Our most iconic and best-loved dish at Wagamama, the katsu curry is undoubtably the ultimate Japanese comfort food. We’ve created this version for you to make at home, which is close to our original, but the only way to experience a Wagamama katsu is, of course, in our restaurants.
FOR THE KATSU CURRY SAUCE
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2.5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 heaped tablespoons mild curry powder
1 tablespoon plain flour
300ml chicken or vegetable stock
100ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar, to taste
FOR THE CHICKEN AND RICE
120g Thai jasmine rice
2 skinless chicken breasts
50g plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g panko breadcrumbs
75ml vegetable oil, for deep-frying
FOR THE GARNISH
40g mixed salad leaves
2 tablespoons Wagamama dressing (see below)
1 tablespoon pickled radish or ginger, or Japanese pickles
1. Cook the rice following the Perfect Rice cooking instructions below.
2. Meanwhile, make the katsu curry sauce. Place the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened. Lower the heat, add the spices and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add the flour and stir over the heat to cook it out, then slowly add the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and add the coconut milk, soy sauce and sugar, to taste. For a perfectly smooth sauce, pass the mixture through a sieve. The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
3. With a sharp knife, cut each chicken breast almost in half and open it out like a book. Place both between two pieces of clingfilm and bash with a rolling pin to flatten to about 1cm thick. Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow bowls and then dip each chicken breast first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs, ensuring each breast is coated well.
4. Place the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. To test if the oil is hot enough to fry, drop some breadcrumbs into the oil – if they sink, the oil is not hot enough and, if they quickly burn, then the oil is too hot, but if they bubble and float to the top, the oil is just right. Deep-fry 1 coated breast at a time, so as not to overcrowd the pan, for 3–4 minutes on each side then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Set aside and keep warm.
5. To serve, spoon a portion of rice onto 2 serving plates. With a sharp knife, slice the deep-fried chicken breasts into strips at an angle and arrange on top of the rice. Ladle the curry sauce over the chicken and rice and place the salad on the side with a drizzle of dressing and a little pickled radish. Serve immediately.
PERFECT RICE: THE WAGAMAMA WAY Japanese cooking traditionally uses a short grain rice and cooks it in a way that gives it a glutinous, sticky texture. To prepare it perfectly, it is important that the ratio of rice to water is correct and, as a rule, this ratio is 2:3. We recommend a serving of 90g or ½ cup of rice per person (cups are far easier to use as a measure for rice).
Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Place the rice in a fine mesh sieve and leave to strain for at least 5 minutes to allow excess water to drain. To cook, place 540ml water in a heavy-based saucepan, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, add the rice and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. It is important to leave the rice undisturbed during the entire cooking and resting process. Take the pan off the heat and set aside with the lid still on for a further 10 minutes.
WAGAMAMA DRESSING Place 2 tsp finely chopped shallots, a 2.5cm peeled and grated piece of ginger, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp tomato ketchup, 1 tbsp water, 100ml vegetable oil and 3 tbsp light soy sauce in a bowl or large jar and whisk together until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
TIP When Wagamama Global Chief Executive Steven Mangleshot visited Japan’s katsu restaurants, the curries ranged in spiciness from 0–10. Ours is fairly mild so, if you like a little heat, add some chilli powder whilst the sauce is simmering and a splash of sriracha once it is cooked.
Recipe extracted from Wagamama: Feed Your Soul, published by Kyle Books, priced £20.