Thursday, October 4, 2018

Copycat House Vermont Japanese Chicken Curry - Easy! Healthy! Cooked from Scratch with REAL Apple and Honey! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

My 9-year old Aussie born spicy-food-hating son is never a fan of curry but he LOVES Japanese curry!

From time to time, he will crave for Japanese curry and ask me to cook House Vermont curry for him. And it has to be THIS specific brand and its mild curry!!!

What is House Vermont Japanese curry?
According to Just Hungry, Vermont curry is the most popular packet curry brand in Japan. It was introduced in 1963 as a mild version of curry that is suitable for kids to eat and it is still very popular now.

Why is House Vermont Japanese curry so popular and tasty?
My son tells me the Vermont curry is delicious because it is made with apple and honey! Hmmm.... I have no doubt that the curry is made of apple and honey but at the same time, I can't help to notice that it is also made with a super long list of ingredients which includes the unhealthy palm oil with high saturated fat content, SUGAR, banana (huh?), MSG and many unknown flavourings, additives and thickeners. Sugar and MSG! Hmmm... No wonder my son is loving this curry and it is still the most popular curry in Japan! LOL!!!

Well, you know what? After cooking and baking delicious Japanese Curry Chicken Pot Pie at here and Japanese Curry Chicken Puff Pastry Pies at here, I'm confident that I can cook a delicious copycat Vermont Japanese curry from scratch! And with REAL apple and honey!!!

copycat House Vermont Japanese chicken curry cooked scratch apple honey
This is my House Vermont Japanese Chicken Curry!
Cooked from scratch with REAL apple and honey.
For my son, I always have a packet of Vermont curry in my pantry.
Now that I can cook this curry, I'm pretty sure that I don't have to buy this anymore... Yay!
At the back of the packet, you will see this super long list of ingredients
... and they are mostly unknown and some can be quite worrying!

Whenever I search Google for "Japanese curry recipe from scratch", I will find many different versions.

Most of the recipes prepare the curry roux in advance and use it whenever it is required but I like to cook mine all within the same day.

Most recipes use chicken or beef stock to cook the gravy but I like my curry to have a mixture of chicken stock and milk. And this milk-and-chicken-stock combination can be optional.

Some recipes add chocolate or cocoa powder or even coffee to make the curry richer and darker in colour but I find this addition not entirely necessary.

*Some recipes use tomato paste or tomato sauce to add a bit of tang into the curry but I prefer to add just apple purée, preferably the pre-cooked one because the freshly grated apple or uncooked apple purée can make the curry gravy a little gritty or grainy.

Some recipes use a long list of spices but mine is straightforward with just mild curry powder and garam masala and it still tastes legitly like Vermont curry!

Most importantly, all Japanese curry must be ideally cooked from a roux and so please do not omit the initial cooking step with a flour mixture and butter. At least, we are not cooking with palm oil and this sensible amount of butter will make the curry way more delicious!

copycat House Vermont Japanese chicken curry cooked scratch apple honey
I can cook copycat Vermont Japanese curry easily from scratch!!!
And I'm sure that you can do the same too!

Here's a quick video showing how I cooked my Japanese curry from scratch. Happy that I don't need to buy packets of these palm oil, sugar, MSG plus many unknown ingredients anymore...

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Here's my easy healthy straightforward recipe.

Serve 4

For the curry powder mix:
30g (3 tbsp) plain / all purpose flour
10g (1 tbsp) mild curry powder or the hot one if you prefer
5g (1 tsp) garam masala or more if you prefer a stronger curry

Combine plain / all-purpose flour, curry powder and garam masala. Set aside.

For the chicken:
500g chicken thighs, skinless, boneless and cut into 3 cm cubes
1 tbsp (10g) cornflour
freshly ground salt and black pepper to season

Combine chicken, cornflour, salt and pepper.

To cook the curry:
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil, plus more if required
30g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 medium brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped into 4 cm chunky pieces
2 tsp garlic mince
2 medium white potatoes, peeled and each cut into one-eighth or quarters
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 4 cm chunk
250ml (1 cup) milk or chicken stock or water, plus more if required
200g unsweetened steamed-cooked apple purée or applesauce - see the above cooking tip*
2 tbsp honey, plus more to season
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to season

Add chicken stock into a saucepan and bring it to boil with medium high heat. Then, reduce heat to simmer.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan with medium high heat. Cook chicken for about 2-3 mins until golden brown. Transfer onto a plate and set aside. Do not wash frying pan.

Heat 1 tbsp oil and butter in the same frying pan with medium high heat until butter is just melted. Cook onion for about 2-3 mins or until golden and fragrant. Add garlic and curry powder mix. Stir and cook for about 1-2 min or until fragrant. Add potatoes and carrots and cook briefly for 2-3 mins.

Gradually stir in the hot chicken stock and use a scratch-proof / wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to de-glaze. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat to low.

Transfer all into a cooking pot with a lid if the frying pan that you are using is too shallow or has no lid. Add milk or more chicken stock or water, apple purée or applesauce and seared chicken. Cover and allow curry to simmer with occasion stirring for 15-20 mins or until the potatoes, carrots and chicken are tender and the curry gravy will be nicely thickened. Do not boil the curry rapidly because the added milk might cause the gravy to split. If the curry is too thick, you can always add more milk or chicken stock or water until it has reaches your ideal consistency.

Remove from heat. Season with honey and salt according to your taste and liking.

Serve immediately while it is hot with steamed white rice.

Happy Cooking
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  1. Oooooh! Thank you for working on this recipe. My kids are a fan of this brand of jap curry too! But didn't realise there are so many "unknown" ingredients. Thought anything jap Shld be quite healthy.

    Anyway, any specific type of curry powder? Or is there only 1 type of curry powder? Cos in sgp wet markets there are different types.

    1. Hi, I know that the curry experts in Singapore sells many different types of curry powder. However, there is always two types of typical curry powder selling in most supermarkets and they are the mild and the hot ones. Besides, this recipe contains just 1 tbsp curry powder and so any slight difference in the curry powder used won't cause a lot of drastic differences. Cheers!

  2. HI Zoey
    thanks for sharing this recipe. i would like to make it but i don't think i want to buy garam masala just for this. can i leave it out? or substitute with sth else? thanks

    1. Hi Octopusmum,

      Most typical garam masala contains coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cloves and red pepper chilies... which is a lot of ingredients!!! I would rather to buy one garam masala then buy eight other ingredients to make one garam masala! And please do not omit this ingredient. Cheers!

    2. HI Zoe

      i went ahead to make this curry using your other recipe without garam masala and it is very good. my kids all gave thumbs up! so thanks for sharing..will see if i want to get a bottle of garam masala to make the next time...

    3. Hi Octopusmum,

      You must be referring to the Jap curry pot pie recipe at which is the milder version of Jap curry. The recipe in this post is trying to replicate the House Vermont curry and I reckon the addition of garam masala is pretty essential. Cheers!