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Japanese Curry With Winter Squash and Mushrooms

Image may contain Cutlery Spoon Food Curry Dish Meal Plant and Bowl
Photograph by Isa Zapata. Food Styling by Micah Morton. Prop Styling by Paige Hicks

My family ate instant Japanese curry rice, or kare raisu, for dinner at least once a week when I was growing up. We always used boxes of S&B Golden Curry. I thought it was magic how the dark brown cubes inside transformed a pot of water, hearty vegetables, and chunks of stew beef into a thick velvety spicy curry in minutes. It didn’t occur to me that you could make your own curry spice mix from scratch—minus the preservatives and fillers—until I was an adult.

There are countless ways to prepare homemade kare raisu, but the one nonnegotiable for me is S&B Curry Powder, which has a blend of 17 spices and delivers the nostalgic flavor of the curry I ate as a kid. For this recipe you’ll make a golden brown roux of butter and flour to which you’ll add the curry powder and some garam masala; this will be your curry base that will thicken up and flavor the finished kare. I use seared mushrooms and sweet kabocha squash in this vegetarian version, but you could swap in any number of veggies and proteins, such as potatoes, turnips, daikon, and chunks of chicken or beef. —Christina Chaey

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What you’ll need


4 servings


Tbsp. unsalted butter


cup all-purpose flour



tsp. garam masala


Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided


oz. mixed mushrooms (such as maitake, royal trumpet, shiitake, and/or crimini), torn or sliced into 2" pieces

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper


large onion, chopped


medium carrot, peeled, sliced on a diagonal ½" thick


celery stalks, sliced on a diagonal ½" thick


garlic cloves, finely chopped


1" piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped


cups low-sodium vegetable broth


oz. kabocha squash, scrubbed, or other winter squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1" pieces (about 2½ cups)


Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. honey

Thinly sliced scallions and cooked short-grain rice (for serving)


Step 1

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking often, until roux is light golden brown, 5–8 minutes. Stir in curry powder and garam masala and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; set curry roux aside.

Step 2

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl; reserve saucepan.

Step 3

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in reserved saucepan over medium. Add onion, carrot, and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly softened and onion is translucent, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add squash and mushrooms; simmer gently until liquid is reduced by a third and vegetables are very tender, 20–25 minutes. Whisk in honey and reserved curry roux until incorporated and roux is lump-free. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5–10 minutes. Taste curry and season with more salt if needed.

Step 4

Divide curry among shallow bowls; top with scallions. Serve with rice.

Do Ahead: Curry can be made 4 days ahead; let cool. Transfer to an airtight container; cover and chill.

How would you rate Japanese Curry With Winter Squash and Mushrooms?

  • While it did take us about 2 hrs to make in its entirety (mostly due to lack of experience with kabocha and how to prep it), it was well worth the effort. Will be making this for many fall/winters to come!

    • Laura

    • Nashville, TN

    • 12/31/2021

  • This turned out beautifully. Perfect flavor balance - just like a restaurant! I subbed the mushrooms and winter squash out for chicken and potatoes. Will be using this recipe again!

    • Carmen

    • Oakland

    • 12/30/2021

  • Good flavor but kind of gloppy texture with the rice. By itself it works.

    • Anonymous

    • California

    • 12/30/2021

  • Great recipe! Really easy and swappable. Used shiitakes and broccoli. The roux turned out to be kinda pasty (not saucy), not sure if that was the right way but it turned out good anyways! Deifnitely like that this recipe is sans all the preservatives found in the cube version.

    • Sam

    • Singapore

    • 12/28/2021

  • Amazing recipe! This was my first time trying a Japanese curry and could not have stumbled upon a better recipe! Full of flavour and great texture, although it did took me a while to prepare it was totally worth it. I live alone so I made half a recipe so I would have another serving for the following day, it reheats perfectly.

    • Teresa

    • Peru

    • 12/27/2021

  • Excellent recipe. Loved this meal on a cold winter day. Fragrant, sweet, spicy, umami. It did take me a while to make. Maybe 1.75 hours with all the prepping. I’m not a very experienced chef, but this was restaurant quality.

    • Andy Challenger

    • Chicago

    • 12/22/2021

  • one of the best recipes i've made in a while! i subbed chicken stock and delicata squash bc it's what i had at home and it didn't disappoint. definitely will be making this again!

    • kellyejd

    • new rochelle, ny

    • 12/15/2021

  • this is one of the best BA recipes i’ve ever made! it’s a warm hug in a bowl. i followed the directions exactly and it’s beyond delicious. my only substitution was using butternut squash because i couldn’t find kabocha. this will be going into our regular rotation!

    • alyssa

    • west long branch, nj

    • 12/13/2021

  • I used leftover dashi instead of vegetable broth. Very tasty!

    • Chris S

    • Colorado Springs, CO

    • 12/11/2021

  • I made this curry with a few additives/substitutes. I did not have access to all of the mushrooms so used a variety pack and found it a great substitute. I added potato’s which for next time, I will leave out. Used chicken broth vs veggie table broth and found it tasty, but once I added the roux mixture, found I needed to add .5-1 more cup of water to loosen it up. I usually use a curry cube for this type of recipe but found the homemade one in this to be exceptional. Substituted a grated apple for the honey and it was fantastic. I would recommend a cabbage salad as a side to break up the dense ness of the dish, but overall 10/10 flavor for vegetarian dish.

    • Lindsey

    • Denver, CO

    • 12/11/2021