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