Aromatic, creamy, and packed with complex flavors, this Japanese Bone-In Chicken Curry is delicious right out of the gate! It’s extra comforting and characteristically Japanese when you serve over steamed rice. Since the spices are on the milder side, this curry is a please-all favorite, even with small children.
Japanese curry or Kare (カレー) is one of the nation’s most popular comfort foods. To satisfy the frequent cravings, we have a decent array of curry menus – from Curry Udon and Curry Doria, to Curry Bread and Katsu Curry – all delicious in their own right.
Today’s recipe is Bone-In Chicken Curry (骨付きチキンカレー). It takes slightly longer to cook because of the bone-in meat, but you get super tender chicken and mega flavorful thick curry sauce that reign supreme.
How to Cook Bone-In Chicken Curry
Ingredients You’ll Need
You will only need simple pantry ingredients to make this dish.
- Bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs (for the best flavor!)
- Yukon gold potato (You can also use Russet potato, but it dissolves more easily)
- Green peas
- Chicken stock (You can use less-sodium one, and add salt if necessary)
- Japanese curry roux (store-bought or homemade)
- Soy sauce
5 Easy Cooking Steps
- Cut ingredients and season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Brown the chicken first, then take it out, and saute the onion till tender.
- Add the chicken back along with sake and stock, and let it simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the carrot and potato and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Add curry roux, seasonings, and green peas. Serve and enjoy!
Helpful Cooking Tips
- Prick the chicken skin with a knife/fork – This technique will cook the chicken from the inside out keeping it moist and flavorsome, while the fat oozes out to crisp up the skin.
- Cut the onion into wedges for texture – I love sweet, tender, caramelized onion in the curry. I cut the onion into thick wedges, which add some texture to the curry.
- Cut the carrot and potato in similar size – Cut these two veggies into bite-size, small pieces, as we will only cook for 15 minutes. We do not want to overcook them.
- Brown the skin side first until the skin releases itself – Chicken skin releases fat which equals to flavors. The skin will first stick to the pan, but once it’s crisp up, you can easily flip the chicken.
- Saute the onion till tender and caramelized – For extra flavor boost!
- Turn off the heat while you dissolve curry roux – Once curry is in, keep the heat at the lowest. Curry will burn too easily.
- Use two different brands of curry roux (sometimes mix the spice level, like mild and medium spicy) – Store-bought curry doesn’t have to be boring! Mix it up so it’s not always same old flavor.
- Adjust the consistency of the curry – You can always adjust the thickness of the curry with stock/water. If your chicken stock is salty, use water.
- Add soy sauce and mirin – Why? Read the next section.
Personalize Store-bought Curry with Additional Seasonings
Many home cooks in Japan add some kind of condiments/seasonings to give additional layers of flavors to the store-bought curry. Today I added mirin for mild sweetness and soy sauce for umami, but you can add different seasonings. Here are the common add-ons.
- Grated apple
- Oyster sauce
- Red wine
- Soy sauce
- Tonkatsu sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
Have you tried any of the flavor add-ons? If so, what are some of your favorites?
What to Serve with Bone-In Chicken Curry
Typically, Japanese curry is served with steamed rice, along with Pickled Rakkyo (Shallots) and Fukujinzuke and a bowl of salad.
- Fukujinzuke (福神漬) – It is lightly brined in a sweet soy sauce and does not undergo fermentation. The crunchy condiment is more like a chunky chutney, served with Japanese curry. It features seven vegetables as the name inspired by the Seven Lucky Gods (七福神).
- Rakkyo (ラッキョウ) – A pickle of the bulb of Chinese onions/shallots, Rakkyo can be pickled in salt, soy sauce, or sweet vinegar. It resembles a garlic clove but with a taste similar to shallots.
Check out our various salad recipes and salad dressings on the blog!
Other Curry Recipes You May Enjoy
- Chicken Curry
- Beef Curry
- Pressure Cooker Seafood Curry
- Pressure Cooker Japanese Curry
- Sapporo Soup Curry
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Bone-In Chicken Curry
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (1.8 lb, 800 g)
- ½ tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (for chicken)
- freshly ground black pepper (for chicken)
- 2 onions (1 lb, 454 g)
- 1 Yukon gold potato (6.5 oz, 184 g)
- 2 carrots (4 oz, 113 g)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced or crushed)
- ¼ cup green peas (1.3 oz, 36 g)
- 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.) (for cooking)
For Curry Sauce
- ¼ cup sake
- 2 cups Chicken Stock/Broth (homemade or store bought) (or you can use vegetable stock)
- ½ cup water (add more if needed)
- ½ package Japanese curry roux (3.5-4.2 oz, 100-120 g; for my homemade recipe, click here; I use 2 different brands and mix)
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare the Ingredients
- Prick the chicken skin with the tip of your knife (so the flavors will go through the skin) and cut off excess fat with a pair of scissors (or knife).
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Cut the onions into wedges. The wedge cut adds more texture; however, you can also thinly slice or dice.
- Peel and cut the potato into 8 pieces.
- Peel and cut the carrots into bite-size pieces. Here, I use the Japanese "Rangiri" cutting style. Set aside the vegetable on a tray/plate.
To Cook the Curry
- In a large pot (I use a Dutch oven), heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium-high heat. When it’s hot, cook the chicken on the skin side first. Do not crowd the pan to avoid steaming the chicken and cook in batches if necessary.
- Flip the chicken and cook the other side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate until the rest is done.
- Add the onion to the pot and coat with the oil using a wooden spoon/spatula. If there is not enough oil, add ½-1 Tbsp oil.
- Add the minced/crushed garlic and saute the onion, stirring occasionally, until they are tender. If the burnt spots on the bottom of the pot need some scraping, you can add sake here (instead of the next step) to loosen them up.
- Add the chicken back into the pot and add sake.
- Add chicken stock and water, which should cover most of the chicken. If you use a larger pot, it may not cover, then you can adjust the amount of stock/water. This is not a soupy curry, so we do not need much liquid, just enough to almost cover the chicken.
- Cover the lid and bring it to a simmer. When simmering, skim the scum and foam with a fine-mesh skimmer.
- Cook covered on low heat for 45 minutes.
- Add carrots and potatoes and make sure they are submerged in the cooking liquid.
- Cook covered until they are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the curry roux dissolved, one piece at a time, in a ladle with a bit of broth. Mix gently without breaking the tender vegetables. And repeat the process until you finish dissolving all the roux.
- Add mirin and soy sauce. Mix all together and check the taste. You can add water to loosen the curry if it's too thick. I added 2 Tbsp water here. If your pot does not have a tight-fitting lid, your cooking liquid might have evaporated more than mine. Then add more water, if necessary. You can control the consistency of the curry here. This Bone-in Chicken Curry should have a thicker sauce than my other regular curry, but please adjust the consistency to your liking.
- Add green peas and cook for another minute. Serve the curry with rice.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a month. Remove the potatoes as they change texture once frozen. When you reheat, add a small amount of water to loosen up the curry. Reheat on low heat as the curry burns easily on the bottom of the pot.
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on May 6, 2011. The images have been updated in May 2, 2021 and a new video has been added.