Japanese Chicken Curry
I grew up watching anime series during my childhood. I still remember about that one mouthwatering moment wherein my favorite character sits down to devour a delicious meal. The food portrayed an appealing look that represents the art of Japanese cuisine often leaves me feeling hungry. One of the most commonly dish mentioned in anime is Japanese Curry or known as カレーライス ( karē raisu / curry rice).
Many anime shows feature curry in different way, shape, or form. Among those varieties, the most common curry dish in Japan is basically a rice dish served with lots of curry. For basic ingredients include beef, pork, and chicken for the meat and onions, carrots, and potatoes for vegetable.
I actually have been wanting to make this Japanese curry by myself since a long time ago. However, I had this perception that making Japanese curry at home is difficult and time consuming. This all changed when I found out prepackage Japanese curry roux at supermarket. Following Japanese Chicken Curry recipe by Just One Cookbook, I successfully made my first attempt on Japanese curry.
I was really happy that the curry I made really tasted the same just like the one I tried at restaurants. Japanese curry is derived from Indian curry, but definitely does not resemble what you would find in an Indian restaurant. If you have never tasted it, the typical Japanese curry is thicker in texture and tastes sweeter and less spicy than Indian curry because Japanese curry uses flour for the thickening agent with less spices in it.
Tips on Making Japanese Curry
1. Read the label of store-bought Japanese curry roux
I must say the prepackage Japanese curry roux is a life safer. The solid roux is already made with all flavor packed inside which melts easily in hot liquid. You just need to cook vegetables and meat in water, after which the solid chunks of roux are added to the broth. You can usually find the prepackage Japanese curry roux in 3 levels of spiciness – mild, medium, and hot. I personally prefer the mild one because it has a sweeter flavor.
2. Caramelize the onions
The key of making great Japanese is in the caramelized onions. The onions not only add a ton of umami and flavor to the curry, they also provide the characteristic sweetness without using sugar.
3. Don’t skimp on the apple and honey
Adding grated apple and honey are the secret ingredients that gives the Japanese curry the signature sweet flavor and is a staple for any Japanese mother’s home-cooked curry.
4. Dissolve the roux evenly
To achieve smooth soup evenly without any lumps, I recommend to dissolve the roux through a sieve into the soup. To do that, all you have to do is place a few blocks of the roux in the sieve, lower it into the broth, and then use the back of spoon to push it through. You can also dissolve the roux completely into a small bowl of the soup until it is completely dissolves before adding it into your pot. Whichever way you go, just make sure there is no chunk in your soup.
5. Adjust the thickness
There is already a thickening agent in all brands of prepackaged Japanese curry roux. However, there are some people might prefer the broth to be a bit thinner or thicker. It is an easier case for those who want to thin the broth, you just need to add water until you achieve the desired consistency.
If you want to thicken your broth, you can start by simply simmering your broth on low heat until the sauce reduces. You can also add a cornstarch slurry to the broth to help thicken it. Start mixing cornstarch and equal amount of cold water. Stir until well combined. Then, stir in the cornstarch slurry into the broth little by little until you get the thickness you like. Bring the broth to a boil and simmer until any starch has been cooked. If it is not thick enough, try adding another dose of cornstarch slurry.
Japanese Chicken Curry
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (450 gr) cut into bite sized
- ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 large onions cut into thick wedges
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 inch ginger (1 cm) finely grated
- 2 medium carrots peeled, cut into bite-sized triangular chunks
- 2 large potatoes peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (1 liter)
- 1 apple peeled, cored, grated
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 box Japanese curry roux (200 gr)
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- soft/hard-boiled eggs for topping
Season chicken all over with salt and pepper.
Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat and stir in onions until they become translucent. Stir in garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add chicken and let the chicken and cook until it changes color.
Add carrots and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and skim the excess fat from the surface of the soup.
Add grated apple, honey, and salt. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Add potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir the roux through a sieve into the soup. Stir until well combined.
Add soy sauce and ketchup. Simmer in low heat until the soup thicken.
Serve curry with hot rice and eggs.