No, this is not beef stew. This is actually Japanese curry, which is actually quite popular in that country.
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There are three ways you can enjoy Japanese curry rice: you can make it from scratch, you can use curry roux blocks, and the easiest—you can simply boil a retort pouch or open a can of ready-made curry. For this taste test we tried S&B's Golden Curry, House's Curry Sauce with Vegetables, and Kikkoman Ginza Classic Curry Sauce.
I grew up with my Japanese father's somewhat rudimentary, from-scratch version of curry rice. It was only later in college that I learned about the ubiquitous blocks of curry roux that you simply add to a stew, magically turning them into curry. For this taste test I tried five brands of curry available in Japanese grocery stores in the US: S&B's Golden Curry and Torokeru (Tasty) Curry, and House's Vermont Curry, Java Curry, and Kokumaro Curry.
People might be surprised to find curry in Japanese restaurants, but the fact is karē raisu (カレーライス), or Japanese curry rice, is so ubiquitous in Japanese home-cooking, that it might well be considered one of the country's national dishes.
Our Adam Kuban loves Japanese curry rice, which is super popular both in Japan and in Japanese restaurants outside of Japan, but did you know there was such a thing as Japanese dry curry? According to Maki Itoh, it's "fried rice with curry flavor, almost as popular. And unlike the stew-type of Curry Rice it’s very fast and easy to put together."...