The Japanese term for curry is kare, and this is a great curry recipe. This recipe empties out the spice cabinet and the vegetable drawer. We credit this recipe to Daniel Gritzer at seriouseats.com. The dashi called for is a broth made of water, kombu (dried kelp), and bonito flakes which provides a distinctive seafood/seawater flavor. Don’t despair if you don’t have access to those ingredients—we didn’t either, and we can vouch that adding additional chicken broth to make up for the dashi did not detract from the rich flavor of this recipe.
We also recommend you make the spice blend ahead of time. The first six ingredients need to be toasted as seeds or pods before grinding. The cardamom can be roasted in the pods before cracking the pods to isolate the seeds. It might not be quite as much punch as if you make it at the same time as the rest of the dish, but there is a fair amount of preparation devoted just to the spice mix.
We include the recipe here if you can’t find it elsewhere.
For the spice blend:
2 Tbsp whole coriander seed, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
1 Tbsp whole cumin seed, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
1 Tbsp whole fenugreek seed, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
2 1/2 tsp cardamom seed (or pods), toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
2 tsp whole black peppercorns, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
1/2 tsp fennel seed, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
1 (2-inch) piece cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1/2 star anise pod
1 or 2 strips dehydrated orange peel (optional)
2 Tbsp ground turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili powder
Pinch grated fresh nutmeg
For the stew:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb. yellow onion, diced
8 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 quart homemade or instant dashi
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
Half of 6-ounce apple, peeled, cored, and finely grated, minced or puréed
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, finely grated
3 Tbsp spice blend
1 cup frozen peas
Warm short-grain rice, cooked
For the curry spice blend: In a spice grinder, combine coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, black peppercorns, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and orange peel (if using) and grind to a fine powder. Empty into a small bowl and combine with turmeric, chili powder, and nutmeg, then set aside.
For the stew: Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken and cook, turning, until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add onion to Dutch oven, lower heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and dashi and bring to a simmer over high heat; reduce heat to maintain a simmer.
Cut up chicken into bite-size pieces and add back to pot, along with any accumulated juices. Add potatoes and apple and cook at a gentle simmer until potatoes are tender and carrots can easily be pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, until roux is a deep caramel brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in ginger and 3 tablespoons curry spice blend and cook for 1 minute.
Scrape roux into stew pot, stir well, and simmer until broth has thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in peas, if using, and cook until heated through.
Serve curry with cooked rice and pickled ginger and/or rakkyo (Japanese pickled scallion).
Notes: If you have cardamom pods, toast the pods first, then crack them to remove the seeds. You can dry orange peels on a baking sheet in an oven set to its lowest setting; check them frequently, and remove when dehydrated. If you don’t have dashi, you can use the same volume of additional chicken stock to replace it.
Active Time: 90 minutes
Total Time: 120 minutes