Curry was first introduced to Japan in the late 1800s by the British. Japanese chefs would later make changes to the dish to better fit the Japanese palate, and to go better with Japanese short grain rice. At the time, many of the spices used in Indian and British style curries were expensive and hard to find, so Japanese restaurants would substitute the spices with whatever they had around, like fruits, chocolate, coffee, ketchup and even soy sauce. These ingredients helped create the distinct flavor of Japanese style curry.
Instant curry blocks were introduced to Japan in 1956 by S&B Foods, making it possible for home cooks to quickly and more conveniently make Japanese curry at home. Many Japanese home cooks like to personalize their curry by adding different ingredients. Some might add fruit or juice, if they prefer a sweeter curry. Some might add milk, yogurt or even cheese for a more creamy curry.
Do you make Japanese curry at home? Have you tried adding any unique ingredients?