Chicken Vegetable Curry Rice

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カレーチキン野菜 Kare Chikin Yasai

Japanese children love curry. Japanese adults love curry. A day with curry on the menu – whether at home or at school – is a happy day for all. Easy to make and simple to eat, the varieties of ingredients you can put into your curry are endless. Some people put fishcake such as chikuwa in, others put cheese or sweetened kewpie brand mayonnaise. As far as vegetables go, pretty much anything is fair game. What we have listed below are starter ingredients, but by all means toss in your family favorites. Experiment with broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, cabbage, zucchini or more! The sky is the limit with this recipe. Best of all - as the vegetables are coated in a savory layer of spicy sweet goodness, children won’t notice they are eating something healthy in the first place.  Most often you’ll find “Japanese curry” sold in roux blocks in the store. But, for a little bit more time and effort you can make something truly homemade and suited to your flavor! A few tips: Take your time making the roux and caramelize the butter-flour mixture until it is at least a golden brown. This is the base to the entire curry, and you want to create as nutty and savory a flavor as possible. Additionally, chop the onions first and get them caramelized in the pot first. While they cook, attend to chopping and preparing the chicken and vegetables.

Ingredients:

For the roux:

3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons curry powder (ideally, S&B Brand)
1 heaping tablespoon ketchup (or tomato paste)
1 heaping tablespoons tonkatsu sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)
A dash of soy sauce 

For the curry:

1 large onions sliced thin
1 ½ - 2 pounds chicken thighs cleaned and cut into chunks (you could also use beef, shrimp, fishcake, or tofu)
1 carrots cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, medium chopped
4 cups water
2 large Yukon gold potatoes cut into large chunks – or any potato of your choice (pealed, if necessary)
1 small apple peeled cored and pureed (Microplane or cheese grater, suggested)
½ cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen or fresh green beans, cut in half
2 teaspoons kosher salt (use less if you use regular salt)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon good quality chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Shredded Cheese to garnish (optional)

Instructions:

For the Roux:

1.      Melt the butter over medium low heat in a small sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk together.

2.      On low to medium heat, slowly caramelize the flour-butter mixture stirring frequently. Be careful not to let the mixture burn.

3.      Once it has begun to turn a golden, nutty brown, remove from heat.

4.      While hot, add the curry powder, stirring until you have a thick paste.

5.      Add the ketchup, tonkatsu sauce, and  soy sauce and combine.

6.      Return to low heat until the paste starts crumbling.

7.      Remove from heat and set aside until the meat and veggies are ready. Alternatively, seal the sauce pan with plastic wrap or a lid and set aside for later use.

*Note: You can make this roux in large batches and freeze it as needed. I recommend par-freezing it in ice cube containers, then transferring it to a freezer bag.

For the Curry:


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat and add the onions. Sauté the onions until softened. If you have time, consider caramelizing them into a golden brown (about 30 minutes). This will add additional sweetness to the curry.

2. Once the onions are ready, turn up the heat to high, add the chicken, and brown on all sides.

3. Add the carrots, celery, and the water, then bring to a boil.

4. Skim off any foam or oil that accumulates at the surface then lower heat to medium and add the potatoes, and puréed apple. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until you can pass a fork through the carrots and potatoes and the meat is tender.

5. To make the curry, ladle at least two cups of liquid into the roux then whisk until smooth. Pour this mixture back into the other pot and gently stir until thickened.

6. Taste the curry and assess. Add the additional teaspoon of curry powder, and at this time add the bouillon or honey if you wish.

7. Add the frozen peas and green beans and simmer on low heat until they are cooked through.

8. Top with shredded cheese, if desired. Serve with rice or noodles.