Whenever I go to one of my favourite chain restaurants, the thought crosses my mind: could I make this myself? In the past, I have always shied away from the idea with thoughts like “better leave it to the professionals” and “the whole point of going out for dinner is that you don’t calories count,” but I was struck by a flash of inspiration the other day. Amazon is usually renowned for getting their advertising bang on, and when a piece showing “Panko breadcrumbs” popped up on screen, it was my curiosity that got the better of me (well done Amazon, more brownies points). The advert declared that these were THE breadcrumbs used to make all the classic Asian and Japanese dishes. Interesting, I thought… do they use these breadcrumbs to make the Wagamama heavyweight, “Chicken Katsu Curry?”
Yes, apparently, they do.
So for a mere £2.50 (free delivery) for a 300g bag of said crumbs, and armed with a recipe I found on BBC Good Food (another goldmine), I set about attempting to create a chicken katsu curry to rival that of Wagamamas.
Ingredients – serves 3
Seasoned flour, for dusting
2 eggs, beaten
100g natural dried breadcrumbs
3 chicken breasts
100g basmati rice
75g frozen peas
1 onion , chopped
2 garlic clove , crushed
a small chunk of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
a pinch chilli flakes (optional)
oil, for frying
1 tbsp plain flour, mixed with 1 tbsp mild curry powder
350ml chicken stock
1 tsp brown sugar (any kind will do)
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Separate seasoned flour, egg and bread crumbs into 3 dishes. Dust the chicken in flour, then the egg, then breadcrumbs and chill for 20 minutes.
To make the curry sauce cook the onion, garlic and ginger (and chilli flakes if using) in a little splash of oil (I use coconut) until softened. Add the flour and curry powder mix, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring to stop it catching. Slowly add the chicken stock then stir in the sugar and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend the sauce to smooth using a stick blender.
Heat 2 tbsp sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan. Fry the chicken until golden on both sides then transfer to a rack and finish cooking in the oven for 20 minutes.
Boil the rice in lots of salted water, adding the peas for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain well then toss with a couple of drops of sesame oil and soy.
Slice the chicken and arrange on top of the rice then serve with a drizzle of the reheated sauce a la Wagamama.
This was a resounding success; all the hungry mouths and stomachs that were used for this experiment clamoured for more – and the icing on cake is that this recipe is less than half the calories of the high street version, adding up to a mere 750!