I’m not Japanese, let’s just get that right out there. Some might say, “Why post this recipe then?” Because it’s REALLY good, that’s why. On my very first visit to Japan years ago I had my first plate of Japanese chicken curry and I fell in love.
When I came home I’d think about it but I never tried making it because, well, I wasn’t Japanese. It was like I needed a skill I would never have so I waited until my return to Japan to enjoy it again.
Then one day last week I saw a recipe for Japanese Curry Rice by Serious Eats on another blog and I knew in an instant I wanted to make it. The blogger who’d posted the recipe even used Serious Eats’ photo so when I checked the photo, I found the original recipe and I give them full credit for it. This is Japanese Chicken Curry for someone like me who loves it and didn’t think about making it at home.
This recipe is really easy to make and I loved every bite of it.
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 large onions sliced thin
- 2 pounds chicken thighs cleaned and cut into chunks
- 2 carrots cut into chunks
- 4 cups water
- 2 large potatoes cut into large chunks
- 1 small apple peeled cored and pureed (I use a box grater)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (use less if you use regular salt)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ cup peas
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons garam masala (or curry powder)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (add less if you want it mild or more if you want it spicy - I used MUCH less and it was spicy)
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ketchup (or tomato paste)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or tonkatsu sauce
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat and add the onions. Sauté the onions with a pinch of salt until they are golden brown and caramelized. It will take about 30 minutes of occasional stirring. Remove the onions to a bowl and set aside.
- Turn up the heat to high, add the chicken and stiry-fry until lightly browned on all sides.
- Return the onions to the pan and add the carrots and the water, then bring to a boil. Skim off any foam or oil that accumulates at the surface then lower heat to medium.
- Add the potatoes, puréed apple, salt, and garam masala and simmer for about 30 minutes or until you can pass a fork through the carrots and potatoes and the meat is tender.
- While the curry is cooking, in a small skillet melt the butter over medium low heat.
- When the butter bubbles, add the flour and garam masala, stirring until you have a thick paste. Add the cayenne pepper and some fresh ground black pepper and incorporate into the roux. Add the ketchup and Worcestershire (or tonkatsu) sauce and combine.
- Continue to cook until the paste starts crumbling. Remove from heat and set aside until the meat and veggies are ready.
- When the vegetables are tender, ladle about 2 cups of liquid into the roux then whisk until it's smooth. Pour this mixture back into the other pot and gently stir until thickened.
- Add the peas and heat through.
- Serve over rice
Amy (Savory Moments) says
I’m not very familiar with Japanese food, but this curry is really intriguing. Some of the ingredients are fascinating apple, ketchup, and I never would have thought Garam masala would be in a Japanese curry! What an interesting dish!
Never had Japanese curry, but love everything that’s inside this dish! Looks comforting and delicious! Pinned 🙂
I have a feeling you could cook any ethnic dish! You’ve done an excellent job with this curry!
Shashi at RunninSrilankan says
Today I learned something new, thanks to you, Maureen! Prior to this post, I had no clue there was such a thing as Japanese Curry! And Garam masala features heavily in it! This looks fabulous
Maureen, I laughed at the “I’m not Japanese” comment. If we only made dishes that came out of our ethnic culture, a lot of us would be eating pretty boring meals. I’m amazed that you made your own roux for the curry though. Like a lot of people (even Japanese mom’s I bet) I use one of the MANY brands of packaged Japanese curry pastes when I make Japanese curry.
I’ve only made Japanese beef (and lamb) curry. I don’t know why I haven’t tried chicken before. I’ll have to give your roux recipe a try. 🙂
Marilyn Lesniak says
I have never had curry before, but this looks mighty tasty. Copied and trying next week!
John@Kitchen Riffs says
Really nice looking curry! Different from the Indian and other curries I know. But of course the question is, if you’re not Japanese can you even eat this? 😀 Good recipe — thanks.
Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) says
Yep – this is going on the must try – thanks for sharing Maureen.
