This is my new favourite chicken dish. Chicken Katsu Curry is made from a delicious panko-breaded chicken that’s topped with an intense curry sauce and served with rice. It’s a delicious meal that can be made easily at home.
Origin of Chicken Katsu Curry
The original Japanese Katsu Curry (katsukare) uses a breaded pork cutlet (tonkatsu) instead of chicken, but more and more often we find the chicken version available. Now, a Chicken Katsu is just the name for breaded and fried chicken, also referred to as Panko Chicken. Panko is the preferred breading ingredient in this dish, it’s a type of Japanese bread crumb that has a few larger bits giving it a crispier finish when fried. Katsukare is a dish typically served in many fast-food restaurants in Japan, and I bet you can already smell the curry sauce in the air. They serve it now with variations of the sauce and also the main protein.
How to make Chicken Katsu Curry
There are 3 main components to the Chicken Katsu Curry, so we’ll break them down here:
- The curry sauce: The curry sauce is the soul of this Chicken Katsu Curry. It’s extremely tasty and deep in flavour. To make it, cook onion, garlic, ginger and tomato paste along with curry powder and ground turmeric. Then, you add soy sauce, coconut cream and honey. Blend it together, let it thicken and you’re done! It’s really good and you will want to add it to everything. You can freeze this sauce for up to 3 months, so go ahead and make some extra for later on.
- The chicken katsu: For the chicken, I used chicken breasts cut in half in a butterfly way, horizontally. Then, I flatten them using a rolling pin so that you have a nice, even thickness. Then, to bread them they go into flour, then egg and finally the panko. We finally fry the chicken for that crispy and delicious outside and juicy inside.
- The rice: The rice may sound like an accessory but it’s really not. The rice will soak up the sauce as you’re eating it and provide that soft and fluffy texture against the crispy outside of the chicken.
How to make it ahead
If you’re like me and you’re thinking how can I serve this to a crowd but not cook while they’re at home, I have a few tips for you.
- Make the sauce: The sauce can easily be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave before serving. It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
- Cook the rice: Rice is also a good idea to make ahead. You can refrigerate it for up to 5 days. To reheat it in a microwave, make sure to use a container with a lid on top (not closed) so that it doesn’t lose moisture.
- Bread the chicken: Sadly, you do have to fry it just before serving. It’s one of those things that is just the best when fresh. However, you can have your chicken already breaded in the fridge and ready to go from the day before. Separate one from another using baking paper. Then, they go straight into the hot oil for frying.
How to reheat the dish
Do you have leftover Chicken Katsu Curry? No problem, I can tell you how to reheat it. Ideally, you want to reheat the sauce, rice and chicken separately. For the sauce and rice, a microwave is fine for reheating. For the chicken, however, the best option by far is to use an air fryer. An air fryer will crisp up the chicken back up almost to the level of freshly made. Add it to the air fryer and set it to air-fry at 180°C/350°F for 5 minutes. You might want to flip them halfway through. You don’t need to spray it with oil or anything because the air fryer will use the oil already in the breading to do its job.
Can you use an air fryer for the chicken?
If you’re like many people who follow me, you will want to know if you can fry the chicken for the Chicken Katsu Curry in an air fryer. The answer is yes but. Yes, you can, by spraying it with a generous amount of oil (and I mean generous if you want it really golden) and then air frying it. You select the air fry mode, set it to 200°C/400°F and fry for 15 minutes, flipping it halfway. Now, for the “but” bit, it won’t be exactly the same. If you’re thinking about deep-frying a nice tip for you is that you need to preheat your oil. Use a cooking thermometer if you have one to get it to 180°C/350°F and the breading should not soak up much oil, feeling and looking dry after a few seconds from removing it from the oil.
More regional recipes using chicken
If you like to travel the world through food, here are other regional dishes you might want to explore that also contain chicken, just like this Chicken Katsu Curry.
Chicken Katsu Curry Recipe
For the rice
- 1½ tsp vegetable or olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced, grated or puréed
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 1¼ cup water
For the curry sauce
- 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ brown onion chopped
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 3 garlic cloves minced, grated or puréed
- 10 g ginger peeled and finely grated
- 1 tsp tomato purée
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 180 ml coconut cream unsweetened
- 2 tbsp honey
For the chicken
- 2 large chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 30 g all-purpose flour
- 1 egg + a tablespoon of water
- 50 g panko or breadcrumbs
- 0.5-1 litre vegetable oil for frying I use canola oil
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Sliced green onions only the green section
For the rice
- Preheat a small pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic and salt and stir until the garlic starts to become golden. Don't let the garlic burn.
- Add the rice and stir constantly for one minute. This helps the grains stay apart once they are cooked instead of sticky.
- Add the water still on medium heat and let it break to a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a minimum and place the lid on the pot.
- After 15 minutes, use a fork to move the rice on a spot and check that there's no water left at the base of the pot. If there's still water there, let it cook for a few more minutes. If there's no more water, use a fork to mix and fluff up the rice and let it dry out over medium heat for an extra minute without the lid on.
For the sauce
- Preheat a pan or pot over medium-low heat. Add the oil, onion, curry and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 4-5 minutes or until the onion is slightly golden.
- Add the garlic, ginger and tomato purée and stir constantly for 1 minute.
- Add the soy sauce, coconut cream and honey and bring it to a boil. Use the spatula to scrape the bottom if any golden bits are stuck there.
- Blend the sauce and then let it boil until it thickens slightly. Taste and adjust the level of salt if needed.
For the chicken
- Cut the chicken breasts in half like a butterfly, horizontally. Place the chicken flat on a cutting board and cover with baking paper. Use a rolling pin to pound and flatten the pieces.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and water.
- To bread the chicken, you first pass them through the flour and shake it gently to remove the excess. Then pass through the egg and let the excess drip. Finish with the panko.
- In a pot or pan, preheat the oil over medium heat. If you have an oil thermometer, it should mark 180°C/350°F.
- Fry a piece at a time for 3-4 minutes or until very golden. When you remove them from the oil, place them on a baking tray with a cooling rack on top.
- Slice the chicken for serving.
- Serve the chicken with a side of rice, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with green onion. Finish by adding the sauce.