Kare-Raisu: How To Make Japanese Chicken Curry

Japanese curry is a popular dish all over Japan. It is readily available in various restaurants and it is also cooked at home by many. Since the curry is usually served with rice, the word “curry rice” is often used. In Japanese curry, the main ingredients are potatoes, carrots, onions, and beef. Typically the sauce itself is made of curry powder or roux, which is a mixture of essential Indian spices. The typical Japanese curry is thicker in texture, tastes sweeter, and is less spicy than its Indian counterpart.

Kare-Raisu: Japanese Chicken Curry

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Curry comes from Indian cuisine and was brought by the British to Japan. The whole preparation and cooking time is 1 hour and 30 minutes. This recipe is suitable for six servings. 

This dish is best paired with steamed white rice. Photo credits: @adri_hisa.

Kare-Raisu: Japanese Chicken Curry Ingredients

For the curry spice blend,

  • 3 tablespoons, whole coriander seed, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
  • 2 tablespoons whole fenugreek seed, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
  • 3 teaspoons cardamom seeds, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
  • 3 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3g)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 strips dehydrated orange peel, optional
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, depending on the intensity of your chili powder and how spicy you want the curry
  • Pinch fresh nutmeg, grated

For the stew,

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 10 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 quart (950ml) chicken stock
  • 1 quart (950ml) dashi
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • Half of 1 (6-ounce) apple, peeled, cored, and finely grated
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 piece peeled fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 4 tablespoons curry spice blend (recipe above)
  • 2 cups frozen peas, optional
  • Warm short-grain rice, for serving
  • Pickled ginger and/or rakkyo (pickled Japanese scallion), for serving

Kare-Raisu: Japanese Chicken Curry Instructions

Step 1: For the curry spice blend, mix coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, black peppercorns, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, orange peel (if used) and grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Pour into a small bowl and mix, then set aside, with turmeric, chili powder, and nutmeg.

Step 2: Dress chicken with salt and pepper for the stew. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven until hot. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until browned on both sides. Place the chicken on a plate and set aside.

Step 3: Add onion to the Dutch oven on lower to medium-low heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring until golden. For 4 minutes, add and cook the carrots. Add chicken stock and dashi and cook over high heat. Then, reduce heat and let simmer.

Step 4: Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and add to the pot, along with any juices that have been accumulated. Add potatoes and apple and cook until the potatoes are tender and the carrots can be pierced easily with a fork. This will take about 15 minutes.

Step 5: Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan until it foams. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the roux is a deep caramel brown. Add ginger and 3 spoonfuls (25 g) of the curry spice blend and cook for 1 minute.

Step 6: Scrape the roux into the stew pot and mix well until the broth has thickened. Using salt and pepper to season. If using peas, stir them in and cook until hot. Serve curry and pickled ginger and/or rakkyo with cooked rice.

Kare-Raisu: Japanese Chicken Curry Additional Information

  • Per serving, this recipe has 781 calories, 116 g of carbohydrates, 24 g of fat, and 18 g of protein. 
  • This recipe will take 1 hour and 30 minutes to prepare. 
  • This recipe will make six portions. 
  • Toast the pods first if you have cardamom pods, then break them to extract the seeds. You can try the orange peels on a banking sheet in the oven set to the lowest setting. Test the peels frequently and remove them when they are dehydrated.

Image source: oyakata.com

About Kare-Raisu: Japanese Chicken Curry Recipe

During the Meiji era, Curry was introduced to Japan. At the time, the British Empire was under colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent. As such, they helped spread the amazing flavors of Indian cuisine around the world.


Curry started to be consumed in Japan in the 1870s and soon became a staple in the Japanese diet. It wasn’t until the early twentieth century, when the Japanese Navy and Army adopted Curry, that the dish began to popularize more broadly with the Japanese.  For more international recipes, click here.

Featured Image: @tudosdebom / Instagram.com, @hikmahbento / Instagram.com