I also almost spilled water all over the keyboard with the “I am not Japanese” – you are too much, Maureen… too too funny!
now I can go back and pay attention to the recipe…
Hotly Spiced says
The chicken curry looks really good and I think you can call it whatever you like. Yes, you have to be careful when adding cayenne pepper – a little goes very, very far. Plenty of flavour in this dish and as the weather cools, this is the sort of meal I want to be eating xx
Veronica (Roni) says
Yes, very intriguing…I have never had a Japanese curry. Didn’t even know they made them…
But Japan (& Japanese food) is special to me, so I will be giving it a whirl :))
Thanks for testing & sharing Maureen.
Neli @ Delicious Meets Healthy says
I haven’t had Japanese chicken curry before, only regular chicken curry. If it’s anything like that, i know i will love it! This recipe sounds really delicious, and i m putting it on my to try list. I love the combination of spices and ingredients you use here!
Too funny! I’ve never thought is making Japenese curry before I assumed it would take hours to cook and have a long list of ingredients. Pinning for later.
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
I love these kind of recipes – a taste of Japan sounds wonderful! It really looks satisfying and hardy!
wow this looks delicious! Thank you for sharing, I will definitely be trying this out as I have never tried making japanese curry!
If we posted food from our cuisine only, our world would be such a boring place! I am glad you posted this curry. I have never tried cooking a Japanese curry and this looks awesome, so I have to try making some.
Ciao Florentina says
I have never ever had this or anything like this before. Looks really good, maybe its time for a culinary adventure in my kitchen 🙂
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
I’ve never tried a japanese curry before but judging from this post it is clearly something I would love (and need to try) – what a flavoursome and inviting dish Maureen!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
This sounds really good! I’ve only had Japanese curries made with the curry blocks. I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of them although they are very easy to cook. I think I’d prefer this!
Japanese curry? I never knew that Japanese makes curry! This sounds very good; I am going to try this recipe asap!
I have never tried my hands at Japanese food always believing that my pantry would not be equipped with the required ingredients but going through your recipe I realized that I can easily dish it up in my kitchen!! Thanks for sharing.
Bam's Kitchen says
You are making miss Japan. I have never made Japanese curry from scratch at home. I usually always by the “House” brand the mild one with the apples on the front. That is important as it is written only in Katakana, hiragana and kanji,even the directions. Your version looks delish. You make even “brown food” look good, how do you do that! Sharing, of course!
That picture made my mouth water. It screams, “Eat me. Eat me.” Looks fabulous! MUST try.
Judy @Savoring Today says
If I had only seen the photo, at first glance I would have thought it was a southern gravy, but looking closer you can see the spices. I’ve not tried Japanese curry, but I like the ingredient list for sure.
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says
I love curry dishes and this one looks loaded with flavor, Maureen!
Gourmet Getaways says
Ooh, the addition of tonkatsu sauce made the difference! Nice version!
Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx
Oh my Japanese dish with curry!!! I’ve never heard of that before, I thought curry was not used in the Japanese cuisine … How ignorant of me :).. I love Japanese, Chinese and Korean cooking. I’ll try this for sure.
I have the same feeling that Liz !! You can cook all !! This recipe looks gorgeous !
The Ninja Baker says
Maureen! The minute I saw this post slide into my inbox I got excited! Japanese curry is the BEST! And I am sooo impressed you’ve made this from scratch. If you visit Japanese markets in Sydney (or one closer to you) inevitably you’ll see the House Curry – which takes care of all the heavy lifting =) But, again, hats off to you for creating homemade deliciousness! P.s. Down the street from our apartment, there is an authentic rice balls (omusubi/onigiri) restaurant which serves Japanese curry omusubi =) Come visit and I’ll treat you =)
You’re on! 🙂
The Ninja Baker says
Okay, second try….Don’t quite understand why some comments stick and others don’t…Anyway, The minute I saw your Japanese Curry post into my inbox I got excited….I almost abandoned my grownup duties and rushed over to your site. Delighted to see that you’ve made the delectable dish from scratch! Truly homemade deeeeeliciousness is the best. Bravo! P.s. Love to treat you to the Japanese onigiri/omusubi (rice ball) restaurant down the street (in Santa Monica) which serves Japanese curry onigiri! =)
I love Japanese food, but this recipe takes off in a little bit of a different direction than I’m used to, I love it Maureen!
Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says
I am a die-hard fan of practically anything curry and this looks and sounds wonderful!
This is a dish I must try. You don’t have to be Japanse, Spanish or whatever else to cook their wonderful dishes. If it is good it you just have to do it 🙂 This is what I think as well.
Lucy @ Bake Play Smile says
I can’t believe how easy this is!! I’m definitely going to make this during the week. I love the flavours in it! Don’t you love hen you try a dish overseas and know that you need to make it yourself!
Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) says
Love..love..love a good curry and this looks like a new version adventure. Thanks for posting this one Maureen.
Sara | Belly Rumbles says
Love a good Japanese curry.
Kathryn Dilligard says
Mmmm. Japanese chicken curry. Yum!
Dedy@Dentist Chef says
wow, simply damn delicious and comforting meals!!!
Chris Scheuer says
Wow, I’ve never even heard of Japanese curry. It sounds wonderful. I love all kinds of international dishes even though I am pure 100% American-German 🙂
Simply Sweet Justice says
I am not a fan of curry, but you may just change that!! 🙂 This looks great.
Eva Taylor says
We’re expecting a deep freeze again tomorrow so I’m salivating as I read this post. I’m curious as to why this is a Japanese curry? I don’t see any traditional Japanese ingredients? Maybe it’s a westernized version? Now I’ve got to check it out, you’ve got me curious. It does look delicious.
I have no idea, Eva. We began flying JAL to the US via Narita years ago when they offered a spouse/companion discount. At one of the meals there was always something called Japanese curry, either beef or chicken. Then when we got to the hotel, Japanese chicken or beef curry was on the menu. Then we spent a couple of weeks in Tokyo and you guessed it, Japanese chicken curry on several menus.
Why is it called Japanese? I have no idea 🙂
Lizzy (Good Things) says
I was wondering what makes it Japanese too… perhaps a bastardised version? Looks tasty though!
Norma Chang says
Don’t think I ever had Japanese curry definitely going to try this recipe.
I love curries but hardly ever make them. This recipe looks like something that will get me in the mood to make more in the future. Thanks Maureen ????
Kathleen | HapaNom says
Maureen, this recipe is taking me back. My dad used to make Japanese curry all the time – so addicting! I love all of the flavors in your recipe. (And you certainly don’t have to be Japanese to make awesome Japanese Chicken Curry) 🙂
Nice to see you made this from scratch, I usually make them with those Japanese curry cubes 🙂
Anna @ shenANNAgans says
I freakin heart the bajinkas outta curry, but I’ve never tried a Japanese curry before, even though none of the ingredients stand out as particularly Japanese. Thanks for the inspiration Maureen. Cant wait to try it. 🙂
I didn’t even know they ate curries in Japan! You’ve made my world a little bigger today. 🙂
Abbe @ This is How I Cook says
So I guess this is Japanese comfort food? It doesn’t matter what it’s called-but I bet it is!
I love katsu curry. I don’t make it that often, seeing this I have the urge to make it tonight.
Mary Frances says
Yum! Maureen, this curry looks so hearty and flavorful!
I appreciate how accessible all the ingredients are. I’m not Japanese either, but it sure looks delicious!
Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish says
Japanese or not, you made this dish perfectly! You have such a gift for putting simple ingredients together and creating masterpieces, Maureen! Hugs.
This curry looks more like a retro chicken a la king which is my absolute favourite from the 70s. Having grown up in Malaysia, I’ll pass on Jap curry coz it’ll never be as spicy as how I love my curries to be.
This will not melt your lips off. I ordered a curry in KL years ago and I shudder at the thought. I wanted to look in a mirror to see if I still HAD lips. I’ve never eaten anything that hot before (or since). I wonder if they saw the lone American woman and thought they’d have fun? LOL
Looked good. Try to do it next weekend. Thanks
HI, very nice! Mniam!
Has anyone ever made it??? And was it as good as it sounds???
just made this. Sauce is DELICIOUS just like the real deal. Total keeper.
I made this for dinner, and this is good.. i use red onion and white pepper. I can imagine how this would be best with black pepper..