Let us talk about Katsu Curry. You would usually associate curries with India or Thailand but this dish is one of the most popular in Japan. Japanese curry is very different from other cuisines. They use a more gravy-like sauce and the spices they use are not as numerous and varied as Indian curry. They are also sweeter and not as spicy as Thai curries.
A Bit Of History
During the Meiji era which was from 1868 to 1912, Japan moved from a feudal society to a more Westernized and integrated country. This was the time when curry was introduced to Japan by the British. The Japanese adapted the dish and it became so popular that it is almost called the national dish.
I heard of katsu curry when my husband (who was then my boyfriend) was sent to work to Japan for a short period and since he does not eat seafood, when he came back, he was raving about Japanese katsu curry. The dish is chicken or pork, breaded and deep fried and smothered with curry gravy.
The term ‘katsu’ came from the English word cutlet which is what is used for the recipe.
To make healthy Chicken Katsu Curry, I used chicken instead of pork and baked the meat instead of deep frying. I also used the ready roux which is what made this dish famous in Japan in the 60s.
Healthy Chicken Katsu Curry
Healthy Chicken Katsu Curry
- 1 pc medium onion peeled and diced
- 1 pc medium potato peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 pc carrot sliced thin or cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 box House Vermont Curry or Kokumaro curry
- 2 cups water or chicken broth
- 4 pcs chicken breast or thigh fillets butterflied to make it thinner
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 pc egg beaten
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs Panko or any brand
Making the gravy:
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.
Saute the onions until cooked.
Add the potatoes and carrots and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
Add the water and let boil.
Break curry sauce blocks into the pot and mix.
Add green peas and simmer for about 10 minutes.
How to bread the cutlets:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Line a baking tray with parchment paper
Toss Panko and 1 tbsp oil in frying pan on medium heat until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl.
In one bowl, beat the egg and set aside.
In another bowl, put the flour and season with salt and pepper. Mix.
Salt the chicken cutlets. Dip in the flour to coat both sides, dip in the beaten egg making sure to let the excess egg drip back.
Then dip into the bowl with the Panko until fully coated.
Place the chicken on the baking tray.
Bake for 25 minutes until cooked.
Cut carefully with a sharp knife to make sure you do not break the Panko crust.
Serve the sliced cutlets on a plate with rice and pour the gravy on top. If you want, sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
Kokumaro curry is a little more spicy than Vermont Curry.
In the gravy instructions, you are basically following the instructions in the back of the box. You can add any other vegetable that you want that will go well with the curry.
I specified Golden Curry and Kokumaro curry in the recipe but there are other brands. See the choices of curry roux on this list: best Japanese curry roux.
These are the Japanese curry roux I have tried before. In the linked article, the author favors Kokumaro over Golden Curry but really, both are good and you can pick which one is suited for your tastes and which ones are readily available where you shop.
Health Benefits of Chicken Katsu Curry
People call curry the Spice Bomb because it is a blend of many spices: coriander seeds, turmeric, dried chilies, fenugreek seeds,curry leaves, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, cinnamon, mustard seeds, bay leaves, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. This blend originated from East Indian cuisine. It is not one unique recipe – each family may have their own blend of spices for curry.
It can reduce inflammation, fight cancer,enhance bone health, combat Alzheimer’s disease. It can also aid in digestion, protect the heart and fight against bacterial infection.
Carrots with their bright orange color are a good source of beta-carotene. It has fiber, Vitamin K, potassium and loads of antioxidants. It can lower cholesterol and improve eyesight.
It is also an anti-cancer food because of the antioxidant properties. for a list of other anti-cancer foods I have compiled, go to Best AntiCancer Foods.
Potatoes have been getting a bad rep lately because of the carbs but the truth is it has a lot of nutrients. It has loads of vitamin C, potassium more than a banana, Vitamin B6. It also has a lot of fiber and iron.
Potatoes are good for us as long as it is not in the form of French Fries. In the recipe above, you can skip the part of frying the potatoes and put it directly when simmering the gravy.
What do You Think?
I hope you will try this recipe. It is good for families because the spice is muted so kids can eat it as well as adults. Baking the chicken cutlets instead of frying results in chicken that is still crispy specially when fresh out of the oven
There may be a difference in the browning of the crust when baked but you can improve it by toasting the crumbs more in the pan before you use it for coating the chicken. There is a huge health benefit when skipping the frying not to mention you do not end up with a pan of used cooking oil that is hard to dispose of.
You will see a difference in taste if you are used to Indian or Thai curries which have strong spicy flavors. There are times when I want the strong curry but I also appreciate this type of curry with its slightly sweet flavor.
Kain Na! (Let’s Eat).