Top view of pork curry on plate with rice.

Japanese Pork Belly Curry

5 from 1 reviews

A rich and savory Japanese Pork Curry made with melt-in-your-mouth thinly sliced pork belly, carrots, and potatoes. It’s easy to make with Japanese curry roux cubes, wonderfully spiced, and irresistible with steamed rice!





  1. Prepare the ingredients: Cut the thinly sliced hotpot/shabu shabu style pork belly into bite-sized strips. Prepare the yellow onion, ginger, garlic, red chilies, carrots, and potatoes as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section. Mix ½ cup of water and 1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch in a measuring cup (or small bowl) until evenly combined and a slurry has formed.

For the Japanese Pork Belly Curry:

  1. Sauté onion and aromatics: Heat the unsalted butter and peanut oil in a large nonstick wok or deep heavy bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot and the butter is frothing, add the yellow onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger, garlic, and red chilies and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  2. Cook the pork: Push everything to the side of the wok and add the pork. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until no longer pink, then toss to combine with everything else in the wok.
  3. Add the veggies: Add the carrots and potatoes and sauté for a minute until slightly softened. Then pour in the 4 cups of water and stir to combine. Cover the wok and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
  4. Stir in the curry cubes: Uncover the wok and turn the heat down to low. Add the curry cubes and stir continuously until fully dissolved – about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Stir in seasonings. Turn the heat back up to medium-low and stir in the apple juice, Japanese sake, kosher salt, black pepper powder, garam masala, ground cayenne, double concentrated tomato paste, honey, and low sodium light soy sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the wok.
  6. Add cornstarch slurry: Give the cornstarch slurry a quick stir with a spoon (the corn starch will have settled at the bottom). Then pour it into the wok and stir to combine. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, until the curry further thickens. Switch off the heat.
  7. To Serve: Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve immediately with warm steamed rice.


  1. Pork. Hotpot/shabu shabu style thinly sliced pork belly meat is available at Asian supermarkets. You’re welcome to use shabu shabu beef or even lamb if you prefer.
  2. Japanese Curry Cubes. I used S&B Extra Hot Curry Roux Cubes, but you can use Mild, Medium, or Hot curry cubes based on your heat level preference. Look for Japanese curry cubes in Asian supermarkets or a speciality Japanese ingredients store.
  3. Japanese Sake. This Japanese cooking wine can be found in Asian supermarkets. It adds depth of flavor, but you can leave it out if you prefer not to cook with alcohol.
  4. Spice level. Omit or use less fresh red chilies and ground cayenne based on your spice level preference.
  5. Protein swaps. You can use 454 grams / 1 pound of diced or boneless and skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), sliced flank steak, or sliced pork tenderloin instead of the thinly sliced pork belly shabu shabu style meat if you wish. I recommend seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, then cooking it first in a tablespoon of oil in a wok/pan. Transfer to a clean bowl, and add it back into the curry after dissolving the curry roux cubes in step 4.
  6. Make it vegetarian/vegan. Omit the meat, and add crispy pan-fried tofu cubes or fried tofu puffs after stirring in the curry cubes. You can also add more veggies such as cauliflower, bell pepper (any color), snap peas, broccoli, etc. Also, make sure that the brand of curry roux cubes you’re using are vegetarian/vegan. S&B Golden Curry brand curry roux cubes are 100% vegetarian/vegan.
  7. Curry consistency. Feel free to add more cornstarch (2-3 tablespoons) to the cornstarch slurry if a thicker curry consistency is desired.
  8. Storing and reheating leftovers. Store leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat on high in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring once in between, until hot throughout. 

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The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.