It’s easy to see why, as a nation, we’ve adopted this Japanese dinner. Good katsu (the breaded and fried part) delivers texture as the universally loved fried chicken, while the curry sauce is warmly spiced and reminiscent of our chip-shop favourite.
Here, we’ve thought about the process of breading and added an extra step that not only makes the chicken really crisp, but tenderises it too. We’ve also taken on the Japanese concept of ‘umami’ – meaning savouriness – and added layers of seasoning.
10 tips for the perfect chicken katsu curry
1. Bat out to tenderise
2. Use a milk brine
3. Togarashi spice mix for extra flavour
4. Soy sauce as a savoury seasoning
5. Extra crispy with panko breadcrumbs
6. Thicken the sauce with vegetables
7. Miso gives depth
8. Sieve the sauce for smooth texture
9. Make ahead for ease
10. Side salad for fresh contrast
1. A little tenderness
Batting out the chicken breasts tenderises the meat and gives it an even thickness, making it easier to bread. Plus, it looks a bit neater.
2. Milking it
The milk plays two roles – as a brine, it keeps the chicken succulent, then it acts as a glue to help the flour stick during the breading process. This makes the coating thicker and crispier.
3. Spice world
Togarashi spice mix is a Japanese spice blend that includes chilli, orange, and sesame. It’s used as a seasoning, and here we’ve spiked the flour coating with it. Also known as shichimi togarashi, you could use a sprinkling of mild chilli powder in its place.
4. Season with soy
We’ve loosened the eggs for the breadcrumb coating with Japanese soy sauce to season and add extra ‘umami’ (savoury) flavour to the chicken. This also works well when you are making an omelette for egg-fried rice.
5. Panko perfection
Panko breadcrumbs are the difference between katsu and schnitzel. Panko, made from crustless light white bread, is coarser than normal breadcrumbs, making it extra crunchy when fried.
6. Sauce of vegetables
There are lots of ways to make a thick Japanese curry sauce. Here, we’ve opted for one that’s thickened with puréed vegetables rather than flour or cornflour, which can be gloopy.
7. Miso tasty
To give the curry sauce depth, we’ve added red or brown miso paste. If you don’t have any miso, you could add another splash of soy sauce.
8. Smooth operator
For a velvety consistency, blitz the sauce in a high-powered blender or smoothie maker, then pass it through a fine sieve.
9. Freeze with ease
The katsu and curry sauce freeze well, so it’s worth making extra. Freeze the katsu between sheets of baking parchment to stop it sticking, then fry it from frozen. Freeze the sauce in an airtight container and defrost well before reheating.
10. Side salad
We’ve included a simple salad of shredded white cabbage and nori (sushi seaweed) to give a fresh balance to everything else. It’s certainly not essential, but putting it together is as easy as tossing the ingredients with some lemon juice and salt.
See the full recipe for our next level chicken katsu curry.
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