Japanese dry curry with soybeans or tempeh


Dry curry is a uniquely Japanese dish, much like the stew-type of Japanese curry. Dry curry is really well suited to bentos. The spicy curry aroma is appetising yet not overwhelming, and the combination of salty, spicy and sweet flavors really gets me going.

The recipe for a more traditional ground meat based dry curry has already been posted on Just Hungry. This is a vegan version that uses cooked soybeans or crumbled tempeh. It’s so rich in flavor that even non-vegetarians won’t miss the meat. It’s also very easy to make, though a food processor helps for chopping up all the vegetables.

Both the meat based and this soybean based dry curry mixes freeze very well, making them perfect freezer staples.

Recipe: Soybean or tempeh dry curry mix

  • 2 cups (440ml) canned or cooked soybeans (the oven-dried type is better but just plain boiled ones would do too), or the equivalent amount of crumbled tempeh
  • 1 red or orange sweet pepper
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 1/2 inch or 1.5cm or so square
  • 1 Tbs. garam masala
  • 1 to 3 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 to 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chili pepper powder (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. raisins
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper

Chop up all of the vegetables finely. A food processor makes this part a lot easier, but you can of course do it by hand.

Heat up a large frying pan or a sauté pan with the olive oil. Add all the vegetables and sauté until soft.

In the meantime, put the soy beans or tempeh in the food processor and pulse a few times to just roughly chop them up.

Once the vegetables are soft, pull the mixture aside to expose a little of the bottom of the pan. Add a few drops of oil and the powdered spices. Use less curry powder if you want it milder, and more if you want it spicier - and add the red chili powder if you want it very spicy. Stir in with the vegetables.

Add the soybeans or tempeh, raisins, tomato paste, and about 1 cup of water. Rapidly cook down until there is almost no moisture left. Add the soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To use, mix about 2 tablespoons of the mix per 1 cup of hot cooked rice. Top off with 1-2 tablespoons more of the mix and garnish to serve.

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What do you think about

What do you think about using other types of beans (black beans, perhaps) in place of the soybeans? I try not to eat soybeans often since I have tofu relatively frequently and too much soy tends to make me feel crummy.

By the way, I LOVE your site(s). I was in a total obento slump before I started reading your posts, and now I’m all kinds of inspired. :)

you could sub

you could substitute any kind of beans, but keep in mind that most of them would be higher in carbs vs. proteins than soy beans. Black beans would be nice i think!

Quick bento-friendly curry dish

Thank you for all these lovely recipes—I adore curry. ^^

I’m also a fanatic of balanced eating, but I don’t have a lot of leisure preparation time. When I make veggie curry in a serious bind, I take a shortcut that a lot of people may find helpful—frozen, prepared veggie patties. They usually have brown rice and some cheese in them, so they’re more filling and well-rounded. You can make a whole lunch by whipping up some brown rice, adding any curry paste of your choice to a little light coconut milk in a saucepan with some microwaved veggie patties, and throwing them in your lunch box, maybe with some steamed soybeans. Really healthy, really easy, and really time-saving. Also very filling =)

Re: Japanese dry curry with soybeans or tempeh

This looks delicious! :D

I can't wait to try it.
Thank you

Re: Japanese dry curry with soybeans or tempeh

I made this for dinner last night with tempeh on brown rice. It was great! I'm always looking for good tempeh recipes and I will definitely make this one again. Thanks!

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