I’m an adventurous eater and love trying new things. I grew up on very traditional North-East of England food, where pasta dishes were a little exotic and Chinese Takeaway was daring as it got. That being said, my parents succeeded in raising 6 of the least fussy eaters you can imagine who have all embraced food from our various travels and life experiences.
My own children have grown up with a mixture of the British classics plus my own discoveries and loves. Some they love (we all love anything tex-mex and Italian), others are less popular (stir fries are always a little reluctantly received, and once both of my girls cried when I served up Shepherd’s pie).
I’m a massive fan of Thai, sushi and Japanese food but this is an area where the enthusiasm seems to stop at me in my little family. I particularly love eating at Wagamama’s, but have never managed to persuade my husband and girls to come and eat there with me. This, therefore, was my gateway attempt to introduce a new dish. Wagamama’s have a lovely looking kid’s menu featuring something similar from which I took my inspiration.
Katsu is a good mixture of the familiar (crunchy chicken, rice and veggies) and the new but not too new (a variation on curry sauce). I read a few recipes for the sauce and with a bit of trial and error, came up with the version here which is both tasty and mild for younger palettes. The first time I made this I added way too much curry powder, and so balanced with some yogurt, and so the picture here shows a much lighter sauce that you will get from following the recipe!! (However, if your young ones do find it spicy still, a few dollops of plain yogurt is a lifesaver).
The reception on this was much better than I had dared to hope. My eldest loved it and polished it all off (apart from the stir fried broccoli – standard for her!), while my youngest loved the chicken but was more tentative about the sauce, but asked if we could have it again soon.
Wagamama’s – here we come!
For the chicken:
- 4 x small chicken breasts (around 100g each)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 100g dried breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
- Oil, such as coconut or olive, for frying
For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp sesame or coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- A thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, chopped into small chunks
- 2 celery stalks, chopped into small chunks
- 2 heaped tsp mild curry powder
- 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 1 chicken stock cube, made up with 1/4 pint boiling water
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Steamed rice or noodles
- Veggies of your choice cooked or raw – such as stir fried greens, chopped carrot, cucumber or tomatoes, raw peppers, fresh spinach – anything you fancy!
- Start by preparing the curry sauce. Heat the oil in a pan and over a medium heat, add the onions, garlic and ginger and fry for a few minutes until the onion has softened slightly
- Add the carrots and celery and stir fry for a minute or 2
- Add the flour and curry powder and stir well until none of the white flour can be seen
- Add the chicken stock and stir through, then turn up the heat and bubble for about 5 minutes until the celery and carrots have softened. Add more water if the liquid is looking too thick
- Add the soy sauce and honey and season with salt and pepper. If you like a smooth sauce, blend with a hand blender to the desired consistency. Keep warm on a low heat while preparing the chicken
- Next, prepare the chicken. Have the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs to hand in separate bowls. Place the chicken breasts inside a large ziplock bag or between couple of sheets of greaseproof paper, and use a rolling-pin to bash until flattened
- Season with salt and pepper then dip each piece into the flour, egg then breadcrumbs to give a crispy coating on each side
- Heat a large frying or grill pan with a few glugs of oil, then fry the chicken on a high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until thoroughly cooked through. You can check this by cutting through the thickest part of the chicken and ensuring the flesh is white and firm
- Slice the chicken into strips and serve on top of the rice or noodles and vegetables
- Finish with the sauce – either drizled over the top of the chicken, or on the side for dunking (or, if you’re a katsu addict, both!)