Japanese Chicken Curry チキンカレー

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Chicken Curry | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

A few weeks ago, I shared my Japanese Beef Curry recipe and I mentioned how much the Japanese loves curry.  There are also a variety of main ingredients that we use for curry and today I’d like to share a chicken curry recipe.  Don’t worry, this curry will not going to take 4+ hours like my beef curry.  Hopefully I did not discourage you from making curry dish with my previous beef curry post.

The actual cooking time for chicken curry is about 80-90 minutes.  The most time consuming part is browning the chicken and caramelizing onion but it’s absolutely critical you spend time to do this.  I believe this is one of the most important steps for a tasty curry.  The weather has been amazing in the San Francisco area for the past few days, 72 and sunny, perfect spring/pre-summer weather.  I don’t know if it’s a Japanese only thing but when it’s hot we want to eat something spicy like curry.

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.  I haven’t spent Mother’s Day with my mom since I came to the US but I am always thinking of you Okaa-san (mom in Japanese).  Happy Mother’s Day!

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Chicken Curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 5 Chicken thighs with skin and bone
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 large onions
  • ½+ cup chicken/vegetable broth
  • Vegetable of your choice: carrots, potatoes, zucchini, etc
  • ¼ cup sake
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ package of Japanese Curry Roux
  • Green peas (optional)
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on high heat. When it’s hot, brown the chicken on the skin side first. Do not crowd the pan (do in batches if necessary). Turn over the chicken and cook until browned. Transfer to a plate until the rest is done.
  2. Meanwhile in a large pot, heat olive oil on medium high heat and cook garlic until fragrant. Then add the onion and sauté. Stir once in a while until they are soft and nice golden brown (about 30 minutes).
  3. Add the chicken into the pot and add cooking sake and broth until it covers the chicken. After boiling, reduce heat to low and cook covered for 1 hour.
  4. Add vegetables of your choice and cook until they are soft.
  5. Pur curry roux in a ladle and slowly dissolve it in the soup. Mix gently without breaking the chicken or vegetable.

  6. Add mirin, soy sauce, and green peas and cook for 5 more minutes.
  7. Serve the curry with rice.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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  1. Ya, i know Japanese love curry, because one of my ex Japanese colleague who also love curry and she even gave me Japanese apple curry to try out, that was amazing good. My Chinese style of chicken curry is very difference from your version, i must try this soon once I gather all ingredients. My kids also love curry a lot. Happy Mother’s day to you too. You are a good Okaa-san, hehehe..

    • Hi Sonia! Arigato & Happy Belated Mother’s Day to you! Yeah I have tried Chinese style curry too, but it was more soupy than Japanese one. I think “apple” curry means that one Japanese curry roux brand called “Vermont Curry” has (grated) apple flavor in it. Apple is one of the very common add-on ingredients for Japanese curry. It makes it more mild and sweet.

    • Hi Marsha! Most Japanese restaurants in the US offer Japanese curry, but I know Japanese curry is not common when we talk about curry dish (mainly India and Thai). What a surprise, right? Hehe. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Japanese version of curry before! This sounds really tasty. I hope you have a great Mother’s Day with your family Nami!

    • Hi Peggy! Hmmm seems like a lot of people haven’t heard or tried Japanese curry. I need to promote this great dish even more! 😀 Thanks Peggy, I had a great day with family. :-)

  3. I tried Japanese curry for the first time some months ago.The curry was awesome and different from Indian curry. I noticed in many Asian countries that Asians eat hot food when its hot – I suppose the sweat helps cool you down.

    • Hi Three-Cookies! Right, it’s so different from Indian curry. I really wonder how we ended up with current Japanese curry after we imported all the spices from India. That’s right – the sweat helps cool you down. Thanks for your visit. :-)

  4. Thank you for all of your kind kind words on my blog and over at Dennis’ blog. You are just a sweet heart and I’m so glad to be following your blog. Regarding this recipe – well, let’s jusy say I would be coming back for seconds!! ♥- Katrina

  5. Hi Nami! Found you on Kankana & Manu’s blogs and I thought of dropping by. So glad I did! My hubby had been to Japan several times before and he loves authentic Japanese food!
    Now I know where I can get some good Japanese recipes…Just One Cookbook! So happy to be following you…
    Happy Mother’s Day to you…

    • Hi Tina! Thank you for coming to my site! Yay! I’m glad to find someone who cooks Filipino food too! 😀 I hope your husband will approve of my cooking. :-) It is really nice meeting you!

