Homemade Japanese Chicken Curry (Paleo, Gluten-free)

This homemade Japanese chicken curry recipe is a healthy, gluten-free take on the classic Golden Curry and is absolutely delicious and hearty. The curry sauce is created with cleaner ingredients and extra veggies are added for more nutrients.

Japanese chicken curry recipe (homemade, gluten-free, healthy)

What Is Japanese Curry?

Some of you might be familiar with the Japanese Golden Curry. It’s delicious, hearty and comforting food with a massive caveat: it’s usually made from a packet, or a compressed powder cube to be more specific. Even the ones you find in Japanese eateries will sometimes be made from a packet.

I have to admit that I used to buy packets of Golden Curry sauce from an Asian supermarket when I was a student. It’s cheap and full of that flavoursome MSG that at the time I didn’t seem to care so much about.

These days I avoid processed foods, especially the ones that look like the packet above, but I really miss the flavour of the Golden Curry. I decided to create my own homemade Japanese chicken curry recipe. I looked at a few existing recipes and adapted ingredients to be a bit healthier. I also added a couple of own twists. Result? Irena -1, Golden Curry Packet -0! This is truly one of the nicest curries (and easy too) I have ever made and I never have to buy the processed sauce mix.

How To Make Japanese Chicken Curry

For starters, you won’t be needing to buy any packet curry sauces! I use everyday ingredients and just a couple of more specific condiments such as fish sauce and Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) to recreate the flavour of the curry as I remember it.

I find that chicken thigh meat works best for this recipe. Diced into bite-sized pieces, it is stewed together with carrots, peas and potatoes, plus aromatics such as ginger and garlic. You can swap the veggies in any way you like: sweet potato instead of white, zucchini instead of peas and so on.

Once the curry is braised long enough (about 30 minutes tops), it is thickened using arrowroot powder. You could also use some tapioca powder or cassava flour, which will have a similar effect. 

Japanese chicken curry recipe (inspired by Golden Curry)

What To Serve With Japanese Curry

Honestly, I think it’s fine on its own. It has plenty of vegetables so it can be eaten as a one-pot stew. However, all that sauce can be a little strong in flavour so you could prepare a side dish of cauliflower rice, which would be great to absorb all the juices. If you want to serve this with rice or quinoa, be my guest!

More Healthy Stews & Curry Recipes

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Japanese chicken curry recipe (inspired by Golden Curry)

Japanese Chicken Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 4
Course: Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Print Pin Save
5 from 9 votes
Calories: 538kcal
You can use chicken, beef or pork in this curry. White potatoes can be easily replaced with sweet potatoes or other root vegetables of your choice - pumpkin, squash, parsnips, swedes etc. Serve it with regular or cauliflower rice, quinoa, green veggies and a side salad.


  • 600 g chicken thigh 1 lb. diced roughly (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 medium brown onion diced finely
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger powdered could be used, about 1 teaspoon
  • 2 medium carrots diced into cubes or sliced
  • 2 medium white potatoes peeled and diced into cubes
  • 2.5 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 2 large cloves garlic diced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar thicker, more aged variety is best
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder or tapioca


  • Cut up chicken thighs into pieces and set aside. Skin on or off is completely up to you.
  • Heat ghee in a medium saucepan or a casserole pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened.
  • Add the ginger and chicken, turn the heat to medium-high, and stir for a minute or two.
  • Then add the carrots, potatoes, curry, garlic, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, tamari, fish sauce and salt and stir for a minute, until everything is nice and brown.
  • Then pour in the chicken stock, stir and bring to boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
  • After 15 minutes, uncover, add the peas and stir. Cooke for a further 10 minutes without the lid. This will evaporate some of the liquid and thicken the sauce.
  • Finally, to thicken the sauce further, add 4-5 tablespoons of the sauce from the pot to a small bowl and mix in the arrowroot flour. Whisk it with a fork until it's more or less combined, although you will probably have a few lumps and that's ok. Add this mixture back to the pot and stir everything through. Turn off the heat and let it all come together in peace and harmony.
  • Serve with cauliflower rice or regular rice and some extra vegetables on the side.


Arrowroot powder. You could also use some tapioca powder or cassava flour, which will have a similar thickening effect.
Meat. You can use diced chicken thighs or breast meat. Pork and turkey would also work well in this recipe. I used thighs on the bone which I cut into pieces, then left one piece on the bone. I quite like cooking stews and curries with bones for extra flavour and gelatin.


Calories: 538kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 1503mg | Potassium: 1208mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5665IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 4mg
Keywords: Chicken Curry, Paleo, High-Protein, Curry Recipes, Chicken Thighs, Dinner Meals
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved
Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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  1. Irena
    First up great website with great recipes, I just have one question. In the Japanese curry recipe you have white potatoes and peas, I don’t want to go all ocd but I thought these were not allowed on paleo. I have only been doing it for 4 months (lost 23 kg so far) so I am not sure.
    Once again keep up the great work and I look forward to more of your yummy recipes.
    PS I bought your book and its a great cookbook!!!

