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+ servings

Japanese Curry from Scratch

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

Course Entree, Soups & Stews
Cuisine Japanese
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Poultry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 serving


For curry

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

for roux

  • 1 tablespoon cultured unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


  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.