    • Hi C & MSP! Oh that’s great to hear – I hope you will give it a try when you have a chance to eat Japanese curry in the future! 😉

  6. Your Japanese curry looks delish! Especially right around lunch time Nami. =) I just noticed my Japanese market now sells a cute little pack of pickled vegies especially for curry for like a dollar. Perfect!

    • Hi Lindsey! Hehee I used to post my recipe right before lunch time and my friends were complaining it’s too painful. LOL. You are talking about Fukujinzuke 福神漬け right? I LOVE them. I put like 1-2 Tbsp. and eat curry and that together. Arrhhh now it’s my turn to get hungry now (1am).

  7. I’m missing a bunch of ingredients, but at least now I know what to look for: mirin and the Japanese curry roux. Will try to find them in an Asian grocery store next time I go. Thanks for the recipe – it looks wonderful!

  8. O looks nice! I never tried cooking Japanese curry by myself, I am always making the Indian or Mauritian ones. Thanks for the recipe because now I don’t have to go to the Japanese resto to eat jap. curry! :)

    • Hi Cindy! Yeah it’s not that hard to make Japanese curry because we use roux. Some people just drop the roux and that’s it, but I always like to add some other condiments to make it even better. :-)

  9. Tanvi@SinfullySpicy

    Looks so yummy.I love that you browned the chicken first ..skin would be so crisp.Yum!I dont have sake,can I substitute with water or white wine?

    • Hi Tanvi! You don’t have to add sake if you don’t have one. I just like to add as an option. If the roux is too thick, you can always add broth or water. Enjoy… :-)

  10. You made me hungry again Nami… and it is almost bed time for me!!!! Great dish! Also, congratulations on the Top9 in FoodBuzz: I am really happy for you… your salmon recipe was superb, well deserved! :-) I know how you feel for mother’s day… I haven’t spent it with my mom too in years… :-( But at least we have our little ones to celebrate with! :-) Have a happy day! <3

    • Thank you so much Manu! Yeah we are on the same boat, living far away from home and family. But you are right – we now have our own family and we should be thankful that we become a mom. :-) Hope you had a great weekend!

  11. This sounds wonderful. I make a curry similar to this once or twice a year, I’m ashamed to admit I use a prepared spice mix to make mine. I’ll have to give your recipe a try. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    • Hi Mary! Japanese use prepared spice mix, but in a form of roux too. Most people don’t even know/read what kind of spices are in the roux. We know that by adding that, we can make curry. Haha. I hope you will try Japanese curry one day. :-)

    • Hi Victor! You can eat this curry on a flat plate – so you know how thick the sauce is. Because I use chicken thighs with bones, you eat this dish with fork and knife too (and spoon of course). Instead of using the whole package of roux, I just use half box and reduce the amount of broth. :-)

  12. Curry is unfortunately not something that figures on the European Japanese restaurants’ menu (at least the ones I know), so it’s a huge mystery to me. I often make Thai and Indian curries, but the Japanese one looks completely different (no coconut milk, no yogurt, no milk). I will check if my Japanese grocer carries the roux and will definitely try it! I love cooking the dishes I have never tasted before. It is a huge adventure! I’m hesitating between your beef and chicken curry. Both curries look delicious!

    • Hi Sissi! Really, but maybe because real curry from India is very popular there? I hope you will find the curry roux and try Japanese curry one day. :-) You have been making many Japanese dish and this will be a great addition to our list. 😉

      • Thank you, Nami, for the encouragement! I think it’ll be a very big surprise for my husband! He doesn’t suspect the Japanese curry exists (I haven’t suspected before discovering your blog 😉 I’ll go and check if I can find the roux this week.

    • Hi Rebecca! I’m happy to hear you like Japanese curry (after hearing most people haven’t tried it yet). :-) My mom is coming in July to visit us for 2 weeks. I can’t wait to see her (and eat her food…)!

  13. Now you remind me that I haven’t made Japanese curry for a while! I’ve never tried it with chicken thighs though, always with beef/chicken chunks. This is a great idea because I love chicken thighs, the only person who might complain is my husband, because he doesn’t like eating meat with bones ;)!

    • Hi CG! Me too, for a long time, I didn’t cook with chicken with bone. But I tried one time and I just realized it tastes much much better cooking chicken with bone…so since then I always cook chicken curry with bone. :-) You can de-bone for your husband (eh? too much work? Hehee 😉 ).

