Karē: Has Japan Really Outdone India In The Curry Game?
Image Credit: Karē can be enjoyed with steamed rice | Instagram - @mdminariku

When it comes to curry, many people immediately think of India and the diverse and flavorful curries that are a staple of Indian cuisine. But did you know that Japan has its own version of curry that is just as popular and beloved? This dish, which is called "karē," has been a part of Japanese cuisine for hundreds of years and has developed its own flavors and qualities.

Let's take a closer look at karē and compare it to Indian curry to see how these two dishes stack up. 

What is Karē?

Karē is the Japanese version of curry, one that has become immensely popular over the years. It is a type of stew made primarily of meat, vegetables, and a roux-like sauce, and it is a staple in Japanese homes. There are many different types of karē, ranging from mild and sweet versions to spicy and savory versions.

The history of Karē dates back centuries, with the first recorded mention of the dish being in the 17th century. It is believed that the dish originated in India and was then introduced to Japan by the British in the late 1800s. It has since been adopted and adapted by the Japanese and has become a beloved and integral part of Japanese cuisine.

Karē is typically made with a combination of meat (usually chicken or pork) and vegetables, simmered in a flavorful sauce made with a blend of spices and herbs. It is usually served over rice, and pickled vegetables or other side dishes are often served with it.

Karē vs. Curry

One of the key differences between karē and Indian curry is the flavor profile. While Indian curry is known for its bold and spicy flavors, karē is typically milder and sweeter, with a subtle depth of flavor.

Another difference between karē and Indian curry is the consistency of the sauce. Indian curry is often thick and rich, while karē is typically thin and broth-like. This difference in consistency is due in part to the fact that karē is typically made with a roux, a mixture of flour and fat that is used to thicken the sauce. 

Finally, the way it is cooked is also different, with Japanese karē usually being cooked slowly over low heat while Indian karē is usually cooked quickly over high heat.  

Taste Atlas: The Best Dish of 2022 

Picture credit - Instagram - @fat_cat_kpg

Karē has been named the best dish of 2022 by Taste Atlas, a leading food research and rating platform. The dish was chosen due to its unique flavor profile, with its mix of mild and subtle spices offering something unique and delicious that can be enjoyed by everyone.  

Taste Atlas also noted that the dish is incredibly versatile, with it being able to be cooked in a variety of different ways to suit different tastes. It can be served with a variety of different toppings, such as boiled eggs, sliced onions, and shredded seaweed, making it a great option for a variety of different meals.  

One of the main features of Taste Atlas is its ranking of different foods and cuisines based on their popularity and cultural significance. The rankings are compiled based on data from various sources, including user reviews, media coverage, and expert opinions. The rankings are updated regularly to reflect changes in popularity and cultural significance.  

Types of Karē 

There are many different variations of karē that are popular in Japan, each with its own unique flavors and characteristics, which include:  

Chicken karē: This is a classic version of karē made with chicken, vegetables, and a flavorful sauce. It is a popular choice for families and is often served at home as a comforting and satisfying meal. 

Beef karē: This variation of karē is made with beef instead of chicken and has a richer, more robust flavor. It is often considered a more upscale version of karē.

Seafood karē: This version of karē is made with seafood such as shrimp or scallops and is often served at high-end restaurants.

Vegetable karē: This version of karē is made with a variety of vegetables and is a popular choice for vegetarians and those looking for a lighter and healthier option. 

Curry rice: This dish is a popular street food in Japan and is made by mixing karē sauce with rice and often served with a variety of toppings, such as tonkatsu (a breaded and fried pork cutlet) or an omelet. 

Karē udon: This dish is made by combining karē sauce with thick, wheat-based udon noodles and is often served as a hearty and satisfying meal. 

Karē soba: Similar to karē udon, this dish is made by combining karē sauce with thin, buckwheat-based soba noodles. 

Karē and Indian curry are both delicious and flavorful dishes that have their own unique characteristics and flavors. Despite being milder and sweeter than Indian curry, karē is still a beloved and essential component of Japanese cuisine and is a favorite of many people all over the world. 

P.S. Just so you know, the Indian dish "Shahi Paneer" comes in at number 28 on the Taste Atlas Top 50.