It would not be an exaggeration to say that the curry powder produced in Japan today has reached the world’s highest level in quality.
In Europe, spices have traditionally been used to disguise the smell of meat as well as to preserve it, while in India and Southeast Asia they have long been used for heath and as protection from the heat.
In Japan, where special emphasis is placed on taste, and where people are sensitive to the aroma and heat of the spices, a unique curry powder has been created from blended spices.
There are now several forms of curry – here are some examples:
Curry powder is made by mixing a large number of spices and herbs together. It is used as a basic condiment for fried vegetables or curry-flavoured rice. Curry roux and retort curry are both made with curry powder.
Roux is a mixture of wheat flour and fat (butter or olive oil), which adds thickness to curry. Curry roux is a mixture of this roux with curry powder, fat or condiment. Recently, curry roux has been produced in flakes and in paste form
Retort curry is cooked curry which has been put into a perfectly-sealed bag after retort treatment. It has become popular because it is so convenient – all you need to do is heat it up and it’s ready to eat!
First developed by the US Army, this technique attracted the attention of food manufacturers when it was used to make portable rations for the Apollo Space Programme.
Retort curry was an ideal product for Japan at the time since fridge freezers were not yet widespread and it could be distributed and stored at room temperature.