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Caramelized vegetables and fruit give this Japanese Curry from Scratch it's hearty thickness and savory sweet taste.

Japanese Curry From Scratch

As delicious as the boxed packages of Japanese curry roux are, they're loaded with unnecessary additives, which is why I prefer making my Japanese Curry from scratch. I've been working on the recipe for over 10 years now and finally to the point that I think it tastes better than the boxed variety without entailing much more effort to prepare.
Course Entree, Soups & Stews
Cuisine Best, Japanese
Keyword curry
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Poultry
Diet Dairy-Free, Low Sugar
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 473kcal


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 800 grams skin-on boneless chicken thighs (cut into large bite-size pieces)
  • 30 grams ginger (grated)
  • 20 grams garlic (grated)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 600 grams onions (2 large minced)
  • 70 grams carrot (grated)
  • 24 grams Japanese Curry Powder (~3 tablespoons)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 banana
  • 400 grams potatoes
  • 300 grams carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chunou sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder


  • Add the salt and baking soda to the water and mix until dissolved.
    Mixing baking soda solution for caramelizing onions.
  • Add the vegetable oil to a heavy-bottomed pot such as a dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering (but not smoking).
  • Add the chicken in a single layer with the skin-side down and fry undisturbed until the skin is browned and crisp (about 3 minutes). Flip the chicken over and brown the second side.
    Browning chicken for Japanese Curry.
  • When the chicken is browned on both sides, remove it from the pan and add grated ginger and garlic. Saute until you have a thick layer of brown fond on the bottom of the pot and the mixture is caramelized.
    Caramelizing garlic and ginger for Japanese Curry from Scratch.
  • Add the onions along with the baking soda solution and quickly give it a stir to coat the onions evenly with the mixture. Cover the pot with a lid and turn down the leat to low, allowing the onions to steam for 10 minutes.
    The secret to a good Japanese curry is to caramelize the aromatics including these minced onions.
  • Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium-high, boiling the mixture until there is very little liquid left.
    Minced onions steamed before they are caramelized.
  • Add the grated carrot and fry the mixture by stirring and then spreading the vegetables into an even layer and then stirring again until the onions are fully caramelized, and the mixture is cinnamon brown.
    Caramelized onions, carrots, ginger and garlic for Japanese Curry.
  • Add the curry powder and stir the mixture together until it is very fragrant (about 1 minute). Be careful not to burn it.
    Toasting Japanese curry powder with caramelized onions.
  • Add the vegetable stock and banana, and then use a stick blender to puree the mixture until smooth.
    Pureeing the caramelized aromatics with a banana and stock to make the base for Japanese Curry.
  • Now you want to return the chicken to the pot along with the potatoes, carrots, soy sauce, chunou sauce, tomato paste, bay leaf, star anise, and cocoa powder.
    Stirring potatoes, carrots and chicken into the Japanese curry sauce.
  • Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and then let this cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender (about 1 hour). You'll want to mix the curry every 10 minutes or so to make sure it is not burning to the bottom of the pot.
    As the curry cooks down it takes on a darker color.
  • The curry is done when the vegetables and chicken are tender, and the sauce is very thick. Taste the curry and adjust the seasonings with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. If you like a looser curry, you can add water to thin it out.
    When the Japanese curry is done, it should be a dark brown color.
  • Serve the Japanese curry with Japanese short-grain rice.


Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 1387mg | Potassium: 1121mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 10832IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 5mg