Chicken Katsu Curry

Now I know that you can buy a jar of Katsu Curry sauce and whip this up quickly, but it’s quite thrilling to make your own sauce – pretty simple ingredients combine with some sort of magnificent alchemy to make something incredibly tasty. I’ve tried a few different recipes and this is the one that comes the closest to the Wagamama version, and so this makes my teenage daughter very happy indeed. Making this amount and then freezing what we don’t get through for both the sauce and the uncooked (but breadcrumbed) chicken adds minimal additional effort but results in a speedy meal another time. Serves 4 easily, with leftovers for another meal.

Not very artfully swirled sauce.

Ingredients

Chicken:

4 large chicken breasts

0.5 cup plain flour

Salt & pepper

2 cups breadcrumbs (I used panko)

2 eggs

Veg oil for shallow frying

Sauce:

4 tbsp veg oil

4 onions, sliced

8 garlic cloves, minced

4 medium carrots, sliced

5 tbsp plain flour

2.5 tbsp mild curry powder

1 ltr chicken stock

6 star anise

4 tsp honey

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 bay leaves

2 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp cornflour

Method

  1. First up it’s the sauce.
  2. In a large deep frying pan or saucepan heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic for a good 10 minutes until soft. If you’re not wearing contact lenses you might need some swimming googles to do this because it is A LOT of onion and garlic.
  3. Then stir in the carrots and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add in the flour and curry powder and keep stirring for another minute or so.
  5. Gradually stir in the stock, mixing each bit until well combined, only then adding the next slurp. Then mix in the honey, soy sauce, bay leaves and star anise.
  6. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for around 20 minutes.
  7. Scoop out the bay leaves and star anise and then stir in the garam masala.
  8. Either use a stick blender or transfer the whole lot to a blender in batches and blitz until smooth. Return to the pan if you’ve used a blender and in either case keep it simmering gently.
  9. If the sauce doesn’t feel thick enough to you, mix up the cornflour with a little water, stir into the sauce and keep on stirring until it thickens. No one wants a thin Katsu sauce.
  10. While the sauce is cooking it’s time to prep and cook the chicken.
  11. Lay each piece on a board covered with greaseproof paper and slice through horizontally – keep the second halves on a plate, cover the pieces on the board with a second piece of greaseproof and then bash them with a rolling pin to flatten them out. You want them to be about 1 cm thick maximum.
  12. Put the remaining chicken between sheets of greaseproof and bash them as well.
  13. Grab 2 plates and a bowl.
  14. Mix the flour with plenty of seasoning on plate 1, beat the eggs in the bowl, and put the breadcrumbs on plate 2.
  15. Now here’s where you’re going to get a bit messy because the only way to do this well is with your hands. In turn, toss each piece of chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs until completely coated. Put to one side on a board or plate until you cook them.
  16. At this point you can freeze the chicken by layering with greaseproof and putting into a sealed bag or box, expelling as much air as possible.
  17. To cook the chicken, heat about 1cm depth of oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken until golden on both sides and completely cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Bearing in mind you’re going to serve the chicken sliced up you can always cut them in half to check if they are ready, returning them to the pan if needs be.
  18. Serve the two together with rice, and enjoy!

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