Wagamama-style Japanese katsu curry

    1 hour

    This is how you can make the Japanese katsu curry served in Wagamama. The MAJOR flavours are contributed by the liquorice root and star anise. My husband could hardly tell the difference between the home-made one and the Wagamama-one. My 22-month-old baby girl absolutely loved it!

    112 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 onion, roughly chopped
    • 60ml water
    • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon oil
    • 5 mustard seeds
    • 1 pinch ground asafoetida (hing)
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1 pinch chilli powder (optional)
    • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
    • 65g to 130g tomato purée (double concentrate)
    • 1/4 teaspoon minced root ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1 pinch ground mustard seeds
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 stick liquorice root
    • 1 star anise
    • 300ml water
    • 50g to100g creamed coconut
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 4 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

    1. In a food processor combine the onion and 60ml water and blend until a paste forms. Set aside.
    2. Pour the oil into a wok then add the mustard seeds. Switch on the heat to high and stir frequently until the seeds pop. Reduce the heat and add the asafoetida.
    3. Add the onion paste and cook till golden brown. Add the turmeric, chilli powder (if using), paprika, tomato purée, ginger, garlic, mustard, coriander, fenugreek, fennel, cumin and pepper. Cook and stir for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
    4. Add the liquorice root, star anise and some water. Cook till it becomes a sauce consistency, about 30 to 40 minutes. The longer you cook, the better the liquorice root flavour will get extracted. So when the sauce thickens to the desired consistency, you may wish to add more water and repeat the process.
    5. Prior to serving add the creamed coconut, salt and dark muscovado sugar. Serve hot typically with rice.


    You may prefer to add certain spices at different stages and/or in different order based on your personal/regional preferences. I tried to make this Japanese curry the Maharashtrian (Indian) way and the results were great. This recipe is intended as a guide. I use dark muscovado sugar in place of jaggery, and molasses, golden syrup etc should also do the job.


    This recipe serves about 4 people. As you probably know, if you want to scale up, best not to increase the amount of various spices, but rather increase the amount of onions, tomato purée and creamed coconut (along with water, salt and sugar).

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    My 22-month-old baby girl loved it, coz she had a big bowl of rice with it! My husband could hardly tell the difference between the home-made one and the one served in Wagamama.  -  12 Dec 2014