Already have an account?
Get back to the

Japanese Curry Bricks Are the Pantry Staple You Didn’t Know You Needed

These bricks are filled with flavor.

Curry is a culinary staple in many cultures. Various types can be found in Indian, Thai, and African cuisine; the combination of a rich, flavorful sauce plus meat, fish, or veggies makes for a versatile and filling dish. But making curry yourself can be time-consuming, given all the simmering required to get the ideal consistency. Luckily, there’s a trick that’ll get curry on your table in 30 minutes or less: Japanese curry, which comes in a convenient brick form. Here’s what you need to know about this literal building block of quick weeknight dinners.

What is Japanese curry?

Curry is available in many forms, including powders, jarred sauces, canned pastes, and bricks (yes, you read that right). The latter is the form that Japanese curry takes. From the outside, the brick looks more like an inanimate object than the makings of a delicious meal. But when it meets hot water — and the ingredients of your choosing — that ambiguous brown rectangle melts into a rich, creamy sauce filled with flavor.

Japanese curry’s color and consistency are similar to gravy, and its taste is more umami — a savory flavor often found in Japanese food — than spicy. S&B, one of the most popular and long-lasting purveyors of Japanese curry, describes it like this: “Japanese curry is not as pungent as its Asian counterparts, which are often characterized by a few outstanding spices. Instead, it is a relatively mild and harmonious blend of curry powder and spices in which no particular ingredient stands out. And because it contains flour, the sauce is comparatively thick.”

Japanese curry brick on plate
Here’s what a Japanese curry brick looks like before you cook it.Ika Rahma H/Shutterstock

Where can you buy Japanese curry?

Japanese curry is sold at Asian grocery stores and in the international section of most grocery chains. It’s also available online. In addition to S&B Curry (Buy from Amazon, $7.11), popular brands include Vermont Curry (don’t let the name fool you — it’s actually Japanese, and you can buy it from Amazon, $6.65), and Java Curry (Buy from Amazon, $9.99).

What can you make with Japanese curry?

The most traditional preparation uses the curry brick as a base for meat and veggies served over rice. To make this dish, follow the adapted S&B recipe below. (Comparable recipes can be found on the backs of most Japanese curry boxes).

Ingredients (Serves 2 to 4):

  • 1 pound meat or fish of your choice
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 1 Japanese curry brick


  1. In large skillet, stir-fry meat and vegetables in oil over medium heat approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until ingredients are tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Add curry brick to skillet, and break into pieces. Stir until the brick is completely melted. Simmer approximately 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Serve hot over rice or noodles.

It’s probably best to start with a classic curry, but if you’re feeling adventurous, S&B has a lot of other creative recipes, including curry pizza, curry pot pie, a curry rice omelet, and even savory curry muffins. Once you’ve cooked with a Japanese curry brick once — and discovered how quickly it goes from solid to sauce — it’s easy to experiment with other ingredients and flavor combinations that pique your palate.

The curry brick may look a bit strange at first, but don’t let that scare you. Once you’ve tasted the thick sauce from this store-bought cube, it might just become one of your pantry go-tos. 

More Stories

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.