20 June 2010

Chicken Katsu Curry - Recipe

I love cooking but I know where the limits of my cooking skills lie. What I lack in culinary talents I try and make up for with enthusiasm, so it is a wonderful day indeed when you produce something so amazing that you can scarcely believe it was produced by your own hand in your own kitchen. Today was one of those days and it was such a simple dish of chicken katsu curry that brought such a smile to my face.

I first had this dish (probably like most others from the UK) at a Wagamama restaurant in the mid 90s and I was instantly hooked. Curry never seemed a very Japanese sort of food but I didn´t care, it was fantastic and rapidly became one of my Waga favourites. Fried breaded chicken, rice and lashings of super smooth curry sauce - all the major food groups then; what´s not to like? Curry is hugely popular in Japan and was introduced to the country by the English (of course it was) in the Meiji era (1869 - 1913). I suppose chicken katsu curry must be a sort of Japanese chicken tikka massala, a dish so far removed from its origins that it is a class of food in its own right.

I could have created a curry sauce from scratch (I found this recipe from Gizzi Erskine) but frankly almost all other recipes suggested using ready made blocks of Japanese curry sauce so that´s what I did. It turned out amazing, way better than anything I had had at Wagamama, and its super simple to make too. So, if you love katsu curry then you have to give it a go.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
2 chicken breasts
Panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sushi rice
Japanese curry (I used S&B Torokeru curry, which is much better than their Golden Curry brand)
Vegetable oil for frying
Beni shoga (pickled shredded red ginger) to garnish

1.  Cook the rice using roughly 1 part rice to 1.3 parts water
2.  Heat some oil in a shallow frying pan
3.  Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make four thinner cutlets and season with salt
4.  Coat the chicken in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the chicken in the beaten egg and then cover with the panko breadcrumbs
5.  Shallow fry the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side until cooked and golden then place on some kitchen paper to soak up the excess oil
6.  While the chicken is cooking make the curry sauce using about 500ml water to half a packet of S&B curry sauce
6.  Slice the chicken into fat strips
7.  Serve with rice, curry sauce and garnish with some beni shoga

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