The weeks go by and the restaurants are still closed (for good reason, of course). Mrs Flavour and I have been forced to spend more time in the kitchen than Nigel Farage spends overlooking the port at Dover. Delicious food has long been instrumental in shaping our lifestyle, and unfortunately, our waistlines too. Lockdown has forced us to broaden our home-cooking horizons, preparing a wealth of globally inspired dishes within our own four walls. This is no mean feat, considering our rented home has 2 microscopic hobs and no oven. Plus, deciphering the labels at our local Malaga minimarket is more confusing than Boris’ conditional plan. Fortunately, Steve Mangleshot, executive chef at Wagamama was recently kind enough to share the recipe for their fantastic katsu curry. We love Wagamama and this dish is certainly a favourite, so we couldn’t wait to recreate it at home. There were a few circumstantial “modifications”, but nevertheless, it was a culinary triumph for team Flavour. Here’s our version below.
1 white onion.
1-inch piece of ginger.
½ tsp turmeric (we smuggled it from London).
2 tsp curry powder.
100ml coconut milk.
250ml vegetable stock.
Soy sauce (wish we’d smuggled this, it’s so expensive here).
1 tsp honey.
Plain flour (we bought the wrong flour by mistake – twice).
Breadcrumbs (Panko? – Dream on).
2 chicken breasts.
Rice to serve.
Return from supermarket, thoroughly scrub your shopping, and complete your decontamination routine. Did you Stay Alert?
Finely chop the onion and fry lightly in olive oil, battling with the pan because it isn’t non-stick. Chop the garlic and ginger as finely as you can be bothered to, then chuck that in the pan too. Cook for a couple of minutes, stopping before you burn it. Add turmeric and curry powder and stir whilst simultaneously feeling that you’ve ballsed it up. Don’t worry, you haven’t…. yet.
Pour in the stock, breathing a sigh of relief because you’ve saved your saucepan from cremation. Lower the heat and gently stir in the coconut milk, which translates as juice of the coconut in Spanish. Makes more sense, no? Ponder what you’ll do with the remaining 300ml. Resist the urge to chug it. Stir in the honey and a few precious sploshes of soy sauce. Simmer for a few mins then strain through a sieve and set aside.
Now for the tricky part, which you can totally skip if you’re a vegetarian, or of the opinion that rice and curry sauce is a meal by itself (it’s not).
Lay out 3 bowls. Add flour to one, egg to the next and breadcrumbs to the last.
Cover the chicken breasts with cling film and bash to flatten them out a bit. You could use a mallet, a rolling pin, or your bare fists if you fancy being a budget Rocky Balboa. Coat each chicken piece in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs until they look decent. Shallow fry for approx. 20 minutes, fiddling with the heat to find that sweet spot where they cook thoroughly and turn golden, without catching fire.
To serve, cook white rice (read the packet or use the internet if you’re not sure how to do this). Pack some into a cup and turn upside down onto the plate so it looks fancy. Slice the katsu chicken and plate up without the breadcrumbs falling off. Quickly reheat the sauce. Pour on a respectable amount and take some photographs. Finally, pour on the amount of delicious sauce you actually wanted and eat. For added Wagamama authenticity, finish eating your portion, while your fellow diners wait for their food to be brought out at a different time.
We hope your attempts are successful, leaving your kitchens in less of a mess than ours. Itadakimasu, amigos!