Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry Bowl

Eating a bowl of Japanese chicken katsu curry

Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry is a golden coconut vegetable curry paired with crispy fried chicken cutlets, all in a fluffy rice bowl. This is pure comfort food, Japanese style.

Japanese chicken katsu curry in a bowl

Chicken katsu curry inspired by our current fave Japanese take out

We’re just not eating at restaurants these days so we’ve stepped up our take out game. But after we ordered chicken katsu curry several times from our favorite Japanese curry house, I finally got the idea to make it myself and I’m SO glad I did. My version tastes every bit as good (ok, I really want to say better) than take out. That might be because I got my hands on some authentic Japanese curry powder, thanks Amazon. I did have to use basmati rice, which obviously isn’t right, but we were hungry and I wasn’t about to risk a shopping run just for that. Turned out brilliant.

thinly sliced chicken in a Japanese curry bowl

Curry isn’t original to Japan, it was introduced by the British (who got it from India) over a century ago. Since then it’s become absorbed and adapted into the national cuisine and become super popular. It’s considered to be a Western dish by the Japanese, and the blending of flavors and textures is delicious and unique.

Japanese curry is different from Indian curry

Japanese curry is based on the anglicized Indian curry powder brought to Japan by the English.

Generally speaking, Japanese curry is less spicy than Indian curries. It tends to be thicker, as well, often being thickened with a flour and fat type of roux.  Note: I didn’t thicken my sauce, I like it better on the thin side.

Much Japanese curry is made with curry spice ‘cubes’, which can contain MSG, preservatives, caramel coloring, canola or palm oil. These cubes produce a thick brown curry.

I prefer to use  a beautiful curry powder, made in Japan. I bought mine from an Asian market, but you can also find it online here.

My Japanese curry powder is made with turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, orange peel, pepper, chili pepper, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, star anise, thyme, bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg, sage, and cardamom. Sounds like the whole spice rack, doesn’t it? It’s amazing and produces a beautiful golden curry, especially when mixed with coconut milk.

Japanese chicken curry in a pot

The real magic of this meal is the combination of crispy chicken with the saucy curry.

Make sure you start with chicken cutlets, which are boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into thinner slices horizontally. You will find them ready packaged in some supermarkets, or you can ask your butcher to do it for you. You can do it at home with a sharp knife, just hold the chicken with the palm of your left hand while you carefully slice it through. It’s similar to slicing cake layers.

Why chicken cutlets?

When you cut chicken breast into thinner slices it cooks quicker and doesn’t get rubbery. You get all the benefits of white meat without the downsides. It’s lovely and tender.

Dredging station for fried chicken katsu curry

The breading station order of operation

Make sure all surfaces of the chicken get covered in all steps…

  • Season your chicken cutlets with salt
  • Dust the chicken cutlet in plain flour
  • Dip into the beaten egg
  • Coat in panko bread crumbs

a chicken cutlet coated with panko crumbs

What are Panko bread crumbs and are they worth buying?

Panko are Japanese bread crumbs that are extra crunchy, and they hold their crunch even through frying and baking. They’re made in a special way

And yes, you should always stock them in your pantry, they keep forever.

 

frying chicken cutlets

If deep frying turns you off, you can shallow fry the chicken in 1/4 inch of oil

Or brown it off and finish it in the oven. The panko crumbs will keep it crispy regardless of how you do it.

slicing a fried chicken cutlet

How to compose your katsu curry bowl

  • First lay down a base of hot rice.
  • Ladle the hot curry to one side, make sure to get enough sauce…the rice will absorb it.
  • Top with the sliced chicken, and sprinkle with a shower of sliced spring onion.

 

Crispy fried chicken cutlets on rice with Japanese curry

Yes, there are a few steps to this easy dinner…

You could order take out, you could pop a frozen dinner in the micro…but this is better. You’ve got to make the rice, make the curry, and fry up the chicken, granted. But I did everything ahead of time and just reheated at dinnertime, no biggie.

We still desperately miss going out to dinner, but meals like this make eating at home night after night a little more bearable 🙂

Holding a bowl of Japanese katsu curry in a white bowl

 

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Eating a bowl of Japanese chicken katsu curry
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5 from 2 votes

Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry

Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry is a golden coconut vegetable curry paired with crispy fried chicken cutlets, all on a bed of rice.  This is pure comfort food, Japanese style.
Course Dinner Recipes
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • 4 cups hot cooked rice (this is about 1 1/3 cups raw rice, cooked according to package instructions.) You can use Japanese, sushi, basmati, or jasmine rice. Brown rice is fine, too.
  • 4 thin chicken breast cutlets (one per person)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil for frying

curry

  • vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 white thin skinned potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp Japanese curry powder (more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more to taste)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 15 ounce can coconut milk (full fat)
  • salt to taste

garnish

  • thinly sliced green onions

Instructions

to fry the chicken

  • Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven until quite hot and shimmering but not smoking. Note: you can use less oil if you like.
  • Season your chicken cutlets with salt.
  • Put the flour in one shallow bowl, the egg in another, and the panko in a third bowl.
    dredging station for fried chicken
  • Dredge each chicken cutlet with the flour, then dip in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off before coating with the panko crumbs.
    a chicken cutlet coated with panko crumbs
  • Test the oil before dropping the chicken in, it should sizzle on contact. Fry the chicken, in batches, until golden brown, flipping once during cooking. Thin cutlets will cook through very quickly, it should only take a couple of minutes per side. You can check with an instant read thermometor if you like, the temperature of the chicken should be 165F. Drain the chicken on paper towels.
    frying chicken cutlets
  • Let cool briefly and then slice thinly.
    slicing a fried chicken cutlet

to make the curry

  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pan and saute the onion for a couple of minutes to soften. Then add the carrots and potatoes and saute for a couple more minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the curry powder and cayenne, and let the spices toast for a minute, while stirring.
  • Add the stock and coconut milk and stir to combine everything well. Bring up to a simmer and let the curry simmer just until the veggies are just tender. Taste and add salt if needed. Note: the curry can be made ahead if you like.
    making Japanese curry in a Dutch oven

to assemble the curry bowls

  • Divide the hot rice between 4 bowls.
  • Ladle the hot curry to one side, make sure to get enough sauce…the rice will absorb it.
  • Top with the sliced chicken, and sprinkle with a shower of sliced spring onion.
    Japanese curry bowl

Cook's notes

variation suggestions:
  • Sauté fresh garlic and ginger with the vegetables.
  • Other veggies like mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower and green beans work well.
  • Instead of chicken top your curry with fried eggs.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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1 Comment

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  • Reply
    Candace
    January 12, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    5 stars
    The chicken cutlets were especially delicious. I made the entire recipe as described. Switching from chopsticks to soup spoons enabled all the flavors to unite. Thanks Sue. This a winner.

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