When I was young I lived in Japan, near Tokyo, for a few years. During that time, our family was fortunate to have a housekeeper/cook and that’s where I learned to love Japanese-style curry.
Japanese curry isn’t much like either Indian or Thai curries. It’s milder, for starters. And, Japanese curry usually incorporates carrots and potatoes into the dish.
Here is my version of Japanese-style curry. It’s traditionally served with white rice.
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken: breast, thighs or both, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
- 1 Tbs. Indian curry powder
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1 Tbs. fruit preserves or jam, such as apricot or peach. Here, I used Pepperlane Pepp’Ricot preserves
- 1 14-oz. can of vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
- 1 Tbs. cornstarch
- In a large saute pan, skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and saute, stirring frequently, for another couple of minutes.
- Sprinkle in the curry powder and cayenne pepper and stir for a minute or so. This allows the spices to release some of their flavor and fragrance.
- Place the chicken into the pan and saute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 5 minutes or so.
- Stir the tomato paste and preserves into the chicken mixture.
- Add the vegetable broth, rice vinegar, salt, potato and carrot to the pan. Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the curry until the potatoes and carrots are tender, but not falling apart — about 20-25 minutes.
- To finish the curry, make a cornstarch slurry by stirring 1 Tbs. cornstarch into 1 Tbs. cold water in a small bowl or ramekin. Drizzle the cornstarch slurry into the curry and stir well until the curry thickens a little.
- Serve with rice and enjoy!
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.