This is deliriously good. But I have to admit that making this dish takes planning and patience. There are two components — the chicken katsu and the curry sauce — so it’s best to divide the work to make sure that both the chicken and the sauce are hot when the dish is assembled.
What’s the best way to divide the work? We find that making the sauce a day ahead works best. The sauce rests in the fridge overnight allowing the flavors to blend better.
The curry sauce is not much differrent from the sauce in the Japanese chicken curry recipe except for the absence of chicken. It is, however, very much different from South Asian and Southeast Asian curries. So, no, you can’t get any pack of curry paste from the grocery and use it in this dish. You may, however, get a pack of Japanese curry sauce and use that. Just add potatoes and carrots.
But, if you want better control over the flavors, it’s best that you make your own curry sauce. You start with a curry roux (like I mentioned earlier, Japanese curry is differrent) and set it aside. You saute onion, garlic and ginger, add carrots and potatoes and pour in broth.
Then, you add grated apple. Yes, an apple. Never mind if that sounds weird. The result will be delicious so get an apple, peel it and grate it. Then, cook everything together until the vegetables are tender.
The chicken katsu, meanwhile, must be newly cooked. There’s no way around that. Day-old chicken katsu when reheated is not as moist and the coating never goes back to that newly-fried crispy texture that makes it so delectable.
The whole process for cooking chicken katsu is in a separate post. There are step-by-step photos there to guide you from seasoning the chicken to pounding the fillets to coating them and frying them. There is even a tip on how to make sure that very little of the crispness is lost if you need to fry the fillets in batches.
Chicken katsu curry
Make the curry roux
- In a sauce pan, melt the butter.
- Stir in the flour, all at once, until the mixture is smooth.
- Cook the roux over medium-low heat, with occasionally stirring, until lightly browned.
- Off the heat, stir in the curry powder, chili flakes, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup and honey. Set aside.
Make the curry sauce
- In a wok, heat the cooking oil.
- Soften the onion slices with a little salt and pepper over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and ginger. Sprinkle in a bit more salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring often, for a minute or two.
- Throw in the carrot and potato cubes, and cook with occasional stirring for a minute.
- Pour in the broth.
- Grate the apple dirctly into the pan and stir.
- Cover the pan and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until both the carrot and potato cubes are cooked through.
- Add the roux, a heaping tablespoonful at a time and stirring after each addition. When all of the roux has been added, simmer curry for another 10 minutes.
- Taste the curry sauce and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
Fry the chicken
- Take a large piece of cling wrap. Place a chicken on one side and fold over the other half. If you have a very large of cling wrap, you can place more chicken pieces.
- Pound the chicken until the meat is half an inch in thickness. It is important for the thickness to be uniform for even cooking. And the chicken meat shouldn’t be too thick to avoid a raw center and a burnt coating.
- Lay the chicken pieces flat and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the flour, beaten egg and panko in three shallow bowls.
- Dredge each chicken thigh in flour; shake off the excess.
- Dip each floured chicken thigh in the beaten egg, making sure that every inch of the surface is coated with egg.
- Roll each chicken fillet in panko. Make sure that the panko coating is even.
- Heat enough cooking oil so that it is at least an inch and a half deep. The ideal frying temperature is 145C (350F) to avoid burnt breading and raw meat.
- Fry the chicken fillets, in batches if your frying pan is not large enough to hold them in a single layer. Check the underside after about three minutes. When the underside is golden brown, flip the chicken thighs over to brown the opposite side.
Assemble the chicken katsu curry
- Ladle rice into four shallow bowls.
- Cut the chicken katsu into strips and arrange over the rice.
- Scoop curry sauce with the vegetables around the rice.
- Drizzle cream over the curry sauce.
- Sprinkle the chicken katsu curry with finely sliced scallions and serve.