    1. Hey Phil, these are absolutely valid questions, especially if you’re starting out. First about the peas…unlike dried, mature legumes, green garden peas haven’t developed enough to contain the anti-nutrients that their older siblings have. So things like green beans, snowpeas and garden peas are absolutely fine in moderation, plus garden peas contain lots of fibre, protein and carbohydrates, making them a good source of glucose. As for the white potatoes, these were shunned by the paleo diet for a while as they are nightshades, however they are not as bad as people make out. If you peel white potatoes, most of the saphonins go away with the skin. Cooking further neutralises the antinutrients. I would suggest avoiding white potatoes if you’re really watching the carbohydrate level or trying to heal a serious autoimmune condition, but in moderation they are still a nutritious food. As I mentioned in the recipe, they can be replaced with sweet potato or parsnips as well. I hope that helps. You can replace those with other veggies too.

    1. Megachef is really good and Poosin. They contain a little added sugar but very very little to worry about. You can get Red Boat brand online and that’s very paleo approved.

    1. Baba’s Meat Curry Powder is awesome. You’ll need to get it from an Asian supermarket. Otherwise good old Keens Curry Powder from Woolies or Coles is fine.

  2. Hi Irena,
    This is Saima and I live in Dallas. I watched Love Paleo last night (great movie) and thats what brought me to your website. Looking forward to trying out your delicious looking recipes. My question is do your recipes freeze well? The reason I ask is I am single and cooking for myself. I don’t want to waste food but would rather be able to save portions for later. Any thoughts?


    1. Hi Saima,

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Some of the recipes are good for freezing while others are not. Generally, curries, stews and soups are all good for freezing. Alternatively, make a smaller batch enough for dinner and lunch leftovers.

      Irena x

  3. 5 stars
    I made this the other day and accidentally put 2 1/2 Tablespoons of curry powder instead of teaspoons! !!! Oops lol. Added a tin of coconut cream help tone it down and it tasted fine still. Not that hot and we don’t like things spicy. I just love this recipe as I also loved golden curry pre paleo. Thank you xoxo

  4. 5 stars
    I have made this twice now, the first time with white potatoes and the second time with sweet potato, both were delicious. Great recipe, thank you for sharing.

  5. 5 stars
    I hardly ever leave reviews but this was an amazing recipe. We had Japanese Curry last night and I was craving it again but looking to make it healthy. This was even better than the curry yesterday. Made the chicken separate in the pan first then made the curry minus peas and potatoes and a little extra cayenne powder. Served over Broccoli rice. I will be making this again very soon.

    1. Thanks Emily 🙂 Super happy that you liked it and even better than the original. Homemade is often nicer in my opinion 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I made this recipe tonight. It was absolutely fabulous. I doubled the recipe, and used a mix of white potatoes and Japanese purple potatoes. (I neglected to peel the potatoes, but I can live with this.) Just wonderful. Thank you so much!


  7. 5 stars
    I made this recipe tonight for the first time and decided it is definitely a repeat meal. I used pork and especially enjoyed the hearty, complex flavors with rich gravy. Serving over cauliflower rice was perfect. My husband isn’t especially fond of raw cauliflower, but the flavor was very soft under the stew. An added bonus was the wonderful aroma while simmering! The vegetable options make it a very versatile dish, too.

  8. This was deliciousness Irena! Thanks for the recipe…..I used chicken thighs, sweet potato, carrots, swede and a bit of parsnip, also the peas and served over cauliflower rice….a great serving of vegies. It is a keeper!! Also a great recipe to take on the road in our caravan.

  9. Thanks for the amazing recipe, this curry was absolutely delicious! Defiantly on the “cook again” list and the thumbs up from Hubby. I replaced the White Potatoes with Sweet Potatoes and served it with Gluten Free Rice Noodles.
    We will be fighting over who gets the left overs for lunch tomorrow no doubt.

    Can’t wait for more recipes like this.

    1. Thank, Tanya. I am really happy you and the hubby both liked it. Sounds like you had a nice meal out it.

  10. 5 stars
    This is a BEAUTIFUL meal – long time since I ate Japanese curry at Don Don’s in Melbourne city, for many years I had searched for a recipe to match, and this one nails it. So tasty, will make again and again. Thanks Irena! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I did Whole30 last month and after that decided it was time to give up my beloved Golden Curry. I went searching for a Paleo substitute and this recipe did not disappoint. I served the curry over cauliflower rice and it was so, so good— maybe ever better than the original.

  12. 5 stars
    You are my Favorite go to Person from now on scanning your Sauces i had a few dabbles in the kitchen making up stuff however
    your the Tom Brady of Good dishes from now on. Viva la Mrs. IreneMacri.

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