Curry and S&B Foods

  1. S&B Foods, Japan's original producer of curry powder|
  2. Curry roux|
  3. Retort pouch curry|
  4. Original Japanese curries|
  5. S&B’s culture of curry

S&B Foods, Japan’s original producer of curry powder

S&B Foods, Japan’s original producer of curry powder

The world’s first curry powder was created and sold by the British firm of Crosse & Blackwell (C&B). Food historians assume that it was based on the idea of blending spices as was seen in garam masala.

It was this particular curry powder that first appeared in Japan; made into a mellow curry sauce that was served alongside a plate of steaming white rice. As the country eagerly took to the new dish, some enterprising Japanese attempted to create a domestic version of the powder — not an easy task given the dearth of information on the subject. In fact, some of the first “domestic” curry powder was little more than curry powder imported from Europe blended with cayenne pepper.

Cut to the year 1920 and a young, passionate fan of curry: Minejiro Yamazaki, who would later found S&B Foods. With scant data or reference material, Yamazaki tenaciously experimented with a wide variety of spices and combinations before eventually coming up with just the right blend in 1923 — Japan’s first curry powder. The powder Yamazaki concocted contained many more spices than garam masala and, with its superbly blended ingredients roasted and matured to perfection, was truly a culinary masterpiece of its time.

Eventually his curry powder would be found on market shelves throughout Japan; the instantly recognizable red can curry that has long been a Japanese favorite and in which still lingers traces of Yamazaki’s original blend.

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Curry roux

S&B Foods, Japan’s original producer of curry powder

Curry traveled from India to Europe, where inspired chefs blended it with roux to make a new type of curry that was eventually exported to Japan. Curry roux made it easy for anyone to make a tempting curry and was further refined by the Japanese in the 1950s, who produced it in cubes.

Employing the same principal as chocolate, which contains fat to keep it solidified at room temperature, the cubes were easy to package, sell and use. Consisting of curry powder, flour and seasoning, the cubes could quickly transform a mundane stew into a fine curry simply by adding them to the mix. This ease of use contributed
greatly to popularizing curry and development of
the country’s curry culture, of which S&B led the
way with products like Golden Curry and
luxurious Dinner Curry.

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Retort pouch curry

Curry lovers in Japan can choose from a wide variety of delicious S&B curries sold in retort pouches — a simple, no-fuss way to enjoy a truly satisfying meal. Based on NASA technology and further developed by S&B in 1968, the pouches are immersed in hot water to warm the pre-cooked curry, which can then be eaten just like the homemade version. Canned curry was the choice for fast meals before then but soon faded from the scene with the introduction of the retort pouch.

S&B has continually striven to improve our retort pouch curry. In 1982 our Dinner Curry Retort product line ushered in new, high-quality curry never before seen in a pouch. Since then we have released numerous retort curries that have gained a huge following, including Japanese, Indian and European varieties.

  • Retort pouch curry
  • Retort pouch curry
  • Retort pouch curry

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Original Japanese curries

Powdered, roux and retort pouch curry are the most popular in homes, but venture into a curry restaurant and you’ll discover another aspect of Japanese curry culture. Many items on the menu were concocted soon after curry appeared in Japan and are evidence of the country’s love for the dish.

Curry udon Curry udon

・Curry udon
A bowl of popular udon noodles in a thick curry-flavored broth. A Tokyo original since 1904, the flavor also contains a hint of soy sauce and traditional udon broth. A wonderful mix of Japanese and Western tastes.

・Curry and cutlet
Thick curry sauce over a deep-fried pork cutlet.
Another blend of Japanese and Western tastes that originated in Tokyo in 1918.

・Curry bread
Deep-fried bread made with curry.
This unusual bread was first made in 1927 and is so unique that it was patented!

  • Curry and cutlet

    Curry and cutlet

  • Curry bread

    Curry bread

・Curry snacks

The country is also awash in curry-flavored snacks, drinks and other treats that are always popular with curry loving Japanese!

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S&B’s culture of curry

Since S&B’s founder Minejiro Yamazaki succeeded in making Japan’s first curry powder in 1923, we have been instrumental in popularizing curry in every corner of Japan. Our convenient curry sauce mix and retort curries were breakthroughs in the culinary world, and we continue to advance and promote the country’s love affair with this warm, mellow dish.

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