A thick and rich coconut curry served with chunky vegetables, crispy chicken, and soft, fluffy rice – Japanese katsu curry is a well-loved dish, best served all year round!
In life, it is said that one has unlimited wants but only finite needs – and for me, Katsu curry is certainly a need! Albeit I am yet to travel to Japan (fingers crossed for 2021) and try an authentic katsu curry, it is still my go-to meal when ordering at a Japanese restaurant. At least, it was until quarantine…
Hungry and seriously deprived, it was only a matter of time until I took matters into my own hands. The first time I made my own katsu curry was back in April, and since then, it has become a regular favourite of mine. Admittedly, it does take quite a bit of effort and time to make, due to the batch frying, but it is an incredibly easy and versatile meal!
But first, what exactly is katsu curry? Japanese curry is commonly enjoyed in one of three ways – over rice, over udon noodles, or as a filling inside bread – all of which are delightful. The sauce is usually served with onions, carrots and potatoes, and meats such as beef, pork, or chicken. A katsu curry is therefore a breaded, deep-fried piece of pork or chicken, served with said curry sauce.
The version of katsu curry that many of us are accustomed to is that of Wagamama, a British chain that serves Japanese inspired dishes. This differs from the traditional curry in that the sauce is sieved before served, making it smooth and runny, rather than packed with bites of veg. This may be accredited to the fact Wagamama is tailored for a western market and thus have adapted their recipes accordingly. Interestingly, however, it was the British who originally introduced curry to the Japanese in the 19th century. It is now so widely consumed in Japan that, according to Japanese food writer Morieda Takashi, the average person eats it at least once a week – more often than sushi and tempura.
Today, I have decided to share with you my own version for a katsu curry! More in line with a traditional curry, this make is packed with rich flavours and varying textures. I especially enjoyed the inclusion of the stewed vegetables as it added more flavour and some bite to my dish, Plus, I guess it balanced out the “unhealthiness” of the deep-fried chicken, or at least in my mind it made me feel less guilty for including my five-a-day!
Luckily enough, the curry sauce I made is naturally vegan! Feel free to omit the chicken or to substitute it for other non-meat alternatives such as aubergine, pumpkin, or sweet potato! In my recipe, I used panko crumbs to make it crispier and more in line with the recipe from Wagamama. These can be easily found in many large supermarkets, but if not, feel free to make a lighter, tempura batter. (This is equally as good and I love to fry my veg in it too!)
Chicken / Vegetable Katsu Curry
- 120 g rice
- 2 chicken breasts (or vegetables of choice. I suggest using aubergine, sweet potato, or pumpkin that was been sliced.)
- 50 g plain flour
- 2 whisked eggs (or vegetable oil to substitute.)
- 200 g panko breadcrumbs
- 75 ml vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 sliced onions
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 15 g grated ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp curry powder
- 1 diced potato
- 2 chopped carrots
- 5 - 15 mushrooms (depending on size.)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 700 ml chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- Slowly add the stock and coconut milk before adding the cut vegetables. Covered with a lid, leave to simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice according to its instructions.
- Coat the chicken fillets (or vegetables) in flour and then egg (or oil). Cover all sides with panko breadcrumbs before deep-frying in a second pan until golden brown.
- Before serving, season the curry with soy sauce, salt, and sugar.
- Slice the chicken and plate it up with the rice and curry. Add a side of salad like Wagamama or garnish with sliced spring onions and red chilies as I did.
- Bon appétit (or meshiagare in Japanese!)