Japanese Chicken Curry

4 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Japanese Curry is delicious comfort food from Japan anyone can make! Chicken thighs and veggies simmered in an easy curry sauce!

Chicken Katsu is one of the best and easiest Japanese dishes you can make. This Japanese-style curry is another Asian Recipe that you won’t believe how easy it is to make at home, just like Asian Peanut Noodles and Asian Sweet Chili Chicken. So much yum! 

Japanese Curry in bowl with white rice

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.

Most of the time when you see Japanese Chicken Curry on a takeout menu, it is made with Chicken Katsu or Pork Katsu, known as tonkatsu, with the curry sauce on the side. While we all love deep-fried katsu which is Panko breaded chicken, this dish made with chicken thighs is much healthier so you can make it all the time with a lot less work and calories.

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.

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!

Japanese Curry in pot

How to Make Japanese Chicken Curry

Making Japanese curry is so easy! The process is very simple. You just have to follow these steps to make a delicious and savory curry sauce from scratch! 

Step One – Prep: Cut all the vegetables and chicken and gather all the spices. Portion it out so it’s ready to go! 

Step Two – Cook: You’ll fry onions on medium-high heat, then the chicken until ready. Then add the simmer sauce.

Step Three – Simmer: The simmering process helps cook the thick vegetables which are added at this time. After everything has been cooked, the curry base is then added towards the end to the simmering pot. From there, you’ll stir until it’s thick enough to serve! 

More Yummy Curry Dishes

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Japanese curry and other Asian curries? 

Basically, the Japanese version of curry is thicker like gravy, sweeter, and less spicy than the others. It ism more complex and often made with orange peel spice and garlic and ginger powders, whereas the other Asian variations prefer to exclusively use whole garlic cloves and fresh ginger, rather than powdered in many of their dishes.

What does Japanese curry taste like? 

Japanese curry is a significantly milder version of curry than its Asian counterparts. Its higher sweetness sets it apart making additions, like apples, possible in their curry blends; something not done in other Asian curries.

Due to the addition of specific darker spices like allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom powder, and black pepper, these spices give Japanese curry flavor a complexity that is usually kept reserved separately for the garam masala spice blend in other Indian curries. Japanese curry powder incorporates these dark-colored spices with the regular yellow turmeric based curry powder creating the new and delicious blend we enjoy today!

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 Su0026B Golden Curry is probably the most widely available at supermarkets. You’ll find it in the Asian foods section of the grocery store.

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.

How did Japanese curry evolve?

The history of Japanese curry goes something like this. Originally, when the British went to India, they loved the curry spices used in Indian cuisine and brought it back to their home country. From there, they visited Japan when the nation opened up to international trade. The British introduced the curry to the Japanese who found it to be a bit spicy, even though they loved the flavor. They adapted it according to their customs and perfected an incredible flavor to their standards. Today, we get to enjoy the fruit of their amazing adaption in this Japanese Chicken Curry recipe! 

Key Ingredients in Japanese Chicken Curry

There’s a lot of spices that go into this curry. But it’s okay, you don’t need to have them all in your pantry. A quick trip to your local grocery store will supply you with the basic ingredients needed for this amazingly delicious curry. 

  • Curry Base: This recipe uses one packet of S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix and bit of kosher salt to give it a good flavor. 
  • Meat: When chicken meat is used, pair it with chicken stock. If using pork, you can still use the chicken broth without compromising on flavor. Beef meat should be paired with beef stock
  • Vegetables: The classic vegetables are potatoes, onions, and carrots. These are chopped into larger pieces for ease. 
  • Apple: You can use any red apple for this secret ingredient. Fuji and Gala apples are very common to use and bring a wonderful flavor and sweetness to your curry. 

Variations on Japanese Chicken Curry

Although this recipe needs to be made in sections and isn’t really compatible with a pressure cooker, you can still make it an easy and fun meal for the whole family!

  • 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 Russet potato or 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.
Japanese Curry in bowl with white rice

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Japanese Curry

Japanese Curry is delicious comfort food from Japan anyone can make! Chicken thighs and veggies simmered in an easy curry sauce!
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Japanese
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow 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

Instructions

  • 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 completely incorporated. Stir.
  • Simmer uncovered on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the curry becomes thick.
  • Serve the curry with white rice on the side.

