If you’ve ever made Japanese curry rice from one of those store-bought curry blocks, you know how delicious and easy it is, but did you know it’s almost as easy to make it from scratch? And considering the palm oil, MSG, and preservatives used in the blocks, it’s probably a lot healthier to make your own.
I pretty much followed the chicken curry rice recipe from Just One Cookbook except I caramelized the onions as recommended by Marc from No Recipes and Serious Eats. I also used chicken breast instead of chicken thighs because I really, really hate dark meat. Another great thing about making your own curry roux is that it’s easily customizable. If you prefer it spicier, add cayenne pepper; if you prefer it sweeter add honey, etc. This recipe makes a slightly sweet, medium-mild spicy curry.
Japanese curry is usually served with steamed rice, but if you want to have a little more fun, I’d highly suggest waffling some day-old cooked rice. The rice gets crispy-crunchy-toasty-chewy and adds a really interesting texture.
Japanese Chicken Curry Rice (adapted from Just One Cookbook)
1 lb. boneless chicken, skinless thighs or breast
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 qt. chicken broth
2 large Yukon gold potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.
Add the onions to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook with a large pinch of salt until dry and just starting to color. Add a tablespoon of oil, mix, and continue to cook until the onions start sticking to the bottom again. Add the rest of the oil and continue to cook until caramelized. Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and chicken. Cook until the chicken turns white. Add the chopped carrot and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Peel the apple, coarsely grate, and add to the pot. Peel the potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks, and add to the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
In the meantime, make the curry roux by melting the butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir until the roux starts to get darker, about 5-10 minutes. Mix in the garam masala and curry powder and take off the heat once combined.
When the potatoes are done, add some of the hot liquid to the roux and whisk until the roux is loose, adding more liquid as necessary. Add back to the pot and bring back to a boil. Stir in the soy sauce and ketchup. Taste, and add the honey if you'd prefer it sweeter. Simmer until the curry has thickened. Serve with cooked rice.
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