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Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry

IMG_20140121_200752Ok, let’s just forget the fact that I haven’t blogged in a while. Truth is I needed a break. I needed to enjoy making food again without trying to style it. I needed to stop looking for the best light to shoot. I needed to chill. It’s been 18 months, people. Today I turned 35. Does anyone know at what precise moment you begin to actually feel your age? Is it a gradual realisation -or does it spring out at you like one of the many shocking  moments in a horror movie? I’m hoping it’s the latter.

My friend T.J. inspired this dish. He posted a picture on instagram of a Chicken Katsu Curry he’d made and I just had to try it- also T.J. is one of those super cool people you want to emulate, because he’s smart, challenges perceptions and on occasion wears a monocle.  So a win win all round.

For the uninnitiated – katsu  is the Japanese word for ‘cutlet’ and essentially it is a piece of meat – in this case chicken, crumbed and served with a curry sauce and fluffy white rice. I have adapted a recipe I found on ‘allrecipes’ and it is inspired by the Japanese chicken katsu curry served at UK food chain Wagamama. If possible, try to source Japanese Panko crumbs as they absorb less oil and end up deliciously golden and crunchy without tasting like you’re eating an oil slick. If you can’t find Panko – try cornflake crumbs. This dish ticks all the right boxes – hearty, spicy, fragrant, did I mention utterly delicious comfort food.

Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry

For the sauce:

2tbsp sunflower oil

2 onions, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves,crushed

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small cubes

2tbsp flour

2tsp curry powder

600ml chicken stock

2tsp honey

2tbsp soy sauce

1tsp garam masala

For the chicken:

8 medium, skinned and deboned chicken breasts, cut in half

salt and pepper

3tbsp flour

2 free-range eggs, beaten

150g Panko breadcrumbs

250ml sunflower oil for frying.

For the sauce: heat the oil in a medium saucepan and saute the onion, garlic and carrots over low heat until softened- for about 10-12 minutes. Add the flour and curry powder and cook for a minute. Slowly add the stock, stirring to avoid lumps and then add the honey and soy sauce. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thickened and a lovely rich colour. Add the garam masala. Keep warm.

For the chicken: Line up 3 bowls, one with flour seasoned with salt and pepper, one with the beaten egg and the last with the panko. Dip the chicken breast halves in the flour, then the egg and finally coat in the panko.Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry in batches over medium heat for about 4 minutes each side depending on the thickness of the breasts. I cut into the thicker pieces to ensure they were cooked and no longer pink. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and season with a sprinkling of salt. Serve with basmati rice and the curry sauce.

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