Recently, I've been on a bit of a Japanese cooking kick at home. When I posted my pork tonkatsu recipe last week, I mentioned living in Japan as a kid. That's where I developed a love for earthy, homestyle dishes like tonkatsu, and this one: chicken curry, Japanese-style.
This curry isn't really anything like an Indian or Thai curry. For starters, it's milder, although you could kick up the heat by adding additional cayenne or hot peppers. Also, Japanese curry typically has potatoes and carrots, something you usually don't see in Indian curries. You could also substitute tofu for the chicken if you'd like to try a vegetarian version.
The classic accompaniment to this dish is steamed 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.
Add 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.
Add the chicken to the pan and saute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 5 minutes or so.
Stir the tomato paste and preserves into the chicken.
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.
Photos by Ted Scheffler