This Katsu Curry Is one of those warming comfort food dishes I turn to in the winter time. There's something so very uncomplicated about it. It has three elements and no apologies. I love nothing more than sitting in a tiny Japanese Restaurant in the warm, being deeply fulfilled by the crunchy chicken cutlet (Katsu), the carb-laden rice and of course, the delicious Japanese curry sauce.
Katsu Curry breaks all the rules.
I don't have many hard and fast rules in my kitchen, but one that I try to stick to is not using pre-bought pastes and sauces - not because I'm THAT much of a purist, but if you look at the back of the packet or jar there are always a cacophony of additives and extras in them. I like to know what I'm eating, so I make mine from scratch.
All rules are thrown out the kitchen window when it comes to Katsu Curry. Japanese curry sauce cubes are a DELICIOUS essential. All you need to do is add water and heat them up and you have a creamy, spice laden curry sauce! It's magic.
And it MUST be this curry sauce. I made my own from scratch a few times, and sure they were OK, but they didn't have this VERY SPECIFIC flavour. And it's the very specific flavour that is in my opinion, very essential. It's as Authentic as you'll get from any restaurant - because it's what 99.9% of restaurants use.
A dog's dinner
It reminds me very very much of my youth in North Eastern England, hanging around the fish and chip shops. I'd always order the same thing - chips, curry sauce, gravy and mushy peas - all on one tray! It was called a dog's dinner. It was the flavour of my teens! The curry sauce was so intoxicating, so when I first sampled this curry mix, I was transported back to my formative years, minus the mushy peas (sad face). With all this in mind, I naturally became an instant fan of Katsu Curry.
Other than breading and frying your chicken this dish is super simple to put together. I don't deep fry a lot of things, but I'll make an exception for Katsu. I make this with chicken mostly, but I also love it with a nice lean pork steak. The crunch of a katsu is one of life's great treats. Another of life's great Japanese treats which features the Katsu is the formidable Katsudon - a rice bowl like no other. Guaranteed to warm the coldest of hearts.
So, there's absolutely no reason to set foot in another Japanese Katsu restaurant ever again when you can make 100% authentic thing at home. Enjoy!
Katsu meets Dog
Shirley the dog approves of chicken Katsu too (minus the sauce). She ate hers with a little rice and then came to me in the kitchen and began shivering violently. She was of course pretending to be sick so that I would give her more. I fell for it and she got a second helping!
How to make my Katsu Curry
- 1 Japanese curry sauce packet
- 2 medium chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp plain, all-purpose flour
- 2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg (beaten)
- salt & pepper
- 1 1/2 cup canola oil (or vegetable)
- 1 cup Premium grade Japanese rice
- To cook the rice, add 1 cup rice and two cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low and cover the pan. DON'T STIR THE RICE. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until all the water has evaporated. Remove from the heat. Remove the lid and cover the pan with a tea towel or paper towel and return the lid. (this will stop it becoming wet). Set aside while you cook everything else.
- Cook the Japanese Curry Sauce to the packet instructions. If they're in Japanese, just wing it - add a little water at a time - it thickens when hot, so just add a little at a time till you get a good thick pourable consistency. Cover and set aside while you prepare the cutlets.
- Place your chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap, and using a kitchen mallet, pound them to flatten out to about 1 inch. Set aside.
- Create a breading station with 3 separate bowls. Bowl 1: Flour, seasoned with salt & pepper Bowl 2: Beaten egg, mixed with 1-2 tbsp water Bowl 3: Panko breadcrumbs Dip the chicken into the flour, shake off the excess then dip into the egg. Shake off the excess egg and then dip into the Panko. Coat the chicken in breadcrumbs, pressing them firmly to stick to all parts of the chicken. Lightly shake off the excess and place on a plate while you do the same for the second piece of chicken. Leave these to dry a few minutes (it'll stop the breading coming off when you fry).
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan until just hot, not smoking. About 185ºC/370ºF. Carefully place each chicken cutlet into the oil, away from yourself. Let them fry for about 5-6 minutes each side until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Rest on a plate.
- To serve, cut the chicken into thick slices and arrange on the plate with the rice and a generous pouring of curry sauce.
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