Katsu curry (カツカレー) is a popular Japanese dish that consists of a delicious curry sauce poured over rice and fried breaded meat (sometimes pork, but this recipe uses chicken). I decided to work on this recipe because it’s a favorite in my house and I lost count of the amount of times we went out to have one, or ordered in. But the way I see it, nothing tastes like homemade food, so here is the recipe for some seriously wonderful Japanese food. There are many ways of making this sauce and many variations – if you want to do a vegan version of it, see my notes for some suggestions!
Preparation Time: 15 min | Cooking Time: 45 min | Serves: 2 | Spice level: 0
What you’ll need:
For the sauce
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp plain flour
- 2 Tbsp curry powder (mild)
- 500ml chicken stock
- 1 & 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp garam masala
For the chicken
- 2 chicken breasts
- Plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
For the rice
- 1 and 1/2 cup of short grain rice (such as sushi rice)
- 2 cups of water
- Start by making the sauce. In a sauce pan, sauté the onions and garlic with vegetable oil and sesame oil for a few minutes.
- Add your carrots and cover the pot, allowing them to sweat for about 10 minutes.
- Then add the flour and curry powder, combining everything and stirring for a few minutes.
- Gradually add your stock, stirring through. The mixture should thicken gradually, ending up somewhat runny in the end – don’t be alarmed because it will reduce!
- Now add the honey, the soy sauce and the bay leaf, and bring the sauce to a boil.
- Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until it thickens.
- As soon as the sauce is thick, tip in the garam masala and stir. Now you have two options: you can sieve the sauce, discarding the vegetables, or you can blend the whole thing (removing the bay leaf before) for an even thicker sauce. If you opt for the latter, don’t let the sauce reduce too much, because you want a creamy but fluid curry. If you want to discard the vegetables, make sure the sauce has reduced enough before doing so.
- Create an assembly line with three bowls: flour, beaten egg and Panko breadcrumbs.
- You can start this process once the sauce is reducing. Coat the chicken breasts with flour, then dip them in the beaten egg and finally on the breadcrumbs.
- Fry them in hot oil until golden brown and remove them to a dish with paper towels to absorb the oil.
- Wash your rice 4 or 5 times until the water is no longer milky white. Once the rice is clean, put your rice in a thick pot, covering it with the water (using the ratio of 1 and 1/2 cups of rice to 2 cups of water).
- Put the lid on the pot and bring the rice to the boil, in high heat. Once it starts to boil, which should only take a few minutes, open the lid and give it a stir.
- Put the lid back on and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer, with the lid on (this is very important) for 11 minutes.
- Once the time is up, turn the heat off and let the rice rest for 10 more minutes. After this time, you can finally open the pot and give it a stir to fluff it. You will have perfect sticky rice, ideal for this dish!
- To serve this dish, place some rice on one side of the plate. Slice your chicken and, using a spatula, place it next to the rice. Finally, pour a generous amount of the sauce over the rice and chicken. You can garnish it with some chopped fresh cilantro leaves (or parsley, if you are like me and not a big fan of fresh cilantro).
- This is one of those dishes that can easily be made vegan. You will only need three substitutions and I guarantee you’ll end up with a delicious curry. All you have to do is replace the honey with brown sugar, the chicken stock with good quality vegetable stock, and the chicken with some tofu (you can marinate it with some soy and ginger beforehand for a richer flavor).