Katsu curry

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I love a katsu curry, whether using chicken, pork, prawns or vegetables: the contast of that gorgeous silky sauce smothering the crispy meat, fish or veg is wonderful.

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With my katsu curries, I often use either pork chops or chicken thighs that I dip in egg and breadcrumbs, but I sometimes like to use up left-over roast pork: thickly sliced and also breadcrumbed and fried. While I normally bash chicken or pork to flatten it, this also works fine cooking it as it is – however, flattening the meat will cook it quicker without the breadcrumbs burning.

The katsu sauce is the star. It is so simple to make and although there is a lot of spices, it is well worth buying them and making a large amount of the katsu spice blend so that it is is ready whenever you want to make a katsu sauce.  However, you can use curry powder in place of the katsu spice blend.

I like to add a stick of lemongrass to my sauce: it might not be traditional but I love the fragrance it adds, as well as its gorgeous flavour.

It is also worth saying that the katsu sauce itself is delicious just used as a dip – either warmed up or at room temperature.

Recipe: katsu curry sauce – serves 3-4

  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3” piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 stick fresh lemongrass, outer few layers removed (but save them to infuse the sauce)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon of the katsu spice blend (below) – or use curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 level tablespoon plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon powder or 1 chicken stock cube/gel pot
  • 150ml water
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Katsu spice blend – just mix these ingredients together:

This makes more than you need for the katsu sauce, but it will keep for months in an airtight jar

  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder (mild or hot)

(1) Put the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, soy sauce and sugar in a food blender and blitz to give a fairly smoothish paste.

(2) Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion mixture and the lemongrass outer layers. Fry over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

(3) Stir in the rest of the spices and cook for a couple of minutes over a medium heat before adding a splash of the water along with the stock cube/powder and stirring it in well.

(4) Stir in the flour and cook out for a minute or two. Add the rest of the water a little at a time, stirring to prevent lumps. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on and simmer on a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and set aside until you are ready to serve.

For a meat, fish or vegetable katsu curry:

Any of the following as the “main event”:
  • chicken thighs (boned and skinned)
  • raw king prawns (shelled and de-veined)
  • pork chops (rind removed and then flattened to an escalope)
  • aubergines (thickly sliced)
To prepare them for cooking
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon katsu spice blend (or curry powder)
  • a large handful of panko breadcrumbs

You will also need a little vegetable oil for shallow-frying or else place the breadcrumbed goodies on a baking tray and cook in the oven set to 190-200C until they are cooked.

(1) Beat the eggs with the spice blend and pour onto a large plate.

(2) Put the breadcrumbs onto another large plate. You can add some of the katsu spice blend to these, too, if you want a more golden coloured exterior and more of the katsu flavour.

(3) Dip the chicken (or whatever you are using) in the egg with one hand, turning well to coat fully, and then place in the breadcrumbs. Use your other hand to cover with breadcrumbs all over. Transfer to a large plate until you are ready to cook.

(4) Either pan-fry over a medium heat, oven-bake until cooked or cook in an air-fryer. Make sure you turn them over part-way through: it roughly takes 15 minutes for chicken, 10 minutes for large prawns.

Serve (sliced if preferred) with the warmed up katsu sauce poured over and with rice or noodles.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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