  14. Namiさん、こんにちは。うわぁ~ん、もうNamiさんのところに遊びに来るといつもとっても幸せな気分になります♪ひとつひとつの具材を丁寧に丁寧に調理されてる姿が目に浮かび、私そういうのだ~い好きなんです!市販のルーに酒、醤油、みりんを加えるひと手間と工夫にNamiさんのお料理の腕を感じます。こんなカレーを息子にも食べさせてあげたいな。

    • のりこさん、そんなそんな、お世辞はそこまでで(笑)。調子に乗ってしまいます。いやー適当なんですよ。完璧主義の癖に、手を抜くとこはガーンと抜いて結構大雑把でね。O型の典型的です。へへへ。日本風の味が好きで、醤油などを入れます。突然味がしまってやっぱり日本の調味料はすごいなーって思います。のりこさんの母の日はどうでしたか?私のは簡単に今日のポストに載ってます。

  15. I am drooling here! This sounds incredible. I have still never made chicken curry at home and need to get to it instead of relying on take out when my curry cravings hit!
    Fantastic recipe!

    • Hi Mandy! Thank you for asking me the really good question. As you know, Indian and Thai use spices to make curry, and I’m sure Japanese curry roux use those same spices. However, Japanese curry is less spicy and the sauce is thicker than Indian or Thai. We add flour and butter in the sauce to make it thick. As I rely on the store bought roux, I don’t have a recipe so I’m sorry I can’t answer your question. I’ll definitely try making curry roux one day for people who can’t buy Japanese curry roux. It’ll be in my to do list. Thank you!

    • Hi Tiffany! The best thing about curry is that it goes well with pretty much anything including your Tofu Chicken! I hope you had a great weekend. :-)

  16. Oh my goodness Nami, this looks amazing and very delicious!!I would love this tomorrow for lunch or dinner! Perfect photos too…
    Have a wonderful Mother’s day!
    Enjoy and have fun with your beautiful family!

  17. I miss the weather right now in CA! I am mostly out of town for the month of May and have not been cooking much too!

    Such a homey dish really brings comfort to me. It is so hard to get a decent (proper) meal when eating outside.

    I do enjoy Jap curry but need to get the spice level up a little. My hb likes it spicy!

    • Hi Tigerfish! Oh you are totally missing it. This week is going to be 72-75F. Nice sunny weather! Yeah my husband likes it spicy too but kids and I don’t eat spicy at all. Hope your traveling is going well. :-)

  18. Hello Jill! Oh I didn’t know Mother’s Day is different day in Europe! Haha sounds like Apple Curry Roux is popular over there in Paris! Yes, one curry brand includes apple and it’s quite popular for family with the kids. This brand of curry I used doesn’t include apple flavor, but if you go to Asian/Japanese market, “apple” brand is always there. Very popular brand and name is “Vermont Curry” with apple pictures on it. After adding mirin, sake, & soy sauce, the curry sauce becomes…I don’t know how to explain in English..but the whole sauce becomes “one” and get great “umami”. Got hungry after I wrote about curry…haha.

  19. Hi Kristen! It’s true. I believe we do have some sort of curry dish in most of Asian countries, yet today I realized Japanese one is not so popular. Haha. We use roux, and that’s probably unique among all the people who use spices to make curry. Thanks for visiting!

  20. Hi Kate! So funny! I do wonder how Japanese pick those English terms in products and everywhere… you lived in Japan so you know what I mean. I hope you had enjoyed Japanese food during your studying abroad days. :-) I wonder how people in Vermont think of Vermont Curry… LOL.

  21. Hi Mika-san! Haha funny. Remember, you do have an option to cook at home, you know? LOL. Make curry while Douglas is not home with open windows so he won’t recognize the curry smell. You freeze the curry so you can enjoy it for unch time. :-)

  22. Hi Mindy! Hahaha, you are always welcome here Mindy! I read your story about your mom and almost made me cry thinking how you feel about your mom. I know, I need to spend more time with my family as much as I could. Family is always most important thing in life and we always take it for granted. My mom is coming to the US in July for just 2 weeks, but I can’t wait to spend time with her. :-)

  23. I had no idea Japanese people enjoy curries so much, and have such awesome recipes for them! Usually I associate something Indian with a curry. This looks awesome, and it makes me happy because I like to make things like curries and pot roasts (I have a big yellow cast-iron pot like you that I love very much :)) and I love the flavors of Japanese cuisine. I’m so happy that I’ve found your site! 😀

    • Hi Kath! Thank you for finding my site and I’m happy you enjoy Japanese food too! We already have something in common – cute yellow pot. :-)

  24. My sons love Japanese curry because it is very mild compared to other types of curry. I recently discovered the curry roux and have been making curry udon and curry ramen with it. I have to make this soon as i still have some curry roux in the pantry.

