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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

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4 servings


Tbsp. unsalted butter


cup all-purpose flour



tsp. garam masala


Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided


oz. mixed mushrooms (such as maitake, royal trumpet, shiitake, and/or crimini), torn or sliced into 2″ pieces

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper


large onion, chopped


medium carrot, peeled, sliced on a diagonal ½” thick


celery stalks, sliced on a diagonal ½” thick


garlic cloves, finely chopped


1″ piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped


cups low-sodium vegetable broth


oz. kabocha squash, scrubbed, or other winter squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1″ pieces (about 2½ cups)


Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. honey

Thinly sliced scallions and cooked short-grain rice (for serving)


Step 1

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking often, until roux is light golden brown, 5–8 minutes. Stir in curry powder and garam masala and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; set curry roux aside.

Step 2

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl; reserve saucepan.

Step 3

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in reserved saucepan over medium. Add onion, carrot, and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly softened and onion is translucent, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add squash and mushrooms; simmer gently until liquid is reduced by a third and vegetables are very tender, 20–25 minutes. Whisk in honey and reserved curry roux until incorporated and roux is lump-free. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5–10 minutes. Taste curry and season with more salt if needed.

Step 4

Divide curry among shallow bowls; top with scallions. Serve with rice.

Do Ahead: Curry can be made 4 days ahead; let cool. Transfer to an airtight container; cover and chill.