Growing up, we ate tonkatsu (pork katsu) all the time. While I love tonkatsu, I much prefer chicken katsu for ease of preparation. I always keep a bag of frozen chicken tenders in the freezer – which are great for making chicken katsu.
Japanese curry was also something we had for dinner often – at least once a week. I love eating both curry and katsu together – the crunch of the chicken katsu provides a nice contrast to the stew-like curry. You can purchase hot or mild curry bars depending on how spicy you want your curry to be. If you use curry powder instead of curry bars, you can simply use less curry powder for a milder flavor.
- 10 chicken tenders, tendon removed
- ~3/4 c. flour
- 1/2 package panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1 egg
- 1 c. milk
- salt, pepper
- oil for deep frying
1. Place the chicken tenders on a large cutting board and lightly pound with a mallet until flat. I also like to remove any large pieces of gristle or tendon.
2. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. If you feel especially adventurous, sprinkle on a little bit of Aji-no-moto seasoning (MSG). Contrary to popular believe, MSG is NOT evil!!! But if you have an allergy to MSG (or don’t believe me that it is evil-free), omit it.
3. Set up your breading station. Fill a large plate with flour, and another large plate with some of the panko breadcrumbs. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and milk, and season with salt and pepper (and a little bit of aji-no-moto if you aren’t afraid).
4. Pat one piece of chicken into the flour, coating on all sides. Shake off excess.
5. Quickly dip the floured chicken into the egg mixture, turning to coat.
6. Pat the chicken into the panko, pressing gently to coat both sides.
7. Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Some hardware that you might find useful are: a draining rack and a Japanese oil skimmer (to remove breadcrumbs from the frying oil).
8. Spread foil around the cook-top to protect the surfaces from oil splatters.
9. Heat the oil for several minutes on medium-high, and fry each piece of chicken one at a time, for 2-3 minutes each, until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
10. Drain each piece on the rack above the pot for 1 minute after removing from the oil.
11. After cooking 2 pieces, skim the oil and discard any crumbs. (If you leave the crumbs in the oil, they will eventually burn and your chicken katsu will have little black crumbs embedded in the coating.)
12. Transfer the cooked chicken to metal rack on top of a large cookie sheet lined with foil. You can hold warm in a 200 degree oven until all the pieces are finished cooking.
Serve with steamed rice and a side of Japanese meat or vegetable curry:
- 1/2 box Japanese Curry bars
- 1 onion
- 3 carrots, peeled
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled
- salt, pepper
- 1 T. canola oil
- 2 cans of chicken broth
- (*optional: 1 c. uncooked chicken or pork, cut into bite sized pieces)
1. Wash and peel the carrots, onions, and potatoes.
2. Slice the onions, carrots, and potatoes into medium chunks.
3. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium-high heat, add the onion. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent and edges are lightly browned. (If you want to add meat to the curry, add the meat to the pot and cook with the onions).
4. Add the potatoes and carrots.
5. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper, and add the chicken broth. Bring the pot to a simmer. Place a lid on top, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked.
6. Peel the foil off of one half of the curry bars, and break along the scored lines. (The curry bars will look and seem similar to bars of chocolate.)
7. Add the curry bars to the pot.
(Now, if you don’t want to use curry bars, or if you don’t have any, you can season the broth with powdered oriental curry powder (S&B oriental curry powder in the yellow and red can) to taste, about 2-4 tablespoons. Thicken the mixture with a slurry of 3 T. of flour mixed with 1/2 c. cold water. Cook for 5-10 minutes after stirring the slurry into the pot. My mom likes to use the curry powder – I prefer the curry bars because I think it gives a deeper flavor. However, the curry powder will work just fine for you if you prefer to go that route.)
8. Gently stir the bars into the vegetable mixture until melted into a thick curry.