    • Hi Biren! Yeah it’s like a joke for real curry lovers to eat “mild” spicy curry…right? Haha. Japanese food is not spicy in general, so we are not used to the spicy food. Although more people are now eating all kinds of spicy food like Korean, Thai, Indian, etc but still our food is pretty mild. Anyway, I’m glad your son likes Japanese curry. :-) I LOVE curry Udon. I usually use leftover curry for curry Udon (soup) next day lunch. Yum! :-)

  25. My next door neighbor is from St. Vincent and makes curry often. She even made some for our son’s wedding dinner. She talks about it sometimes being time consuming so I can appreciate all the work you do melding those delicious flavors.

    • Hi Sandra! Wow your neighbor cooked your son’s wedding dinner? You have a nice neighbor (to visit and eat. LOL)!! Japanese curry is not too bad if you just use curry roux and follow simple directions. You can make in less than 1 hour, easily. But we can spend longer time by caramelizing onions and adding extra step for a better curry. :-)

    • Hi Jen! I know it looks like chocolate and my son almost tried to eat it when I left a piece of it on the kitchen counter. It’s convenient, but very strange idea, isn’t it? 😀

  26. Hi,Nami
    Just got to get the roux and give it a try it looks yummy and I love all currys.by the the way put you on my front page keep up the good work loving it.

    • Hi Mac! I hope you will enjoy Japanese curry. Thank you so much for putting my link on your front page. Wow, it’s awesome! Thank you so much Mac!

  27. Hmmm… I love this! 😀
    Can I do w/o the cooking sake? What’s the difference between the cooking sake(wine), Japanese cooking vinegar?
    I always got alot of ??? in my head when at the Japanese food section at the supermarket… LOL 😛

    • Lyn, sure without cooking sake is fine. It doesn’t have to be “cooking” sake. Just regular sake (cheep small bottle) works just fine. I put cooking sake 料理酒 because people don’t know which kind of sake they need. I’m not a sake drinker, so I’m not sure which one… Or Chinese cooking wine works too. It’s same thing. If you need help, let me know, also you can try checking my Pantry Page to see if the pictures help… :-)

  28. hfriday

    Hi Nami, too many comments to read through so not sure if you’ve already answered this but on the ingredients list, it only says 1/4 sake. Looking at the pictures, I’m assuming 1/4 cup sake?

    Another question is how well do you think this would work if I switched shrimps for the curry? Feeling like having shrimps tonight! Thank you!

    • Hi! Thank you so much for letting me know my mistake. It is 1/4 cup and I edited the post already. Shrimp works fine! I also make seafood curry adding shrimp, scallops, cuttlefish…it’s really good! Now you make me crave for curry… :-) Enjoy!

  29. amrita

    i bought the curry roux thing but a different brand the only one i cld find so its two halves in the pack and each half is 4 cubes…so by half the pack do u mean all those 4 cubes? thx x

  30. amrita

    hey nami, the shops ive been to dont have cooking sake they only have mirin …can i use anything alternatively like shaoxing wine or something?

  31. Sanne

    Just wanted to let you know that I have used this recipe often and have loved it since the first time I made curry. My boyfriend is Japanese and he loves curry (it’s his favourite food), so I simply had to learn how to make it myself.

    It was a big hit! Plus, my family at home also really appreciates this dish in the middle of winter in the Netherlands. Thank you for posting this lovely recipe.^^

    • Hi Sanne! I’m really happy to hear that your BF and you enjoyed this recipe. We really like it too and I need to update the photo so it looks more decent! Thank you for your feedback. I really appreciate it. :)

  32. volcanogirl

    Love the additional flavors to S&B golden curry. I always use golden curry and love it. I enjoyed the additional ingredients of garlic, chicken broth, sake and mirin. I would exclude the soyu the next time as this seemed to be a ‘lil overbearing. Thank you, I did enjoy this recipe!

  33. nayyara noor

    hi nami
    im from pakistan my husband is in japan can you plz share some easy and most common japanese dishes.i want to cook for him to please him.