Chicken katsu curry is a comfort dish wasn’t one I grew up eating often, but it’s one I made a lot in college! I like using chicken thighs because they’re more flavorful and tender than breasts, and there’s more room for error — even if you overcook it slightly, it’s still great. If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, check out my tofu katsu curry post.
The method I like to use with any katsu is shallow-frying: it uses much less oil compared to deep-frying, but gets the same results. Instead of submerging the entire piece of chicken under oil, you only use enough to fry one side at a time. If you don’t want to fry this at all, you can always bake it in the oven instead — but you won’t end up with the evenly golden brown, crunchy exterior.
For the curry, I use the boxed kind because they’re easy and a great foundation to start with. To get the most flavor, I like using a mixture of Golden Curry, Vermont Curry, and/or Java Curry. Usually I’ll mix a mild, sweet one and one medium hot, but you can adjust to your preferences.
Make sure to prepare some rice to eat this with, and enjoy!
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Notes / FAQs:
What is shallow-frying?
- I explained a bit above, but it’s a way to fry your food without using as much oil (like deep-frying does). With shallow-frying, you only use enough oil to fry one side at a time. You end up with the same results as deep-frying, without as much mess and required clean-up.
I’m trying to eat less meat! Can I replace the chicken with something else?
- Yes! I love tofu katsu. Make sure to get extra firm tofu, and to press it down with some paper towels to release any extra moisture before breading and frying.
What kind of curry should I use?
- The ones I listed should be pretty commonly found at Asian supermarkets: Golden Curry, Vermont Curry, and Java Curry. You’ll get the best flavor if you mix curries from different brands / boxes, so try experimenting to see what you like best! I personally like picking one that’s sweet and mild, and another that’s medium hot.
Chicken Katsu Curry
- 2-3 medium yellow potatoes
- 2-3 medium carrots
- 1 yellow onion
- 3-5 cloves garlic
- low-sodium chicken broth or water
- 1.5 tablespoon Vermont curry mild, with apple and honey
- 1.5 tablespoon Java or Golden curry medium hot (or your preference)
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar optional
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce optional
- 1 tablespoon honey optional
- black pepper optional
- 3-4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups of Panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika optional
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder optional
- neutral oil for frying (neutral tasting oil with high smoke point like avocado or vegetable)
Making the curry
- Before making anything else, be sure to prepare a batch of rice for your curry!
- Prepare all the vegetables by chopping them into medium-sized chunks (about 1-2 in). Mince the garlic.2-3 medium yellow potatoes, 2-3 medium carrots, 1 yellow onion, 3-5 cloves garlic
- Heat up a medium or large pot over medium heat, and add neutral oil. Once warm, add the chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly translucent.1 tablespoon neutral oil
- Add the minced garlic, and cook for another minute or until fragrant.
- Add the potatoes and carrots, and stir to mix well.
- Add enough low-sodium chicken broth (or water) to cover the vegetables by an inch, and turn up the heat to high. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat back to medium to keep it at a low boil. Cover and continue cooking for ~15 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through to their center. In the meantime, you can prep your chicken and breading (check Breading your chicken).low-sodium chicken broth or water
- Once the vegetables are cooked through, add the curry blocks. I used about 1 tablespoon each of the two curries: Vermont and Java. Stir well, and keep stirring until it’s completely dissolved, and the curry thickens (this should take a few minutes). If you like your curry thicker, you can add more blocks; if you like your curry thinner, you can add more chicken broth or water.1.5 tablespoon Vermont curry, 1.5 tablespoon Java or Golden curry
- I have a few ingredients that I listed as optional for the curry: the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and black pepper. For me, these take the boxed curry to the next level by adding a bit of acidity (vinegar), umami (soy sauce), and sweetness (honey). I recommend tasting your curry, and adding these ingredients one by one to see how they each affect the taste, then adjusting accordingly!1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, black pepper
- Once you’re satisfied with your curry, turn off the heat and set aside.
Breading the chicken
- Prepare 3 shallow plates or bowls: one with all purpose flour, one with egg (whisked well), and the last with Panko bread crumbs. If you decide to add the optional paprika and garlic powder, add them to the bowl of flour and mix well1 cup all purpose flour, 1 egg, 1 ½ cups of Panko bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- With a paper towel, dry the chicken thighs, and season them on both sides with salt. If your chicken thighs are very uneven, pound the thicker parts with the back of your knife or a meat tenderizer to flatten them a bit. Cut away any small extra chunks or pieces of fat to get a flat piece of chicken. This makes sure that the chicken cooks evenly when frying.3-4 skinless, 1 teaspoon salt
- With tongs or clean hands, place a chicken thigh in the bowl of flour and coat it on all sides, and lightly press the flour into the chicken so that it sticks well.
- Shake off any excess flour, then coat it with egg.
- Lastly, bread the chicken thigh in the Panko bread crumbs. Make sure you can’t see anymore chicken, and lightly press the crumbs in on all sides. This makes sure that the breading sticks onto it when you’re frying it. Sometimes it helps to break up the Panko into smaller crumbs so that it coats the chicken more thoroughly.
- Repeat with the rest of the chicken thighs. If you haven’t yet, go back to the curry instructions and finish steps 7-9!
Frying the chicken
- For shallow-frying, I love using a small pot (one that will fit one chicken thigh), because small pot means even less oil is needed. The high sides of a pot will also prevent the oil from splattering all over your stove.
- Over medium heat, add enough neutral oil in a small pot to fill up to about ½ inch up the pot. If you have a digital thermometer, 320-330F is the ideal temperature you want to reach. If you don’t have a thermometer, sprinkle a few Panko bread crumbs into the oil to check the temperature. If it sizzles, it’s ready. If it browns really quickly, it’s too hot, so either pour a bit more oil or lower the heat to cool it down.neutral oil for frying
- With tongs, carefully lower one breaded chicken thigh into the hot oil. Fry for about 3-5 mins or until golden brown, then flip to the other side and fry until golden brown.
- Once it’s golden brown on both sides, take it out and let it rest on a cooling rack (the air flow underneath will prevent the breading from getting soggy).
- Slice the chicken katsu into thick strips, and serve over the curry and rice.