Nutrition

Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 2148mg | Potassium: 692mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 5186IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: Japanese Curry
Bowl of Japanese Chicken curry with rice Pin 1

Photos used in a previous version of this post:

Japanese Chicken Curry collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. Very good! I am keeping this recipe. I didn’t add apples or honey because I don’t like the chicken curries to be sweet. I also only added one sliver of the golden curry roux block and that was more than enough. Salty and savory ?

  2. I’ve made this two times now. The first time it was delicious. The second time, way too salty. First of all, I would suggest using low sodium broth. I think that makes a huge difference. ( I didn’t the second time, as I didn’t have any on hand) . I would never use 2 tsp salt, so I would suggest 1 tsp max, if you’re using a low sodium broth, and just omit the salt if using a regular broth. I will omit the salt regardless next time and add as necessary after the curry mix is added as it has plenty of salt. Really enjoyed this the first time around though!

  3. Omg! You need to try this very easy and delicious recipe! I have never had Japanese curry before and it is absolutely delicious! It may be my new fav curry now. This recipe is fast and easy to follow as all your recipes are. I literally had this on the table and taking my first mouthful in 20 minutes. The other good thing is that the leftovers even tasted better the next day.

  4. There has got to be something wrong with the recipe as it’s written. I have never in my life seen a Japanese curry that calls for a whole pack of curry cubes. This has been commented on before but I guess Sabrina doesn’t answer questions or provide any clarification.

    1. Sorry to hear that Elsie, that’s how many people here make it and my chef friends included. We all start with the cubes.

    2. I make this recipe all the time and I usually stick to two tablespoons of curry powder. You may not get that curry-stick taste, but the powder actually tastes better in my opinion.

  5. Could you please be more specific. What type of onion?what type of apple? For those like myself who are just starting to cook its hard to know what ones to pick.

    1. Any white onion would work, sweet onions and red onions in a pinch would work as well. I prefer softer apples that arent overly sweet (but any apple would work since you are grating it down)

      1. I think you are onto something. (Sorry, a year and a half later)

        I started a double batch of this thinking I had plenty of roux cubes. I realized at that step I had two 3.2oz boxes and the single recipe called for 8.4oz. I was already committed so I went with the two boxes. It ended up being perfect.

        I do think the “8.4oz” must be a typo.

        Everything else about the recipe was good, although since I did a double recipe, I wok-fried each component (veggies, chicken breast, chicken thigh) separately and compiled them into a pot of broth as it was warming up.

        I also added Gochugaru to my plated portions because even the “Medium Hot” has hardly any kick.

  6. I prefer to print recipes rather than continually refreshing my phone while cooking and I can’t print yours because your pop up ads appear over portions of the recipe.

  7. I’m not sure what I did wrong here, or IF I did something wrong at all, but this was not good. The recipe calls for 8.2 oz of the golden curry roux. I’ve only ever seen the 3.2 oz boxes, so I used 2 of those, well below thr 8.2 called for, and the dish was so strong and salty that I just threw it away—and I’m someone who likes salt on her salt. From the way it tastes I feel like it would have been good had I halved the amount of curry. Did I miss something or is this recipe for the golden curry just not to my taste?

  8. Really delicious and easy. As good as any Japanese curry I’ve had in a restaurant. Highly recommend. Thank you!

  9. Hi, I would like to make this with pork instead. What do I use pork steak? pork belly? pork medallian? Also I’d like to put peas and corn in aswell. I assume right at the end is the best time?
    Amelia

  10. Wow! This tastes like the curry we loved while living in Okinawa, Japan. I have made this 3 times in a month! The pre-packaged roux is AMAZING! I didn’t think it would possibly work as well as it did.
    Thank you so much for this recipe!

  11. Super good dish! Loved it. The fresh pineapple made the dish superb. I decided to make the sweet and sour chicken because I bought the pineapple on sale. I also bought a bottle of Fusia Sweet and Sour Asian sauce. Glad I did. Right amount of liquid. Right taste. Delicious. Only one complaint. The amount of “prep time” and “total time” is grossly understated..

  12. I am totally new to making curries but figured I’d give it a go. Since your website has been such a hit with our family in the past, I started here. Problem is, I cannot use pre-packaged spice mixes because they tend to contain things that I am allergic to (ex: wheat, dairy, citric acid, etc). Is there a homemade spice blend you would recommend that tastes similar to “S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix”? Having never tasted curry before, I am flying blind on this one.