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The perfect Chicken Katsu Curry recipe

Updated on June 5, 2013

Chicken Katsu Curry, the traditional Japanese dish served since the late 19th century originally inspired by Western cooking (youshoku), has enjoyed phenomenal success in recent times, with more and more westerners flocking to their local eateries to order this wickedly wonderful taste of Japan.

Yet you don't have to pay the silly sums which some restaurants would have you fork out to enjoy this delectable dish. Other than the curry paste (you can buy this ready-made and indeed most Japanese people do) the main event, the “Katsu” or cutlet is relatively easy to make.

Here’s how you do it –

Serves 2

100g flour, seasoned with lots of salt and pepper
2 large free-range egg, beaten lightly
300g Japanese panko breadcrumbs
2 skin/boneless chicken breasts (butterflied)
100ml groundnut or vegetable oil
steamed Japanese rice with Japanese pickles to serve

Firstly you will want to check the thickness of the chicken. If it’s too thick at one end you will need to “butterfly” it by cutting the under edge of the fillets from the centre towards the outside, being careful not to cut it off completely, and then flatten it out. (Alternatively bashing it a bit with a tenderizer should do the trick.) This is important so that the cutlet cooks evenly throughout!

Set out two plates (with raised edges if you have them as all this can get a bit messy) and one bowl. Fill one plate with 100g of plain flour which has been well seasoned with salt and pepper, the other with 300g of Japanese panko breadcrumbs (letting a baguette go stale and then grating it works brilliantly too). Finally beat your eggs into a bowl.

One fillet at a time, place the chicken into the flour coating every visible part and crevasse of the meat, next move it to the egg bowl and gently drop it in, again coating it fully. Allow any excess egg to drip off before moving it to the breadcrumbs, covering it as much as possible with the panko. At this point you may be thinking that your cutlet is looking a bit undercoated. That’s because it is… One coating never seems to cut it.

So here is the trick to getting that “Perfect Chicken Katsu” DOUBLE COAT IT! This simply means repeating the above steps (except the flour) to form a proper layer of breadcrumbs which will not only be more tasty but will also help in the cooking process. Once again from the top: flour, egg, breadcrumbs, MORE egg and MORE breadcrumbs.

Now that you’ve coated all your chicken with lots of panko you’re ready to fry. Get some oil in a pan and let it get hot. If you cannot tell how hot the oil is from cooking experience it is highly advisable to get a cooking thermometer! Too hot and the bread coating will burn and the chicken won’t cook, not hot enough and the cutlet will become soggy and oily, rather than crisp and cooked through. The ideal temperature is 170°. Don’t skimp on the oil either. You want the whole cutlet to be submerged when you put it in. Even so you will need to turn it over at least once to ensure it cooks properly as the underside will get hit with most of the heat from the hob. (If you have a deep fryer that’s even better, just don’t reuse the oil from last night’s fish and chips or you will end up with fish flavoured katsu curry. Could be the next big thing who knows...)

Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry Recipe Video

If you really want to go to the hassle of making the curry sauce using ingredients you can find recipes for the sauce on The Independent website and various other places. I myself have never even considered wasting my time with preparing the curry from scratch as there are plenty of great Japanese curry roux makers selling their products down my local Asian supermarket. House Foods do a great curry roux called Vermont Curry which comes in three different spice levels.

The one thing I will mention on the subject of the sauce is that, personally, I HATE runny curry on my katsu! It not only tastes watery but makes the katsu far soggier than it would be with a nice thick velvety sauce poured over it. If you have made the mistake of adding too much water to your roux and cannot get it to thicken add some cornflour (even better another cube or two of roux to maintain flavour). You can toss in a potato, a carrot and some onion as you see fit if you want to get some veg in there as well.

How about trying pork instead of chicken? Beef works great as well!

Personally, I also love adding grated cheese as a topping. Yes, CHEESE! I have yet to see this as an optional extra in western restaurants but it is a common extra topping in Japan and a great one at that!

Serve with Japanese rice and Japanese pickles. Fukujinzuke are definitely the best type of Japanese pickle for this top dish.

Douzou o-meshi agare! (Enjoy!)


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    • Vicki Martin Wood profile image

      Vicki Wood 4 weeks ago from Eldon, Missouri

      I had katsu only once, in San Francisco China Town. Mine was pork. Wonderful dish. I will be saving this recipe.

    • profile image

      alex 5 years ago

      Just made my own chicken katsu for the first time. Nice recipe, it turned out perfectly!

    • Eric Mikols profile image

      Eric Mikols 5 years ago from New England

      This looks delicious. It's on my to-make list. Thanks so much!

    • JapanGulu profile image

      JapanGulu 6 years ago

      Hey Katrina!

      I love CocoIchiban and I myself have been looking for that special taste over here ever since. I don't used ground beef or beef mince if that is what you mean.. I do make beef curry someimes though.. But even when I make beef curry I just use the curry cubes like Vermont (I think Coco do their own but not sure if you can get it over there/here) Just follow my tips in the post addressed to Kathleen. Just use the cubes and put a little less water than is suggested on the packet and an extra cube than is suggested. One other trick which I forgot to mention is that the curry will always thicken better if you let it cool for a good 20 minutes! I know it is annoying to have to wait for it to cool only to have to heat it up again but that is the best way to get it thick. Also, try adding some bulldog sauce (thick worcester will do) and a couple of soupspoons of ketchup. Enjoy! :)

    • profile image

      Katrina Petrehn 6 years ago

      JapanGulu. I recently lived in Okinawa with my husband on base and have been trying to find a good curry recipe online since I fell in love with Coco's there. But every recipe I find online either has beef chunks or ground beef in it and I just want to have it plain with no meant in it like how they have it at Coco's or any other curry house. In your picture it looks just like how I want it. I plan on using pre made curry mix, so do I just add the cubes to water and let it thicken?

    • JapanGulu profile image

      JapanGulu 6 years ago

      Hi Cathleen,

      As i mention, if you find your curry is too runny it's probably because you added too much water or didn't use enough roux (I don't have a recipe for the curry I just use the premade Japanese curry cubes which you can buy in most asian food markets!) Alternatively try using a bit of cornflour, OR, my Japanese friends use different ingredients to give the curry a thicker more velvety texture, such as a couple of spoonfuls of Bulldog sauce and ketchup. Some use dark chocolate to thicken it. I have tried bulldog sauce and ketchup topped up at the very end with a knob of butter and found it gives a very smooth texture to the curry sauce. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Cathleen 6 years ago

      Thanks for the recipe! But how do you get your curry to be dark and not runny? Can you post the recipe for the curry too?

    • JapanGulu profile image

      JapanGulu 7 years ago

      Hi Larry - thanks for dropping by - just doing ym bit for the Japanese chicken curry industry !

    • larryprice5372 profile image

      Larry Wade Price 7 years ago from Long Beach, California

      Some one must have told you Larry loves good food.

      Great recipe. Now I'm very hungry.

      Welcome to Hubpages.

    • JapanGulu profile image

      JapanGulu 7 years ago

      Thanks for dropping by SI - glad you liked my Japanese curry recipe. Yes, I have got a digital camera (Canon Rebel T2i) and I might do as you say and take pictures of my Japanese curry recipes ! Just like John Chow !

    • Singular Investor profile image

      Singular Investor 7 years ago from Oxford

      Sounds great - Japanese curry recipes are usually very popular ! Now I wonder who I could get to do the cooking ? One suggestion - take a pic of your very own Japanese curry and include it here (when you get the time - and if you've got a decent digital camera)