An easy weeknight version of Indian curry, this Japanese-riff is a one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, vegetables and rice. Instead of relying on store-bought or homemade instant curry roux, the recipe builds on a few spices to mimic traditional Japanese curry flavors.
Curry powder, ground nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce are combined and bloomed in butter to create the round and rich sauce. Onions, potatoes and carrots create the bulk of traditional Japanese curry. You can easily substitute sweet potatoes, cauliflower and/or peas to address family preferences.
Kay Chun’s original recipe called for 2 pounds of large chicken thighs. The math doesn’t add up here. We bought a package nearly 2 1⁄2 pounds containing only 5 thighs—and they weren’t necessarily “large,” so if you were serving 6 people, that would be a challenge. I say forget the poundage, and just buy 6 large thighs—there is enough rice mixture to support that many servings.
It is suggested you serve in bowls. Maybe because we used a “paella” rice which is really absorbent, there wasn’t much liquid and could have been served on plates. Speaking of liquid, of course we used homemade stock which adds oodles of flavor. And we nearly doubled the amount of minced fresh ginger to really amp up the Asian flavor.
1 1/2 cups short-grain white rice, rinsed until water runs clear
1 large baking potato (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 medium carrots, sliced 1/2-inch-thick
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Chopped scallions pickles, kimchi and/or hot sauce, for serving
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Rub chicken with 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot (at least 3 1⁄2 quarts), heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil with 1 tablespoon butter over medium until butter is melted. Working in two batches, brown chicken 3 to 4 minutes per side, and transfer to a plate.
Add onion to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 minutes. Add curry powder, garlic, ginger, nutmeg and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and stir until butter is melted and spices are fragrant, 1 minute.
Add rinsed rice and stir until evenly coated in spices. Add potato, carrots, broth and Worcestershire sauce, scraping bottom of pot to lift up any browned bits. Season broth generously with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken and any accumulated juices on top, skin-side up, and bring to a boil over high. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake until most of the liquid is absorbed and chicken is golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.
Divide chicken and rice among bowls, and garnish with scallions. If desired, serve with any combination of pickles, kimchi and hot sauce.
Ginger-Cumin Beef Curry — Bhuna is a type of South Asian curry that’s especially intense and flavorful because the aromatics and a generous amount of spices are fried in oil and only a little liquid is added to simmer the meat. This version we found in a recent issue of Milk Street.
Over the course of cooking, the liquid is allowed to reduce, resulting in deep, bold, concentrated flavors and a thick, rich sauce. According to some sources, the term bhuna refers to the cooking technique employed to make the dish. The Instant Pot is well-suited to making bhuna-style beef curry: the pressure cooker function cooks the meat without any added liquid at all and the slow cooker function simmers it gently and steadily with only a small amount of added moisture.
If you prefer more vegetables, you could incorporate carrots and/or broccoli. We simply paired ours with a side salad. Serve the curry garnished with thinly sliced red onion and with basmati rice on the side.
Don’t forget to add ⅓ cup water if slow-cooking. The liquid, added just before the pot is sealed, helps the beef mixture come to temperature more quickly, for a slightly shorter overall cooking time. The water is not needed if using the pressure-cooker function.
2 serrano chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2½-3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1½- to 2-inch chunks
1/3 cup water (unless using a stove-top pressure cooker)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select More/High Sauté. Heat the ghee until shimmering, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the ginger, garlic, cardamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, peppercorns and bay, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chilies and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beef and distribute in an even layer.
Press Cancel, lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 40 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, let the pressure reduce naturally for 15 minutes, then release any remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the solids to a medium bowl. Remove and discard the bay. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid (or use a fat separator).
Select More/High Sauté, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Return the meat to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Press Cancel.
Stir in the lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.