Saturday, September 29, 2012

Homemade Japanese Chicken Curry in the Crock Pot. No Flavor Bricks or MSG!

One of my obsessions is Japanese Chicken Curry. It’s thick, creamy and magical. In the Asian section of grocery stores you can buy it in block form. You cook the chicken, potatoes and carrots in water and then melt the bricks in near the end. Buying the bricks is easy and delicious, but there is a downside.

I looked at the nutrition values… Box curry is not that good for you and has an insane amount of sodium and MSG. Therefore, my latest endeavor has been to make curry that tastes just as good without the blocks.

Through experimentation, it is abundantly clear that the best curry powder is S&B curry powder. It is specially made for Japanese curry. I got mine at the Nijiya market in San Francisco. I’m sure you could find it at most Asian markets though, just look in the spices.

Today I tried making it in the crock pot. It turned out wonderful :)

Here is what I did - The full recipe is posted at the bottom

1 lb Chicken Tenderloins, 3 Russet Potatoes, 1 White Onion, 1 C Baby Carrots (I prefer regular carrots but this is what I had on hand), 3 ½ Tb of S&B Curry Powder, 1 Tsp Salt, Pinch of Pepper, Pinch of Cayenne, Pinch of Instant Coffee, Pinch of Cinnamon, 2 Tb Flour, 3 ½ Tb Melted Butter, 1 Tb Katsu Sauce, 2 Tb Cooking Wine, 1 Tb Ketchup, ½ C Unsweetened Apple Sauce, 4 C Chicken Broth -- (Ignore the Worcestershire in the picture, I decided not to add it in the end)

First - Chop up your veggies! I don't cut up my chicken breasts when crock potting but you can chop it if you like. Lay the chicken and veggies in the crock pot, they can wait for a sec while you prepare the sauce. Cover it if you have nosy cats.

Mix your dry sauce ingredients. Curry powder, flour, cayenne, salt, pepper, cinnamon, instant coffee.

Start the broth boiling. Put the dry ingredients in a separate pan and heat on medium till aromatic. Do not overcook!

Add the melted butter, ketchup and katsu sauce.  Stir until it gets kind of crumbly.

Add about 1 Cup of broth to the spice mixture to liquefy it. Once smooth add the rest of the broth. Add in apple sauce and cooking wine. Bring to a boil then simmer until it thickens a bit.  Pour over other crock pot ingredients.

Close, cook on high for 4 1/2 hours.

Voila! Serve with white rice. (I use Jasmine because it’s my favorite) You know you want a bite.

Hubby and I enjoyed our dinner while we watched Return of the King in preparation for The Hobbit coming out in December :)

Homemade Crockpot Japanese Chicken Curry
1 lb Chicken Tenderloins
3 Russet Potatoes
1 White Onion
1 C Baby Carrots (I prefer regular carrots but this is what I had on hand)

For the Sauce:
3 ½ Tb of S&B Curry Powder
1 Tsp Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne
Pinch of Instant Coffee
Pinch of Cinnamon
2 Tb Flour
3 ½ Tb Butter
1 Tb Katsu Sauce (Can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
2 Tb Cooking Wine
1 Tb Ketchup
½ C Unsweetened Apple Sauce
4 C Chicken Broth

Chop potatoes, carrots and onions and place in crock pot. Put chicken on top. For the sauce, boil the broth. In a separate pan combine dry ingredients – Curry Powder, cayenne, coffee, cinnamon, and flour. Heat until aromatic. Add melted butter, ketchup and katsu sauce. Heat on medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture becomes slightly crumbly. Add in about a cup of the boiling broth and mix until smooth. Now add the rest of the broth and mix. Put in the apple sauce and white wine. Bring back to a boil, then simmer until the sauce thickens up a bit. Pour sauce over the ingredients in the crock pot. You can add in more broth if you want it more saucy (I added about a half cup more broth) just keep in mind that the chicken will release some of its juices as well while it cooks. Put crock pot on high for about 4 ½ hours. Serve over rice!

And just for fun, I'm 28 weeks pregnant! December 19 is coming up fast!


  1. BTW, I had been using this recipe because it always turned out well, but was searching for something I could do in a crockpot. -- I look forward to trying yours!

    1. Oh thanks for posting that, I'm always looking for new curry recipes!

  2. You're welcome! Also some of the English is a little confusing so I asked a friend who reads Japanese what it meant: soup stocks = boullion cubes, laurel = bay leaf. And congrats on your soon-to-be new addition :)

  3. I've been searching for chili & curry recipes now for like six hours (no life whatsoever) and came across this page, when I realized you were the same blogger who posted about how to soften Red Heart. I use that method now so that I can knit zillions of slouchy berets without ruining my credit score! -And-, bonus points, we have the same due date! My first clinic gave me Dec. 21st, but my current clinic gave me the 19th! My baby is also a girl. So, yeah, dropping a line to say "Congrats!" about your baby and thanks for the recipe and the Red Heart advice.

  4. Bless you for this! Few understand my obsession for Japanese curry (I grew up in Japan and it is my absolute favorite food. Ever.). I've been wanting to make it from scratch AND make it in a slow cooker and here you are. Cannot wait to try this! Hope you and your new addition are doing well!

  5. Just came home to the states from Okinawa.. Loved the Japanese curry I had there and have been wanting to make it at home for my family. Can't wait to try out your recipe! Thanks!

  6. Hello-I will be making this for my daughter and her friends for a birthday dinner. Can you tell me how many servings are in this recipe...thinking I should double it. Thanks! :)

    1. I'd say about 5-6. I honestly don't know what counts as a serving but that's how many my husband and I get out of it.

      When I was in high school I asked my mom to make curry for my birthday dinner too :)

  7. Thanks for posting, I'm looking forward to trying it!

    Curious - why would you heat the dry spices first and add the fat butter/oil second? I have always seen the reverse.


  8. Thanks for the post! Were you able to find Katsu sauce without MSG or HFCS?

  9. I lived in Okinawa while I was in high school, and absolutely LOVE Japanese curry! Can't wait to try your recipe! Thanks for sharing. :)

  10. Just came across this searching for a good curry recipe. Can't wait to try this out this weekend! Thank you so much it looks delicious. :)

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