curry has found a happy home with the Japanese and their cuisine. So much so that it’s known as one of Japan’s top three universally adored foods! Curry is served in schools, in homes, and in restaurants nationwide. There’s likely not a dining table in all of Japan that has never seen a plate of spicy rue pass across its surface. Japanese curry, filled with bits of meat and vegetables in sweet and spicy sauce and ladled over piping hot rice, is just superb! It’s the perfect comfort food, loved by kids and adults alike.
Tell me, is your mouth watering yet? We hope so, because today we’re bringing you a recipe for making curry just like the stuff you find at Curry House Coco Ichibanya, the Guinness World Record holder for largest curry restaurant chain. Often called simply “Coco Ichi” by Japanese locals, this popular chain has more than 1,300 restaurants world-wide!
Curry may be known for its complex balance of flavors, but even using store-bought rue, it’s easy to recreate the flavor of a top-class curry restaurant in your own home! Keep reading for the full recipe.
Ingredients (5 servings)
- 150 g (1/3 lb) pork
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 1/2 large carrot
- 117 g curry rue (1 mini-sized box)
- 1 tbsp salad oil
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
- 1.5-2 tsp chutney
- Pinch of salt
- Pickled ginger
- Fried chicken or pork, vegetables, and/or seafood prepared to your liking
- Your pork should be cut into very small cubes, smaller than bite-sized.
- If possible, we recommend using the rue manufactured by Coco Ichibanya. Otherwise, any Japanese curry rue can mimic the flavor of Coco Ichi’s curry, particularly the Jawa Curry brand pictured above.
- The addition of chutney to your sauce will bring the flavor closer to that of Coco Ichibanya. However, if you are unable to find it in your local store, it is not a necessary ingredient.
1. Finely chop your onion and carrot. Most curry houses mince their vegetables to the point of being indistinguishable in the rue, a trait shared with Coco Ichi.
2. Add the oil and onions to a pot on the stove. Toss in the squares of pork and cook on medium heat.
3. Once your pork changes color, add the carrots and 1 cup of water. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes. (Note: Take care that the heat is not too high, or your ingredients will burn and stick to the bottom of the pot.)
4. When you vegetables have all become soft, add the remaining 3 cups of water and increase the heat on your stove to medium. This is more water than is seen at most curry restaurants, but it is necessary to bring out the smooth flavor found at Coco Ichi.
5. Once the pot comes to the boil, skim the oil from the top and turn off the heat entirely. Break apart the blocks of rue and add them to the pot.
6. After the rue has melted, stir in the Worcester sauce, chutney, and salt for additional flavor. This is important to achieving the same taste found at Coco Ichi.
7. Warm the curry once more for 10-15 minutes, and you’re done! (If you have the time, allow the curry to cool and perform this step just before serving to achieve a better, richer flavor.) Dish up your curry alongside some fresh white rice, and you’re free to dig in! Add a garnish of pickles if you’d like, or perhaps a slab of fried pork, steamed vegetables, or shredded cheese. Choose your own original mix of toppings, just like you would in the actual restaurant.
Please understand that this recipe is a fun project intended to help you bring the taste of Coco Ichibanya to your home kitchen. We put a lot of time and effort into perfecting the process, but with so many brands of rue and levels of spice out there, we encourage to experiment on your own and let us know if you discover any brand new secrets to recreating the taste of the real Coco Ichi! Just, don’t forget to grab a glass of water before digging deep into your plate.