Japanese Instant Curry Roux – Halal or Not??
For the past few weeks I’ve been craving Japanese curry. Whenever my friend do an open house for Hari Raya, he would serve rice with Japanese curry (we studied in a Japanese school hence why it’s very Japanese oriented Raya hehe). So lately I’ve been wanting to try to make one. I read that majority if not all housewives make curry using curry roux which you can buy in store in Japan. Of course you can find recipe to make the curry roux from scratch but it’s just not the same. But what surprised me, and actually disappoint me was that after googling I found out that all of the Japanese curry roux which you can find in Japanese stores are NOT HALAL. Not even ones that claimed to be for vegetarian.
When I went shopping I saw this golden curry roux from S&B, the only curry roux available in Jusco Ipoh. On the package it mentions ‘NO MEAT CONTAINED‘.. at the back it also says “NO MEAT-RELATED PRODUCT CONTAINED‘. So I fgured this is somewhat ‘halal’ to eat, as it has no meat or meat related product in it. I made my first Japanese curry. IT WAS DIVINE. It was so awesome.
But I’m still a bit suspicious about the ingredients. Googling gives me more disappointment because I can’t find any info on this S&B product beside its official website – S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix. True enough that the ingredients do not contain any meat product.
WHEAT FLOUR, EDIBLE OIL(PALM OIL, CANOLA OIL), SALT, SUGAR, CURRY POWDER, SPICES, COLOUR:E150a, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, MALIC ACID, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE
I googled each of the ingredients and was disappointed again to find out that ‘Disodium Inosinate’ CAN be non-halal if derived from animal. From wikipedia, it says:
Disodium inosinate is generally produced from meat or from fish. Alternately, it may be produced from tapioca starch without any animal products involved in the production. Therefore, disodium inosinate may not be suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and in most cases not suitable for observant Jews, Muslims and Hindu, depending on the origin of the product. Like rennet it is normally a non-vegetarian product; only the producer can provide information on the origin although it is in some cases labelled as “vegetarian” in ingredients lists when produced from plant sources
Unsatisfied, I decided to email S&B and clarify this once and for all. I don’t wanna stop eating the curry because I love it, and it’s so awesome. Today I got an official reply from S&B.
Thank you very much for your message and interest in our products.
I am Hiroki working for S&B FOODS INC as a sales for Southeast of Asia.
Regarding your question,
The product does not contain meat or meat-related products as you said, but we don’t have any HALAL certificate.
As for your question, Disodium Inosinate in its ingredients are derived tapioca and sugarcane, NOT animal meat.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any further questions.
Hiroki Ito (Mr.)
Thank you S&B!
Do you have any idea how happy I am to know this? It sucks that all curry roux are not halal, so I’m very happy to find one that is halal. Sure, it doesn’t have any halal certification, but I’m fine with finding out that none of the ingredients contain non halal product and that disodium inosinate derived from tapioca and sugarcane instead of animal so I can eat in peace now. I love Japanese curry because of the taste and the thickness of it. I don’t like Indian curry that much because it’s runny, and not that fond of malay curry because of the thickness of coconut milk and oil.
No wonder I can’t find any other Japanese curry roux brand in Jusco Ipoh anymore except for S&B.
So yeah, to any Muslims who are suspicious about Japanese curry, you now know that this one is safe to eat. Another one that I heard is halal is ‘Kenko Foods Gourmet Curry‘ though I haven’t found it yet in my city.