Japanese Chicken Curry


Growing up in Hawaii, Japanese curry was a standard meal at home.

Japanese curry, sweeter than Thai or Indian curries, is usually made with instant roux blocks like this S & B Curry Sauce Mix. It is an easy dish to make with meat and vegetables, and served over steaming white rice.

After years of making curry with instant mix, it occurred to me that I could probably make my own homemade version, without the need for the instant mix. As I flipped through the March 2014 issue of Saveur magazine, I came across this recipe for Japanese curry that sounded like it had a similar taste profile to what I was looking for.

It was perfect. Subtly sweet, with just the right blend of curry and garlic. For the curry powder, I used some non-fancy, very basic powder that was in my spice collection. I generally followed the recipe, using chicken thighs, and the addition of some Sriracha sauce for heat.

My brother, Steve and I (three people who have relatively high  discerning palates for good curry) all agreed that this curry should be made again.

It tastes as good as (if not better than) the kind made from instant mix. If you’re searching for a truly homemade version of Japanese curry, this is the one.

Japanese Curry

Adapted from Saveur

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 lb. meat (either boneless beef chuck or chicken), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoons garam masala
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1″ wedges
1 (1 1/2″) piece ginger, grated
1/3 cup flour
6 cups beef stock
3 tablespoons honey
1 bay leaf
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Sriracha sauce, optional
Cooked white rice, for serving

Melt butter in 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season meat with salt and cook until browned, 8–10 minutes; using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. Add curry, garam masala, garlic, carrots, onion, and ginger; cook until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add flour; cook 2 minutes. Add meat, stock, honey, and bay leaf; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until beef is tender, 1 hour. Add potatoes; cook until tender, 30 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and Sriracha; serve with rice. Serves 6-8.

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