Japanese sweet potato curry

I came up with this a while ago for a friend of mine who couldn’t have gluten (and therefore was unable to eat typical Japanese curry, which uses wheat flour in the roux). It’s also pretty low-carb and incidentally vegan, though I usually add some meat.

Main ingredients

  • Large sweet potato
  • Medium onion
  • Medium carrot
  • 32oz chicken broth or water
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
  • Meat of your choice (optional)

Spice mix:

  • 1tbsp curry powder (S&B is best)
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp grated ginger
  • 1tsp grated garlic
  • 1tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • Cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste (optional)


I use a single wok for the whole process, but any kind of pot is fine. You can also save a little time by doing the first two steps in parallel, though it’ll mean one more pan to wash.

Boil the sweet potato until completely soft. Remove skin and set aside.
Caramelize onions in wok using the America’s Test Kitchen fast method, and set aside.
If using meat, cut into small pieces and sear briefly to develop color.
Add pot with water or chicken broth and bring to a simmer. If using red wine, add it now.
Cut carrots (using rangiri for best results) and add to the pot.
Mash sweet potato in a bowl with all the spices.
Mix spice paste into liquid a little at a time, simmering until the desired consistency is reached.
Season with salt to taste.