Japanese Katsu Curry is our favourite Asian comfort food to cook at home because it reminds us of tasty memories eating our way around Tokyo.
This homemade Curry Katsu recipe features chicken thighs that are breaded in panko crumbs and deep fried until crispy. Cutlets are then sliced and served with a traditional Japanese Katsu Curry recipe, which features a thick savoury brown gravy simmered with onions, carrots and potato.
Impress guests at your next dinner party by making this traditional Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry recipe. Serve the delicious chicken dish alongside steamed rice and shredded cabbage salad.
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What Is Japanese Katsu Curry?
Katsu originated in Japan during the Meiji Era in the late 19th century, a dish derived from European-style breaded and fried meat cutlets like schnitzel.
Curry was introduced to Japan by the British over 100 years ago, and has since become one of the country’s favourite dishes to make at home.
The traditional pork version was supposedly created in 1899 at a restaurant serving European-style foods, named Rengatei in Tokyo. It’s a type of yōshoku — Japanese versions of European cuisine invented in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — and was called katsuretsu or simply katsu.
The meat is usually seasoned with salt and pepper then dredged lightly in flour, dipped into beaten egg and then coated with panko crumbs before being deep fried. The secret to getting the crunchy, crispy skin on tonkatsu is to use panko crumbs, which are much larger and coarser than Western-style breadcrumbs
The crispy katsu is then sliced into strips and served with shredded cabbage salad. The cutlets are slathered in a thick savoury brown sauce called tonkatsu sauce. At Japanese restaurants the dish is typically served with steamed rice, miso soup and tsukemono fermented vegetables.
It is served on a large plate and is typically eaten using a spoon or fork. Since the cutlet is usually cut into strips, it eliminates the need for a knife.
Tonkatsu is also popular as a sandwich filling (katsu sando), simmered with egg and broth then served on a big bowl of rice as katsudon, or prepared with curry to become katsukarē, which is the Japanese Katus Curry recipe we’re showing you how to make today!
Travel to Japan by Cooking Curry Katsu at Home
I love traveling through Asia.
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout southeast Asia for 6 months, visiting India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Macau and the Maldives.
Japanese Katsu Curry is now a ubiquitous dish served in restaurants across the country, from fine dining rooms to casual family-run eateries. There are even fast food restaurant chains that specialize in Japanese Katsu Curry.
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Store-Bought Japanese Curry Roux
The most popular store-bought curry roux in Japan is Vermont Curry. It is one of the many curry roux products made by House Food Corporation. Other popular Japanese curries include S&B and Java Curry.
Japanese-style curries typically contain apple and honey to reduce any spiciness so even little kids can enjoy eating Curry Katsu.
You can find Japanese curry sold in boxes that are filled with cubes of roux. Using store-bought roux makes curry-making so easy. Simply sauté the meat and vegetables, add water and cook them, then add the roux. Simmer for a few minutes until you achieve the desired thickness then serve.
Homemade Japanese Curry Sauce
Can’t find store-bought Japanese curry at your local grocery store? Or consider yourself a gourmand and like to cook sauces from scratch at home?
Our easy Japanese Katsu Curry recipe uses store-bought roux cubes but you can use the following recipe to make a homemade version from scratch in your kitchen!
- 2 tbsp Butter, divided
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tbsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp White Sugar
- 2 cups Chicken Stock
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch, with 1 tbsp water
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and melt.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Then stir in the curry powder, salt, and sugar, and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir the cornstarch with the water to make a slurry, and add it to the curry sauce. Stir until the sauce is thickened, then stir in the remaining butter. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt to taste if needed.
Where To Eat Japanese Katsu Curry
Haven’t traveled to Japan before? It may be helpful to first sample Chicken Katsu Curry at a local Japanese restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can determine if you prefer chicken thigh or pork loin, what vegetables to serve in the curry sauce and other side dishes to serve at the table.
In Toronto, popular Japanese restaurants in Yorkville, King West and Ossington that may serve an authentic Japanese Katsu Curry recipe include Sara, Fuwa Fuwa, Benihana, Hapa Izakaya, Koyoi, Kingyo, Santouka Ramen, Japango, Sushi Inn, Okonomi House and Kasa Moto.
My Family Loves This Japanese Katsu Curry Recipe
I love cooking delicious dishes inspired by my travels for friends and family.
After returning from a road trip of Japan I was excited to cook my new favourite dish, Chicken Curry Katsu.
Typically whenever my family dine at a Japanese restaurant for dinner I order up all the sushi and my dad eats a massive plate of grilled meat like yakitori or teriyaki, all to himself.
I knew my parents would enjoy this homemade Japanese Katus Curry recipe as they love crispy cutlets, velvety curry sauces and crunchy cabbage slaw.
We love preparing this dish whenever chicken thighs are on sale at the grocery store, or when friends are coming over for dinner as much of the meal can be prepared in advance.
Curry Katsu is particularly popular with picky kids as the breaded cutlet tastes similar to chicken fingers. If you double the recipe leftovers make for a great lunch the following day.
Our homemade Japanese Katsu Curry recipe is packed full of wholesome ingredients!
