Kitchn Love Letters

The $5 Dinner Shortcut My Mom Always Has on Hand — And Now I Do Too

published Nov 2, 2022
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Credit: Jill Chen/Stocksy

As a product of the efficiency-oriented ’80s and ’90s (microwaves and canned peaches, anyone?), my family, like many, had a go-to comfort food that came from a box. Maybe your family always reached for the iconic blue box of Kraft mac and cheese or Hamburger Helper for a quick dinner. For us, it was S&B Golden Curry

My mom always had a few boxes tucked away in the pantry, which she would reach for when she was feeling too exhausted to come up with something new for dinner. When I was a kid, these were the best meals — reliable and incredibly comforting. When the smell of the rich curry sauce cooking on the stove would reach my room, I would dash downstairs to the kitchen to bask in its savory aromas, drooling in anticipation of dinner. 

Credit: Irene Yoo

What’s So Great About S&B Golden Japanese Curry Mix?

S&B Golden Curry is a boxed form of Japanese curry, a dish that’s extremely popular in Japan and Korea. While curry sauce mixes can often be found in powder form, S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix comes in a bar, similar to a chocolate bar, with squares meant to be broken apart. These dark yellow bricks are instant curry roux, containing the curry powder, flour, oil, and seasonings needed to make a perfect pot of curry.

I love this curry mix because the flavors and aromas are above and beyond that of other curry mixes. Sure, you could make Japanese curry from scratch, but this box has already dialed in the perfect ratio of flavor and seasoning. The bricks are not only satisfying to snap apart, but they also create a silkier, thicker sauce than the powdered mixes. The moment you tear open the box, you’ll already smell the rich savoriness of the curry powder.

Credit: Alice Choi

What’s the Best Way to Use S&B Golden Japanese Curry Mix?

The next time you’re at H Mart, add these ingredients to your basket: one box of S&B Golden Curry ($4.99), a pound of cubed beef or pork ($6.64), one carrot ($0.41), one potato ($0.84), and one onion ($0.65). For a whopping $13.53 you’ve got dinner for a family of four, plus leftovers. 

When you get home, the recipe comes together in just 30 minutes. Dice your vegetables to your preferred size, sauté with the meat, and follow the package directions to complete the curry. When adding the S&B Golden Curry blocks, I like to add just enough water or broth to cover the vegetables, then break up the squares and add them in, mixing until they dissolve thoroughly. This makes it easier to evenly incorporate the curry mix. After the curry squares dissolve, add the rest of your liquid and cook according to the box instructions.

I’ve shared this meal with countless friends, who’ve all been completely sold on the ease, convenience, and deliciousness of this meal. The ingredients are simple (and might already be in your pantry), the curry comes together with minimal chopping and stirring, and the flavors of the final dish are both familiar and exciting. Leftovers keep well in the fridge or freezer, so make a big batch to set yourself up for busy nights ahead.

And S&B Curry blocks aren’t just for curry. Add a block to your noodle soup or when you’re braising meat for extra flavor and umami. I, like my mother before me, always keep a few boxes tucked away in my pantry — either for a quick seasoning boost, or for the most comforting dinner in a pinch.

Buy: S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix, $3.49 (originally $4.49)

What’s your go-to grocery shortcut? Tell us about it in the comments.