Japanese Chicken Curry
It's no exaggeration to say that the Japanese love curry. Indeed, it's the second most popular dish in the country, and it's a staple of school cafeterias and week night family dinners. And really, it's no
wonder, the Japanese version is not hard to make and it's very flexible - you can simply add to the pot anything you have in your refrigerator.
Curry was popularized in Japan in the early 20th century, after the Japanese Navy, copying the British Navy, adopted it to help fight vitamin B-1 deficiency in its sailors. The Japanese further modified the Brit's
already mongrelized version by making it thicker and far less spicy. It would be served on rice, udon noodles and as a filling in pastries. Commercial curry powders proliferated, and eventually food manufacturers started
offering curry pastes/roux, similar in consistency to broth cubes. There are several brands of
these available in the US. I used the highly-rated Vermont brand, which is said to be sweeter.
You can control the sweetness of your curry not only through the roux you use, but also by the variety of apple (I used Fuji for my version) and by adding honey if you want it even sweeter (I didn't).
I was very happy with the results of this version - as were my husband and daughter, though of course you can substitute whatever meats or vegetables you have at home.
Japanese Chicken Curry
- 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cubed
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 inches ginger root, peeled and shredded
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into round slices
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1apple, peeled
- 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 package Japanese curry mix
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1 Tbsp ketchup
- honey to taste (optional)
Season chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, turn heat down to low, and saute onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic
and ginger and cook until aromatic. Add the chicken and cook until it's no longer raw on the surface. Add the carrots and mix well.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Remove the scum from the top of the liquid. Shred
the apple into the pot and mix well. Add the potatoes and stir. Bring to a boil again, turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat.
Crush the curry into a powder/crumb consistency. Add a few ladles of simmering liquid into a bowl and gradually mix in the curry powder, mixing it to dissolve, until all the curry is used. Transfer this to the cooking chicken and mix well.
Add the soy sauce, mirin and ketchup and bring back to a simmer. Simmer until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding honey if you want the curry sweeter.
Adapted from Namiko Hirasawa Chen's recipe at Just One Cookbook
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