tomato curry meal

Tomato Curry with Farro: A Japanese Take on a Global Favorite


Tomato curry, or トマトカレー, is a flavorful and heartwarming dish that brings together the rich tastes of Japan with the tangy sweetness of tomatoes and the nuttiness of farro. Japanese curry, adapted from British influences during the Meiji era, is loved for its mild heat and umami flavor. This particular version incorporates the vibrant taste of tomatoes and the wholesome texture of farro to deliver a comforting, modern twist on a classic. I fondly remember the first time I tried this dish, served with mixed-grain rice and an array of traditional pickles. It was love at first bite!

tomato curry

Cultural Context

Curry has a special place in Japanese cuisine, becoming a staple after its introduction in the 19th century. It’s especially popular in school lunches and home kitchens, with “kare raisu” (curry rice) being a go-to comfort food for many families. Tomato curry, while not as traditional as the standard Japanese curry, showcases the creative spirit of Japanese cooks, incorporating local and international flavors. It’s often prepared for casual gatherings or when a family needs a quick, satisfying meal.


Ingredient Spotlight

  • Farro: This ancient grain brings a delightful nutty flavor and chewy texture to the curry, adding complexity and making it more filling.
  • Konbu Dashi: A savory broth made from dried kelp, providing a subtle umami undertone.
  • Whole Tomatoes & Ketchup: The tomatoes add a bright, tangy sweetness that contrasts beautifully with the earthy spices of the curry powder.
  • Japanese Curry Powder: A blend of spices that includes turmeric, coriander, and cumin, giving the curry its signature aroma and taste.
  • Cashews: Ground into a fine powder, they help thicken the curry and lend a creamy richness.
  • Health Benefits
  • Tomato curry is a nutritional powerhouse, with farro providing fiber and protein while the vegetables and cashews offer vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The tomatoes are high in antioxidants, particularly lycopene, which supports heart health. The spices used in the curry powder are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Cooking Tips

Pre-Cook the Vegetables: Microwave or steam the carrots and potatoes before adding them to the pot. This reduces overall cooking time and ensures they’re perfectly tender.
Ground Cashews: Toast the cashews before processing them into a fine powder for extra flavor. They’ll thicken the curry while adding a rich, nutty note.
Kombu Dashi: Use freshly made dashi to achieve a richer umami base.
Serving Suggestions
Serve the tomato curry over brown rice or white rice mixed with grains (zakkokumai). Top it with freshly chopped green onions, parsley, and an assortment of Japanese pickles such as fukujinzuke or rakkyo. Pair it with a cold glass of barley tea (mugicha) for a refreshing and balanced meal.

ingredients for tomato curry



1 cup dried farro, cooked
4 cups konbu dashi
1 ½ cups potatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup baby carrots, halved
1 – 1 ½ cups onions, thinly sliced
1 cup bell peppers, sliced
2 tsp ginger garlic paste (or 1 tsp crushed garlic + 1 tsp grated ginger)
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
28 oz can whole tomatoes
½ cup ketchup
6 Tbsp Japanese curry powder
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp shiokoji
½ cup unsalted cashews, toasted and ground into a fine powder
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese tea, matcha bowls and noren and more!

** Curious about the Plant Based Japanese Cooking Club? ** Learn more here!


For Serving:

Brown rice or white rice with mixed grains
Chopped green onions, finely chopped parsley, pickles (fukujinzuke, rakkyo, takuan, benishouga etc.)



  1. C ook the Farro:Cook farro according to package directions and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Dashi: Make the konbu dashi. Once done, remove the konbu and set the dashi aside, keeping it warm.
  3. Cook the Vegetables: In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and cook the onions and bell peppers until they begin to brown, stirring occasionally (about 4 minutes).
  4. Microwave the carrots and potatoes for about 5 minutes until softened.
  5. Sauté and Add Flavor: Add ginger garlic paste to the onions and bell peppers, cooking for 30-45 seconds until fragrant.
  6. Add in the carrots, potatoes, and flour, coating the vegetables. Cook until the flour turns light tan-brown.
  7. Add the Tomatoes and Spices: Add in the canned tomatoes with juice, ketchup, curry powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, shiokoji, ground cashews, and about ¾ cup of cooked farro.
  8. Stir to evenly distribute and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Serve and Enjoy: Serve the tomato curry over rice with your desired toppings, and enjoy!


Tomato curry with farro is a unique and versatile dish that embodies the innovative spirit of Japanese cuisine. Its rich flavors and hearty ingredients make it perfect for casual dinners or special occasions. Give this recipe a try and share your thoughts in the comments! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for future posts. Happy cooking!

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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese tea, matcha bowls and noren and more!

** Curious about the Plant Based Japanese Cooking Club? ** Learn more here!


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