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This Japanese Curry Recipe is thick and comforting, with tender chicken, carrots, and potatoes. It’s a curry known for its unique blend of sweet and savory notes from a few secret ingredients.

Japanese curry over a bed of rice

Why You’ll Love This Japanese Chicken Curry Recipe

  • Change Up Your Curry Game. Here in the U.S., Thai curries (Massaman Curry) and Indian curries (Chicken Tikka Masala) are the most well-known. This Japanese curry recipe (also known as curry rice or kare raisu) is something different!
  • Uniquely Flavorful. One of my favorite parts of Japanese cuisine is its masterful blend of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors. Japanese curry is no exception, which has apple for sweetness, mushroom broth for umami, and tomato paste for acidity.
  • No Store-Bought Curry Roux Needed. Instead of dry spices (like Indian curry) or curry paste (like Thai curry), Japanese curry is made with curry roux, a blend of fat, flour, and spices all cooked together. In Japan, Japanese curry is so popular, you can purchase curry roux in a box, but this curry features an easy homemade curry roux that’s more accessible for American cooks. (For another unique curry experience with everyday pantry spices, check out Jamaican Curry).
  • Hearty and Filling. Japanese curry is thick, like a rich gravy or stew (Thai curries by comparison are thinner). Between the protein-rich chicken, veggies, and rice for serving, this is a meal that’s incredibly satisfying.
Japanese chicken curry

How to Make This Japanese Curry Recipe

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Flavor-packed chicken thighs are more difficult to overcook than chicken breast, meaning they’ll stay tender and juicy during cooking.
  • Ginger + Garlic. These are important flavor builders, so make sure you use the real thing. It’s worth the extra step! Also builds similar flavors in Miso Ramen.
  • Carrots. Carrots are both a nutritious and delicious addition to this curry.
  • Potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes become perfectly tender during cooking and add wonderful texture to the curry.
  • Apple. A delightfully sweet addition that complements the more salty and spicy elements. The apple melts into the broth, leaving you with a sweet, fruity note.
  • Mushroom Broth. An umami bomb that gives this curry depth. It’s my swap for dashi, which can be difficult to find or make. You can find it near the boxed chicken, beef, and vegetable broths at the grocery store.
  • Soy Sauce. Another umami all-star for our Japanese curry recipe.
  • Frozen Green Peas. A simple addition that helps sneak in an extra veggie.
  • Spices. Thanks to a vast number of rich, bold spices, this curry does not lack flavor! Cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, chili powder, and nutmeg add warmth and depth of flavor.
  • Flour. To make this Japanese curry recipe gluten free, swap the all-purpose flour for a 1:1 Gluten Free flour.
  • Tomato Paste + Honey. These two ingredients are my simple swap for ketchup, which is commonly used in recipes like this. The combination adds the same tangy sweetness that ketchup would.

Note

I have tremendous respect for Japanese culture and (as with this Chicken Katsu), I make no pretenses that this recipe is meant to be authentic. Rather, I have done my best to recreate this dish in a pared-down way so those who don’t have access to authentic Japanese ingredients can experience it at home.

The Directions

  1. Cook the Chicken and Aromatics. Sear the chicken in oil with salt and pepper. Remove it to a plate. Sauté the onion with the garlic and ginger.
Japanese chicken curry
  1. Simmer. Add the vegetables, grated apple, broth, soy sauce, and chicken. Bring to a boil, then let simmer. Stir the spices together in a bowl.
mushroom broth
  1. Start the Curry Roux. Heat oil in a saucepan, then stir in the flour.
Japanese curry roux
  1. Add the Spices. Stir them in.
japanese curry roux
  1. Finish the Roux. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the tomato paste and honey. Add the mixture to the curry.
peas in curry
  1. Thicken and Serve. Stir the curry, then let it simmer and thicken. Add the peas. Serve and ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate this Japanese curry recipe in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze curry in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, cut the chicken, onion, garlic, carrots, and potatoes. Refrigerate until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

Leftover Ideas

Turn leftovers into a hearty meal by serving the curry over a bed of rice or noodles (soba, ramen, or udon noodles would all be tasty).

pot of Japanese chicken curry

What to Serve with This Japanese Curry Recipe

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Cut the Potatoes Bigger. Cut the potatoes large so that they finish cooking in the same amount of time as the carrots, which are firmer.
  • Brown the Flour. If you rush through the roux for this Japanese curry recipe, you’ll end up with a raw flour taste in the gravy. You want it to darken before you move onto the next step.
  • Use Chicken Thighs. Due to their rich flavor, juiciness, and ability to withstand longer cooking times, I think chicken thighs are the best choice for this recipe. I have not tested the recipe with chicken breasts, and I’m afraid they would end up overcooked. That said, if you don’t mind the chicken a little dry, proceed.
  • Swap in Ketchup. If you’d prefer to use ketchup in this recipe, you can swap it for the tomato paste and honey combo. Omit the tomato paste and add 1 tablespoon of ketchup and 1 tablespoon of honey.
simple Japanese chicken curry over rice

Japanese Curry Recipe

5 from 8 votes
Tender potatoes, carrots and chicken make this easy Japanese curry recipe a satisfying meal. Deeply savory, slightly sweet and so delish!

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Servings: 6 (about 10 cups curry)

Ingredients
  

  • Prepared brown rice for serving, see Instant Pot Brown Rice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or grapeseed oil divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion cut into 1-inch thick chunks
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 4 medium carrots peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 Fuji apple washed and grated (peeling is optional; about 1 cup once grated)
  • 4 cups mushroom broth*
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas

For the Curry Roux:


Instructions
 

  • In a Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, salt, and pepper. Sear the chicken, stirring every few minutes, until it’s mostly cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes (it will finish cooking later). Transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.
  • To the now empty pot, add 1 tablespoon oil and the onion. Sauté stirring every so often, until beginning to brown and turning translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the carrots, potato, apple, mushroom broth, soy sauce, and chicken. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a steady, gentle simmer. Skim off any scum that has risen to the surface. Let simmer uncovered, until the potatoes and carrots are softened, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the curry roux: In a small bowl stir together the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, chili powder, and nutmeg.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the flour and with a wooden spoon, stir quickly and deliberately to toast the flour until it is a dark golden, mushroomy brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the spices and continue cooking and stirring for 1 minute more.
  • Remove the spices from the heat and stir in the tomato paste and honey until smoothly combined. Scrape into the pot with the curry.
  • Give the curry a big stir, making sure the spice paste is very well combined. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the potatoes are nice and fork tender and the curry has thickened a tiny bit more, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the peas. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Let cool at least 5 minutes, then serve with brown rice.

Video

Notes

  • * I used the Pacific Foods brand of mushroom broth.
  • For a spicy or slightly spicy curry, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder to your spice mixture.
  • See JustOneCookbook.com for an authentic Japanese curry recipe using packaged curry roux cubes.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate curry in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze curry in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 (of 6)Calories: 447kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 30gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 108mgPotassium: 1243mgFiber: 7gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 7110IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 122mgIron: 4mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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