Comfort Cooking: Japanese-style bone-on chicken curry with rice

Japanese curry is more khaki in colour than orange.
Japanese curry is more khaki in colour than orange.ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE - Watching Japanese drama The Curry Songs on Netflix set off my cravings for Kare Raisu (Japanese Curry Rice).

A different variety from the local versions, Japanese curry is more khaki in colour than orange.

There are several brands of Japanese curry roux available in the market. A Japanese friend once recommended me the Golden Curry brand. I find that a mix of brands renders better results. I recommend combining Golden Curry and Java Curry roux.

Both brands offer varying levels of spiciness. I go for the medium hot or medium spicy versions. You will be surprised how spicy these can be.

These ready-to-use roux are salty and it is best to avoid using canned chicken stock. I learnt my lesson after one attempt. Using plain water is an option, but the resulting sauce lacks a meaty punch. Using homemade unsalted chicken stock is ideal. I make mine using whole chicken breast meat. Excess chicken stock can be stored frozen for other uses.

While most versions of Japanese curry feature boneless meat, I prefer using bone-in meat as it allows for a longer cooking time - which means more time for the meat to soak up the flavours of the curry.

I also prefer to cook a larger portion so that I have leftovers for lunch the next day.

The curry goes well with rice. But have it with bread, if you like.


Japanese-style Bone-in Chicken Curry

Ingredients

5 large chicken legs (1.2kg), cut into four pieces each

2 Tbs mirin

3 Tbs cooking sake

1 Tbs olive oil

1 yellow onion (150g), diced

10g ginger, smashed

2 medium-sized carrots (380g), roll-cut into bite-sized pieces

2 red-skinned potatoes (380g), roll-cut into bite-sized pieces

8 Swiss brown mushrooms, quartered

1.2 litres chicken stock (homemade, unsalted)

1 apple (300g), peeled, cored and grated

Golden Curry Japanese Curry Mix Medium Hot (137.5g) 1 brick and ¼ of the second brick

Java Curry Sauce Mix Medium Spicy (92.7g) 1 brick

Method

1. Wash the chicken and drain dry.

2. Place the chicken in a deep dish and add mirin and cooking sake. Mix well. Clingwrap and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least two hours. Remove the chicken from the fridge 45 minutes before cooking.

3. Heat olive oil in non-stick pot.

4. Add diced onion and fry over medium heat.

5. Once the onion begins to brown, add the chicken pieces and ginger. Fry until the chicken is browned.

6. Add the carrots and potatoes.

7. Add 1.2 litres of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Allow to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

8. Add the grated apple and curry bricks. Stir and make sure the bricks are dissolved.

9. Bring to a simmer and cook for another eight minutes. Add the mushroom and bring to a simmer.

10. Cover, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cook in residual heat for another 40 minutes.

11. Reheat just before serving.

Serves six

Japanese Steamed Rice

Ingredients

2 rice cups of Japanese short-grained rice

2¼ rice cups water

4cm piece of dried kombu

Method

1. Wash and rinse the rice until water runs clear.

2. Place rice, water and kombu in rice cooker pot.

3. Set on slow cook and press cook.

4. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Serves four