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.
One-Pot Japanese Curry Chicken and Rice
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 Tbsp. Madras curry powder
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 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.
Adapted from a recipe by Kay Chun for NY Times Cooking