Japanese Curry is delicious comfort food from Japan anyone can make! Chicken thighs and veggies simmered in an easy curry sauce made with store-bought roux.
Most of the time when you see Japanese Chicken Curry on a takeout menu, it is made with Chicken Katsu or Pork Katsu (tonkatsu), with the curry sauce on the side. While we all love deep-fried katsu, this dish made with chicken thighs is much healthier so you can make it all the time with a lot less work (and calories).
Japanese Curry is a takeout dish that can be hard to find depending on where you live, so if you’ve never heard of it or tried it, you aren’t alone! One of the best things about making takeout at home is that you can try delicious global cuisine no matter where you live. No expensive travel required to get authentic dishes you and your family will fall in love with.
If this is your first time trying Japanese Curry, it is a much milder, sweeter and thicker curry than you may be used to. Unlike Indian Curry or Thai Curry, the curry sauce is more stew-like, similar to gravy and less like a broth. Japanese-style curry roux uses garam masala but does not have spicy curry powders or chiles like other cuisines.
You can always make your own curry roux homemade but the ready-made roux is just as delicious, saves you about 30 minutes, and is actually what most home cooks in Japan use! In Japan it is common to use a store bought curry roux and just add seasonings and “secret” ingredients (like apple and honey) to make it their own.
Like most curry recipes, Japanese Curry is traditionally served with simple rice side like Steamed Rice or Brown Rice. You could also serve it with a lightly seasoned noodle like Garlic Noodles or easy veggies like Roasted Broccoli. Japanese Curry is also delicious on its own, with Dinner Rolls to soak up every drop of the curry sauce!
What is a Japanese Curry Roux?
Curry roux is a pre-made concentrated curry demi-glace, dried out so that it is shelf stable. Think of it like a Japanese-style gravy, with lots of flavor and makes cooking so much easier! There are few top brands, but S&B Golden Curry is probably the most widely available at supermarkets. You’ll find it in the Asian foods section of the grocery store.
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VARIATIONS ON JAPANESE CURRY
- Chicken: Use bite-sized boneless chicken breast, beef, pork, or even fried tofu in this curry sauce. If making a beef curry, be sure to sear the beef for the most flavor. Add fried tofu in the end with curry roux.
- Veggies: Almost every veggie tastes delicious in Japanese Curry! Swap white potatoes with sweet potatoes, or add veggies like mushrooms, corn, peas, bell peppers, celery, and broccoli.
- Sauces: Japanese cooks add sauces like tonkatsu sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce to their curry to make it their own.
- Curry Roux: Curry Roux comes in three heat levels, mild, medium and hot so you can make this as spicy or mild as you like. No matter the brand, they all use the same color code for spiciness: red is mild curry, green is medium, and blue is hot.
- Toppings: Garnish Japanese Curry with traditional toppings like pickled daikon, pickled ginger, sesame seeds, soft boiled egg, bean sprouts, or Fukujinzuke. Fukujizuke is a pickled relish that is very popular for Japanese Curry and you can find it at Asian markets.
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HOW TO STORE JAPANESE CURRY
- Serve: Japanese Chicken Curry is best served hot and can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it needs to be stored.
- Store: Once cool, place Japanese Chicken Curry in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop, adding more chicken broth if sauce is too thick.
- Freeze: Cool Japanese Chicken Curry completely before freezing in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating on the stovetop.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 onions , cut into thick wedges
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs , cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 carrots , cut into thick wedges
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 apple , peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 potatoes , cut into 1 ½ inch chunks, soaked for 15 minutes
- 1 packet S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix , Medium Hot, 8.4 ounces
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onions until they become translucent.
- Add the garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is opaque.
- Stir in the carrots and chicken broth.
- Bring the broth to boil and skim the scrum and fat from the surface of the broth.
- Add grated apple, honey, salt, and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender, and turn off the heat.
- Add the curry, 1-2 blocks at a time, in a ladle and slowly let it dissolve with spoon until all incorporated. Stir.
- Simmer uncovered on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the curry becomes thick.
- Serve the curry with white rice on the side.