Chicken Katsu (fried Panko coated chicken cutlet) and Tonkatsu Sauce

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I must say that Japanese cuisine is one of my most favorite ethnic foods.  Good sushi is so refreshing, ramen is a nice and soothing treat, and Japanese fried food just hits the spot.  I love Japanese fried foods – they are crisp on the outside, and tender and juicy inside.

Fried chicken cutlet, or as Japanese menus read, Chicken Katsu, is something Peyman and I enjoy on occasion.  We used to go to Curry House and order chicken katsu curry spaghetti – it’s really heavy but so good.  I once made it at home and realized how fattening curry was after reading the nutrition facts on the label, so we haven’t eaten the combination since.

At home, to coat my chicken, I use Panko flakes, Japanese-style breadcrumbs.  I make the dinner extra special by also coating and pan-frying some Panko coated onion rings, broccoli, and sweet potatoes (usually whatever veggies I have in the fridge).  Along with the chicken, I serve a dipping sauce, steamed jasmine rice, a salad, and sometimes corn.

If you’d like to try it, follow the recipe below.  It’s really simple and oh, so good!

Fried Panko Chicken Cutlet / Chicken Katsu

Serving Size 2 to 3

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts

Panko flakes

Flour for dredging

1 Egg

2-3 Tablespoons of water

Salt and Pepper

Oil for frying. I fry in 1/2 Canola and 1/2 Olive oil mixture. Canola oil alone is fine.

Directions

1. Chicken will need to be pounded very thin (with a mallet or meat tenderizer) so that it cooks evenly and quickly.  This cooking technique is called paillard.  Chicken breasts are pretty thick.  Increase the surface area by pounding the chicken thin and by sort of butterflying the breast.  Some chicken breasts have a flap where you can just pull, cut into, and it looks butterflied, or you can cut the breast in half, thinning it…but don’t cut it too much that it falls apart.  If you’re afraid to cut it, score the breast with 3 slashes and pound away.  Between two sheets of plastic wrap, pound the chicken until thin, about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into desired-sized pieces, or don’t cut at all.

2. You will need to create a station where you have 3 plates or wide bowls.  From left to right, have 1) a plate of flour to dredge the chicken, 2) a bowl or plate with 2-3 tablespoons of water, scrambled with one egg, and 3) a plate of panko flakes.

3. Season chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper on both sides.

4. Dredge, lightly coat, the chicken breast with flour on all sides and dust off excess flour.

5. Dip/coat chicken breast in the egg mixture

6. Coat the chicken with panko bread crumbs.

7.  Pan fry immediately after breaded (as they will stay crisp. If resting in bread crumb mixture, the coating may fall off or get lumpy). Before adding chicken into the oil, heat the oil.  See next step.

8. Heat a large saute pan, add enough oil to come up half way or even more up the chicken (about 1/4 inch), then heat oil over medium-high heat.  Test if oil is heated by throwing some panko crumbs in.  If it sizzles, it’s ready.  Add the chicken into the oil.  Do not overcrowd the pan, as overcrowding will drop down the temperature.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  We want an even sizzle/bubbling of the chicken so adjust the heat appropriately.

9. Cook chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes on each side.

10.  Drain on paper towels.

11. Serve with sauce, see recipe below,  steamed Jasmine rice and salad or steamed vegetables.


Dipping Sauces – 2-3 sauces to choose from.  See below.

The Japanese traditionally eat Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu sauce

Tonkatsu Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 Cup Worstershire Sauce

2 Tablespoons Sugar

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons of Ketchup

1/2 Teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Allspice (optional)

Directions

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, whisk in worstershire sauce, sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, and ground all spice.  Let it reduce to about 1/2 a cup.  Whisk in dijon mustard and serve alongside chicken katsu.

Easy dipping sauce

Ingredients

Ketchup

Worstershire sauce or soy sauce.

In a small bowl, mix together ketchup with drops of worstershire sauce or Ketchup with drops of soy sauce.  (About 2 tablespoons of ketchup and about 2 tablespoons, more or less, of worstershire or soy sauce. You can even use more or less 1 tablespoon of both)

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