Japanese-Style Chicken Curry (Wafuu Curry)

Wafuu curry has a cult following in Japan, where many fondly remember eating it at home and at school functions. The recipes vary from cook to cook, and often include a host of "secret" ingredients like chocolate, milk, miso, and dashi (a stock made from seaweed and bonito flakes). Unlike most curries in other countries, this one is thickened with flour, which creates a smoother texture.

Japanese-Style Chicken Curry (Wafuu Curry)
This quick-cooking chicken curry is an easy weeknight dinner full of surprising, wonderful flavor from curry powder, apples, ginger, and soy sauce.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 tbsp. canola or peanut oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 medium yellow onion, 1⁄2 finely chopped, 1⁄2 cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder, preferably S&B brand
  • 2 tbsp. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut crosswise into 1⁄2" rounds
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 small fuji apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • Steamed short-grain white rice

Instructions

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium pot over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper to taste, add to the skillet, and cook, stirring and turning frequently, until deep golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, transfer the chicken to a large plate, and set aside.
  2. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the ginger, chopped onions, and garlic and cook, stirring often to scrape up any browned bits, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is evenly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and the tomatoes, stir well to combine, and remove the skillet from the heat. Add 1⁄2 cup of hot chicken stock and whisk vigorously to combine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. (The browned bits will contribute greatly to the taste and color of the curry.) Whisk the curry mixture into the pot of simmering chicken stock, then add the reserved browned chicken thighs, onion pieces, bay leaf, carrots, and potatoes. Bring the curry to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add the apples, honey, soy sauce, and salt to taste to the curry and stir well to combine. Cook the curry, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat, until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes more. Serve the curry with steamed rice.