We all love Japanese curry, but what’s the most popular way to serve it this season?

There are some foods that you can’t imagine eating outside of their designated season. Shaved ice is a perfect summer treat, and do pumpkin-flavored things ever taste as good as when eaten on a cozy autumn afternoon?

The ever-popular Japanese curry is actually often thought of as a summer dish since its spiciness and warmth encourage sweat and help you cool down. However, its hearty warmth also makes it popular wintertime fare. A group of 50 “curry professionals” (graduates of Japan’s Curry University, a research program dedicated to the curry industry) were quizzed on their favorite ways to eat this comforting dish during the winter, to determine the season’s most sizzling serving suggestion.

Let’s count them down!

10. Curry Soba

Curry udon is a famous way to have your curry and noodles too, but soba noodles are getting increasingly popular!

9. Curry Ramen

Continuing the noodle trend, curry ramen uses a base of cooked Japanese curry to lend spice and flavor to the noodles, boiled egg, and other garnishes in your ramen bowl.

8. Ginger Curry

▼ This version is made with soybeans instead of meat!

Ginger is a popular spice in the winter months anyway, due to its warming, comforting qualities. Here, baby-pink petals of pickled ginger are served alongside the curry to amplify its natural heat.

7. Curry Hotpot

Curry hotpot, known as curry nabe, is slow-cooked in a clay pot to really stew all those delectable flavors together and provide a warming meal that sticks to your bones.

6. Spice Curry

You might wonder why a curry even needs to be labeled as a “spice” curry. The title of this Osaka-developed curry dish actually refers to how it’s made without a typical curry roux and instead mixes the spices directly into the paste, as seen in Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. This curry typically incorporates a lot of vegetables.

5. Intensely Spicy Curry

Intensely spicy curry, or gekikara curry, is titled after its level of spicy heat. This curry’s selling point is its searing spice, so you’ll often see chili peppers and an ominously dark red roux used in these dishes. What better way to blast away the cold?

4. Soup Curry

This colorful curry dish is a Sapporo specialty that typically uses tender chicken and flash-fried vegetables in its spicy, aromatic broth. Definitely try some if you happen to be in the area– it’s another dish packed to the brim with appealing vegetables.

3. Baked Curry

Baked curry, or yaki curry, is another local specialty. This one hails from Kitakyushu in Fukuoka and involves ladling a generous dollop of cheese atop the curry atop the rice, then putting the whole thing in the oven and baking it until everything gets crispy and toasted golden-brown. Hot, melted cheese has been a real hit over the past few winters, so it’s no surprise this dish ranked so highly.

2. Winter Vegetable Curry

A Japanese curry can contain anything, but if you suggest adding vegetables into the equation most Japanese people will anticipate summer vegetables like okra, eggplant, and zucchini. The winter has plenty of incredible complementary options on offer, too though: ginger, green onions, lotus root, radishes, and burdock all make great additions!

So who’s the king of winter curry dishes?

The curry professionals have decreed…

1. Curry Udon

Thick, floury noodles…chunky, sweet stewed carrots that practically melt in your mouth…and of course, a thick curry-flavored broth to tie it all together. Curry udon is one of the most beloved ways to eat both Japanese curry and udon noodles in Japan, and that goes double for the cold, hard winter months. People are always coming up with new ways to make it, too!

What’s your personal favorite way to consume curry, and does it change throughout the year? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Yahoo!Japan News/Suits woman via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso

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