Japanese Curry from Scratch

Japanese Curry from ScratchJapanese curry (カレー) from scratch. Loaded with tender hunks of chicken, carrots and potatoes in a rich savory curry sauce.


  • CourseEntree
  • CuisineJapanese
  • Yield4 serving
  • Cooking Time1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Preperation Time10 minutes
  • Total Time1 hour, 30 minutes


For curry
boneless skinless chicken thighs
550 grams
1 teaspoon
ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon
garlic (~2 large cloves, grated)
14 grams
fresh ginger (~1/2-inch piece, grated)
14 grams
onion (2 large onions, thinly sliced)
500 grams
curry powder (Japanese brand such as S&B)
3 tablespoons
low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups
carrots (~ 2 carrots, cut into chunks)
300 grams
apple (peeled, cored and grated)
0.5 medium
chunou sauce
2 tablespoons
tomato paste
1 tablespoon
unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
bay leaf
potatoes (~2 medium potatoes cut into large chunks)
350 grams
frozen green peas
1/2 cup
for roux
cultured unsalted butter
1 tablespoon
all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon


  1. Clean any large bits of fat or tendon from the chicken and cut into large chunks. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and mix to distribute evenly.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering and then add the chicken in a single layer. Let the chicken brown undisturbed (about 5 minutes). Flip the chicken and let it brown on the other side.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium-low and transfer the chicken to a bowl using tongs, making sure to leave as much oil in the pan as possible.
  4. Add the grated garlic and ginger and fry in the oil until it's not sizzling as much and it reaches a rich caramel brown color.
  5. Add the onions, and stir to coat with oil. Cover with a lid and let the onions steam until translucent and limp (about 10-15 minutes).
  6. Remove the lid, turn up the heat to medium and continue frying the onion, stirring constantly until it's reduced to about 1/8 of its original volume and it forms a shiny caramel brown paste (about 20-30 minutes). If the onion starts to stick to the pan before it's fully caramelized, try scrubbing off the stuck bits with a spatula. If that doesn't work you can add just a bit of water to the areas where things are sticking and then use the spatula to scrape.
  7. When the onions are fully caramelized, add the curry powder and saute briefly until very fragrant.
  8. Return the chicken to the pot and then add the stock, carrots, grated apple, chunou sauce, tomato paste, cocoa powder, salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer until the carrots and potatoes are very tender (another 15-20 minutes).
  10. In the meantime, make the roux by adding the butter and flour to a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a spatula to stir constantly until the bubbling subsides and the roux is a light brown color.
  11. When the potatoes are tender, taste and adjust salt to taste. If you like your curry sweeter, you can add some honey.
  12. Finish the curry by stirring in the roux and green peas and bringing to a boil to thicken the sauce.
  13. Serve with hot rice, or on top of a bowl of udon.