Chicken Katsu Curry is a combination of two of the most popular Japanese dishes, creating a meal that is full of flavor and texture and easier to make than you may think!
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Chicken Katsu Curry is just that. It’s a delicious cut of chicken, covered in panko bread crumbs and deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. It’s then placed in a bowl with all of the warm spices and flavor of Japanese curry.
It’s a perfect balance of crispy chicken and tender vegetables, all coming together on a simple bed of rice. The chicken is pre-sliced, making it easy to eat with a spoon or fork, along with a generous helping of warm sauce and sticky Japanese rice.
If you love curry, this is a twist you cannot miss. What makes this meal even better is how easily it comes together. (And you can make it even easier by making the chicken in the air fryer.) It’s a perfect, warm dinner and the ultimate comfort dish that you’ll want to enjoy over and over again.
Katsu has been popular in Japan since the Meiji era in the late 19th century. At that time, Emperor Meiji was encouraging Japanese people to accept more Western influences, in an attempt to make Japan more modern.
This influence of course made its way to Japanese cuisine and restaurants began experimenting with deep-fried meat, similar to the German Wienerschnitzel.
Katsu, a deep-fried piece of meat, was born in Tokyo and quickly spread country-wide. It was originally made with beef but eventually, pork became very popular and today you can find chicken katsu and fish.
Around the same time, English soldiers introduced curry to Japan. Their pre-made curry powder made creating flavorful dishes easily.
Some believe katsu curry was created in 1918 in a restaurant in Asakusa named Kawakin. While it may be difficult to nail down the exact origin of the dish, the reason its popularity has spread is obvious.
The meat offers the perfect crunch to the dish while the curry gives the meat excellent flavor and spice. This chicken katsu curry recipe is a great way to use leftover katsu chicken filets or add a crunchy twist to a quick curry dish.
Why Make This Recipe
- Delicious Twist on Curry: Japanese curry is very different from Indian curry and many other curry recipes. It offers plenty of flavors but won’t burn your mouth. The addition of crispy, deep-fried meat to curry adds a whole new texture to the dish that is truly mouth-watering. Check out more of the differences in this article between Japanese Curry vs Indian Curry. Both are delicious though!
- Use Up Leftovers: This dish is a combination of two separate dishes and while both can be made at the same time, you could also make curry or chicken katsu one night and then make this dish the next night to use up any leftovers. It’s a great weeknight meal!
- Taste of Japan: This dish combines two of the most popular dishes in Japan so it’s a great way to experience Japanese cuisine–while still using cooking methods and flavors that are familiar to Western countries.
What Do I Need to Make This Recipe?
Chicken Curry Ingredients
Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Scroll down to the recipe at the bottom for quantities.
- Celery Stalk: Celery is optional but I like to add a little bit of green to the dish.
- Chicken: Chicken will be used in both recipes. Use boneless, skinless chicken for both recipe elements. You can use either breast or thigh. I prefer thighs in the curry as they are juicier, but breasts for the Katsu as it is a slightly healthier option.
- Golden Potato: Golden potatoes have just the right amount of starch to hold their shape but you could use any kind of potato.
- Golden Curry Pieces: I’ve been able to find these in the Asian section of my local grocery store or at Walmart but you could also purchase them online. Curry powder is not the same.
- All-Purpose Flour: Feel free to sub gluten-free flour
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Do not substitute other breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are what make the crispy finish on the chicken.
- Japanese Short Rice: For serving. I used a bag labeled “sushi rice” but did now follow the sushi instructions.
How to Make This Recipe
Step One: Prepare the Curry
In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil until warm. Then add the ginger and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and celery and stir for about 3 minutes until the onions start to turn translucent.
Add the chicken breasts or chicken thighs and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the outside of the chicken is cooked but the centers are still raw.
Add the water, carrot, potato, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. While the water is coming to a boil, use a spoon to scoop off any film forming on the top of the water. Once simmering, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
Add in the 6 pieces of curry, one block at a time. Stir to dissolve the one block, and then add the next. Mix well.
Simmer for another 5 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the curry thickens.
Step Two: Cook Your Chicken
Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board. Cut them in half, width-wise so that you have four thin chicken cutlets with an even thickness.
Place a piece of plastic wrap over all of the chicken cutlet pieces on the cutting board. Use a meat tenderizer to pound the piece of chicken until they are about ¼ – ½” thick.
Remove the plastic wrap. Then sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.
Get out 3 separate shallow bowls (I sometimes use cake pans or pie tins) and pour the flour in one, the beaten eggs in another, and the panko breadcrumbs into the final pan.
Pick up one of the chicken pieces and first dip it in the all-purpose flour, making sure it is evenly coated on both sides.
Next, rub the chicken in the beaten egg mixture, making sure it is evenly coated on both sides.
Finally, dip the floured and egged chicken in the panko breadcrumbs. Press the chicken into the breadcrumbs so that the breadcrumbs stick and the chicken is evenly coated. Make sure there is no surface area without breadcrumbs.
Repeat this process with as many chicken pieces as can fit in your pan at once.
Put a cast iron skillet on the stove and pour about 1 ½ inches of oil into it. Heat the oil until it reaches an internal temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add the chicken to the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes until the katsu is browned on one side. Then flip the katsu over and cook again on the other side until browned. Your chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
Step Three: Assemble The Dish
Prepare your Japanese short-grain white rice according to the package instructions.
Once the curry, katsu, and rice are all ready, it’s time to plate. Cut your chicken katsu into 6-7 pieces, horizontally.
In a large, shallow bowl, add the Japanese sticky rice to the bottom of the bowl. Spoon the chicken curry over the rice, then top with the cut chicken katsu. Eat and enjoy!
- Some Japanese restaurants will serve Katsu curry with no vegetables in the sauce. You could keep your curry sauce very simple and allow the cutlet to be the star of the show but the vegetables add great flavor and interest to the dish.
- Some Japanese curry may thicken faster than others. This is why I recommend adding one block of curry at a time and allowing it to dissolve completely. You may need to adjust your water to reach the right consistency.
- Japanese curry does not usually include coconut milk but if you like that flavor, you could try replacing some of the water with coconut milk.
- You can also replace the water in your curry with chicken stock.
Yes, you can save leftovers from this dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you reheat the dish, your chicken may lose some of its signature crunch. I recommend reheating in an air fryer to bring back some of the crisps. To do this, you’ll need to save the chicken katsu in a separate container from the curry and rice.
This dish is also a great way to reuse leftovers. Did you make curry last night and have leftovers for today? Try pairing it with katsu chicken to put a twist on the dish! Did you prepare katsu chicken for a meal yesterday? This dish is a great way to make sure none of that crispy chicken goes to waste!
Did you enjoy this Chicken Katsu Curry Recipe? If so, make sure to check out these other recipes I picked out just for you: