Like quite a few dishes in Japan, katsu originated elsewhere in the world but, as with many so-called yōshoku (Western) foods, the Japanese made it their own. Based on a European breaded cutlet, it was originally called katsuretsu (a phonetic representation of “cutlet”) but was quickly shorted to katsu. Pork (ton)katsu is the most popular but chicken is also widely enjoyed.
Likewise, another yōshoku dish is curry rice, known in Japanese as karē raisu. This type of curry didn’t come to Japan from India (though Indian style curries can certainly be found in Japan) but from Britain, courtesy of the Royal Navy and is similar to anglicised versions of curry that were popular in Britain a few decades ago.
Indeed, when I started investigating recipes for the curry sauce, thinking to create my own spice mix from scratch, I quickly discovered that the Japanese rely on pre-purchased mixes. Restaurants buy this in powdered form, combining it with tomato, coconut milk and a few other ingredients. Home cooks often opt for the ready made blocks or granules which they simply cook with water, adding carrots and onions if they wish.
Katsu-karē is the combination of both the above imports – breaded pork, chicken or beef are served with rice and a generous puddle of curry sauce.
Japanese rice is different to the varieties I’m most familiar with. It’s short grain and somewhat sticky but not the same as the glutinous varieties used in East Asian sticky rice dishes. When we’ve have none to hand, we’ve substituted fragrant basmati but I think Italian risotto types such as arborio would be closer. More recently we’ve stocked up on some Japanese rice at our local Japanese grocery store.
Panko breadcrumbs and curry sauce mix
Chicken Katsu Curry Rice
For the chicken
- 400 g mini breast fillets , or chicken breasts cut into a few pieces
- 1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1 large egg (you may need a second egg)
- vegetable oil as per your deep fat fryer
- Japanese rice (or basmati if not available)
- Japanese curry sauce made up from mix, available from Japanese grocery shops
- onions , diced to add to curry sauce (optional)
- carrots , diced to add to curry sauce (optional)
It’s impossible to give exact measurements for egg, flour and breadcrumbs needed as it will depend on the exact size of your chicken pieces. I buy panko breadcrumbs in large bags so I can easily shake a little more into the bowl if needed.
Cook your rice while preparing and frying the chicken.
Likewise, make up your curry sauce according to the packet instructions, adding onions and carrots if you like.
To prepare the chicken, dip (and turn to coat evenly) a chicken fillet in the seasoned flour then dip (and turn to coat evenly) into beaten egg and then dip (and turn to coat evenly) into panko breadcrumbs.
Pre heat oil in fryer to 160 C.
Carefully lower chicken pieces into oil – don’t try and do too many together or they’ll clump. Shake the basket a couple of times towards the beginning to help them separate.
They are ready when the breadcumb coating is a nice golden shade of brown, not too pale (or chicken is undercooked) and not too dark. We’ve found that the mini fillets we buy from our supermarket are just the right size to cook through perfectly in the time it takes the breadcrumbs to colour nicely.
Serve with rice and curry sauce.
Alternatively, you could enjoy your katsu chicken with kewpie mayonnaise (a richer, yolkier Japanese mayonnaise) and tonkatsu sauce, available Japanese grocery shops.
You may also enjoy reading my posts about our Japan trip last year.
Made the recipe? Let us know how you enjoyed it in the comments!
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Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!10 Comments to "Chicken Katsu Curry Rice Recipe"
I really like pork and chicken katsu, but I can’t say I’m a fan of Japanese curries! They’re a bit too sweet for my liking – give me a Mamta curry any day instead! 🙂
These ones not too sweet, I’m not keen on those… I tend to think of them as wholly separate thing to “real” curry! 😉
Love chicken katsu curry rice! Nice one Kavey. I am so jealous that you’re going back to Japan this autumn. I wanna go back too 🙂
Aaw. I’m so excited to be going back. Have you made katsu at home, Michael?
We love katsu here too, prawn katsu is my daughter’s favourite.
I make the sauce using a Gizzie Erskine recipe.
Great, thanks for the tip, I’ll see if I can get my hands on that. 🙂
I love katsu curry so I’m definitely going to look out for the spice mix when I’m next in an oriental store.
Usually sold in boxes, should be easy to find, there are many brands, I just pick randomly!
That’s the recipe I use.
I’m not being snooty about packet mixes btw, when katsu was first recommended to me I had no idea a packet was available, I live in a small Scottish town.
Next time I do a Japan Centre order I’ll get some and see how it compares to making it.
We always have kewpie with it now too, and the sauce that came with the okonomiyaki kit, both btw are fabulous on chippy chips!
Thank you so much, Jen, really appreciate it! 🙂
Given that the sauce still uses a generic curry powder mix, I don’t think it’s worth the extra effort over one of the sauce mixes… for me.
If it had listed individual spices, I might have given it a try just to see! 🙂