Kare Pan, aka Japanese curry bread, is filled with a delicious savory curry filling, covered by soft fluffy bread, and coated with crispy panko. It’s one of the most common pastries seen in many Japanese bakeries and “conbini” which means convenience stores.
If you love Japanese curry, then you’ll absolutely love this. By the way, I do have a delicious Japanese curry recipe! If you haven’t seen that recipe yet, what are you waiting for? Click here to check it out.
- 180g (1 cup) – Japanese curry, click here for recipe
- 320g (2 ½ cup) – bread flour
- 200g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) – warm non-dairy milk (100°F), I used soy
- ½ teaspoon – kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon – active dry yeast
- 52g (¼ cup) – granulated sugar
- 28g (2 tbsp) – vegan butter, softened at room temp
- ¾ cup (g) – panko bread crumbs
- Oil for frying
- 2 deep pots / dutch oven
- measure cups & spoons
- rolling pin
- pastry brush/silicone brush
- parchment paper
- baking sheet
- wire rack / plate with a tea towel
Night Before – Thicken the curry:
- Before starting, you want your curry to be thick and slightly pasty, not saucy. If you followed my Japanese curry recipe, you want to thicken it up a little bit. I recommend doing this the night before. This will just make the process go by smoother the next day as you make the dough and assembly.
- Place the curry into a large pot and heat it on medium-high. Stirring occasionally until the curry starts to thicken. Depending on how saucy the curry is, this will probably take about 25-30 minutes or more. Just be patient!
- Once you get a thick pasty texture, allow it to cool down to room temp. Cover and place it in the fridge overnight.
Next Day – Dough:
- The next day, set out your butter 30 minutes before to soften at room temp.
- Warm up the milk to 100°F or until warm to the touch, mix in the yeast and allow it to bloom for 10 minutes. While you wait, mix together the bread flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer.
- When the yeast is done activating, add it with the dry ingredients. Using a dough hook attachment, mix on the lowest setting until you get a shaggy dough. Scraping the sides if needed.
- While the dough is kneading, add the softened butter one cube at a time until it is fully kneaded in. Increase the mixer speed to 2 and continue to knead the dough for 10 minutes. It should be smooth and elastic, and when you poke it, it bounces back.
- Move the dough to a work surface (you do not need to add flour to the work surface, the dough is not that sticky), and shape it into a round taut ball. Gather the ends of the dough to the middle, and pinch them together. Flip it over with the seam side down and use your hands to move it around in a circle. Tucking the dough underneath itself, pull their tops taut. Place the shaped dough into a large lightly oiled bowl (or just use the same stand mixer bowl). Cover with a damp cloth or plastic and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. At this point, remove the curry from the fridge, allow it to come to room temp as you wait for your dough to rise.
- Once your dough has doubled in size, remove the cover and punch down the dough to release the built up gas. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (use a food scale for more accuracy). Roll each piece of dough into small taut balls, cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Assembly & Cooking:
- Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside.
- Working with one dough at a time, flatten the dough with a rolling pin to 4 ½ inches in diameter. Flip it over so that the rough side is up and the smooth side is down. With your hands flatten and stretch the edges of the dough about ½ inch more so that you have thinner edges and a thicker center.
- (View video tutorial below) Take about a heaping tablespoon of curry and place it in the center. (Keep the curry out of the edges!) Take the top and bottom edges of the dough and bring it over and tightly pinch it together, fold the edges over and pinch again. (like a hand pie or empanada), and flatten the seam. Repeat for the rest of the dough. Make sure that they are properly sealed or they’ll start to open as they rise.
- Once each bun has been filled and sealed, roll it in soy milk. Then roll and cover in the panko. Lightly press the bread crumbs into the dough to ensure it sticks and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the dough. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes until it has visibly doubled in size.
- While you wait for the dough to do its second rise, fill a pot with 3-4 inches of oil. You’ll need a lot so it floats and doesn’t touch the bottom. Preheat the oil in a large pot or deep fryer at a steady 320° or medium-low heat. When the dough has doubled in size, place 2-3 pieces of curry filled dough, seam side down, into the oil. After a few seconds, flip it over and allow the smooth side to cook for a few seconds. (You might need to hold it down with tongs because these tend to roll around on their own.) Then continue to fry while continuing to rotate the bread until they are golden brown all around.
- Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a tea towel over a plate or a cooling rack. Allow to fully cool before serving! Enjoy!
- Keep an eye on these, if they are getting brown too quickly that means your oil is too hot and you will still have raw dough in the middle. If this happens, reduce the heat and try again.
- These will keep in the fridge for a couple days, or you can freeze these for weeks. You can reheat them in the microwave or in the oven.
Keywords: bread, curry, japanese, vegan, entree, snack