"I hate people who are not serious about their meals."

Oscar Wilde,
The Importance of Being Earnest

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicken Katsu Curry

I love Japanese food.  There are some dishes that I would much prefer to leave to the experts - like sushi, sashimi and anything involving the cooking of eel -  but other dishes are quite easily made in your own kitchen, like Tempura and Yakitori.  Japanese curry is a favourite of both my husband and myself, so we decided that we should try cooking it ourselves.  After much scouring of online recipe sites and blogs, we ended up on YouTube.  Not the most conventional of sources, but the step by step was helpful, and the dog was adorable. (Watch the video linked below and you'll see what I'm talking about!)  Now, this dish does involve a little bit of preparation time, but once you're organised it will all come together pretty quickly.  There's work enough for two with all the chopping and grating, so if you have a willing and able significant other/roommate/child, the two of you can make a pretty quick job of it.  If not, I would advise having as much as you can ready before you start cooking the sauce.  Katsu curry is typically served with pork rather than chicken. We regularly make both varieties, so feel free to substitute the chicken in this recipe for thin-cut pork loin.  My favourite part about this dish is the way the eggplant soaks up all the yummy curry flavours.  The best version of this we've made was using white eggplant, but I've never seen them at the market since.  If you're lucky enough to see them, grab them! 

Oh, and the leftovers?  Amazing.  I think it's actually better the next day!

Katsu Curry
adapted from Cooking With Dog
Serves 4

For the curry
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 bell pepper, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces 
(I would recommend red/orange rather than green, it is a little bitter)
2 small (italian) eggplants, cut into small chunks
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch/3cm piece ginger, grated
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups water
1 dried bay leaf
1 Medium spicy curry block (I use this variety)
1/2 small red apple, peeled and soak in salt water

For the chicken
4 pieces of thin-cut chicken breast
Plain flour
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
Panko bread crumbs
Frying oil
Salt and pepper

Add the olive oil and onion to a medium sized saucepan and cook for 5 minutes at high heat. Reduce heat and cook, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Add the grated carrot and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, followed by the garlic and ginger. Stir until aromatic. Now reduce the heat to low, add the curry powder and fry for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the eggplant and stir until it is coated in the curry mixture. Add the canned tomato, water and bay leaf; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Take the pan off the heat.  Slice the curry block (nb: they usually come in a large block with 4 or 5 segments, for this recipe you need one segment only) and add to the pan, stirring to dissolve. Grate the apple into the saucepan and then add the pepper.  Turn the stove back on to low, and simmer for a few more minutes or until the pepper is soft.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat both sides with flour, dip into beaten egg mixture and then into the Panko.  Fry in hot oil for 2-3 minutes each side, rotating to brown uniformly.  Remove from pan and place on paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Cut into 1-inch slices.  Serve the chicken with steamed rice and curry sauce.


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