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
An excellent source of vitamin A and the phytochemical beta-carotene, carrots help keep your eyes and bones healthy, and may help protect against several types of cancer.
An excellent source of vitamins K and C, cabbage helps keep your bones, blood, and immune system healthy.
Potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Studies have linked potatoes to a variety of impressive health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, reduced heart disease risk and higher immunity.
Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.
Nearly 50% of the people in the world get over 50% of their daily calories from rice. If eating brown rice featuring nutritious bran you’ll enjoy health benefits like cancer risk reduction and diabetes control.
Japanese Katsu Curry Recipe Cooking Tips
This traditional Chicken Curry Katsu recipe is quick and easy to make at home.
- We suggest deep frying the katsu in a large nonstick skillet or wok to reduce oil splatter when cooking.
- We’ve used chicken thighs in this Japanese Katsu Curry recipe but you could substitue for chicken breasts if that’s what you prefer. Be sure to use a meat mallet to pound the breasts so they are sufficiently thin.
- Curry Katsu can also be prepared with pork loin so feel free to substitute the meat based on your preference.
- Japanese Katsu Curry Cubes can be purchased online or at a local Japanese or Asian grocery store.
- Traditional Japanese curry is a thick brown gravy simmered with onions, carrots and potatoes. Feel free to get creative and add other veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans or sweet potato.
- We like to serve Japanese Katsu Curry with Quick Pickled Carrots and Cabbage, a deliciously crunchy and acidic slaw.
- Feel free to decorate the dish with a sunny-side-up fried egg an chopped cilantro for an eye-popping presentation.
- If you’re hosting a dinner party you can deep fry the katsu and prepare the curry sauce hours in advance. Simply bake or air fryer the cutlets before serving and reheat the curry sauce until simmering.
What Does Katsu Curry Sauce Taste Like?
Katsu curry bears little resemblance to Indian or Thai curry in terms of flavour. It’s a sweeter and richer sauce similar to an American Thanksgiving gravy in appearance.
Tonkatsu sauce is basically Japanese-style BBQ sauce for fried meats. The main ingredients are Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sugar and other seasonings, which give the dish a mouth-watering umami flavour. The taste is very unique, with tartness from the Worcestershire sauce, slightly salty and sweet at the same time.
What To Serve with Tonkatsu
At restaurants in Japan Curry Katsu is typically served with steamed rice, shredded cabbage, pickled vegetables and miso soup.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party or Japanese-inspired potluck you may also like to make:
- Okonomiyaki Japanese Pancakes
- Japanese Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry
- Japanese Vegan Miso Soba Noodles
- Japanese Beef Yaki Udon Noodle Stir Fry
- Japanese Miso Ground Pork Stir Fry
- Air Fryer Dumplings, Potstickers, Gyoza
- Japanese Sake Vodka Sushi Cocktail
You May Also Enjoy These Chicken Recipes…
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How To Make Homemade Japanese Katsu Curry Recipe
Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry
- French knife
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Large pot or Dutch Oven
- Meat Mallet
- Shallow Bowls
Katsu Curry Sauce
- 1 tbsp Canola Oil
- 400 g Onion minced
- 250 g Potato diced
- 100 g Carrot diced
- 4 cubes Japanese Curry
- 800 ml Water
- 4 Skinless and Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Salt and Pepper
- 4 tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 1 Egg beaten
- 1 cup Panko Crumbs
- Canola Oil for deep frying
- 4 cups Steamed Rice
- 1 cup Carrot Cabbage Slaw
Katsu Curry Sauce
- Add oil to a Dutch Oven or large pot and heat over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the potatoes and carrots and stir for 3-4 minutes.
- Add water and turn the heat up to bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 7-8 minutes, or until the vegetable are cooked through.
- Break the Japanese curry cubes into small blocks and add them to the pot. Stir gently to blend into the curry gravy.
- Reduce the heat to low, place a lid on the pot cook for 7-8 minutes or until the curry roux is completely incorporated. Stir occasionally as the curry tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Check the consistency of the sauce. It should be like béchamel sauce. If it's too thick, add more water. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Use a meat mallet to pound the chicken thighs so they are 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place flour, egg and breadcrumbs into separate shallow bowls or plates.
- Working one chicken thigh at a time, coat a fillet with flour, shake off excess, run it through the egg, allow excess to drip off, then transfer to the panko crumbs and cover on all sides. Repeat for all 4 chicken thighs.
- Heat oil in a wok or deep skillet to 350°F. The amount of oil should be about 1¼” deep.
- Gently place a fillet into the hot oil. Depending on the size of the pan, you may fry more than one at a time. Do not over crowd.
- Fry for 3-4 minutes or until the bottom side is browned. Using tongs, flip the fillet and cook for further 3-4 minutes until the other side is crispy.
- Transfer the cutlet onto a tray lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Cut each chicken cutlet into 1” wide strips.
- Place a cup of steamed rice onto one side of a plate. Place a crispy chicken cutlet beside the rice, leaning the slices on the rice so that there will be a space to pour the curry.
- Pour the Japanese Katsu Curry next to the chicken cutlet. Top with carrot cabbage slaw and serve immediately.
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