Light Chicken Katsu Curry
A delightfully light Chicken Katsu Curry, that isn't drowning in sauce, nor is it from a packet. The aim here was to introduce a freshness to the dish, and make it less "stewy". This was done through a range of cooking methods, and bursts of interesting flavours.
For the Sauce
2 Teaspoons Powdered Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Cumin
! Teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1-2 Teaspoons of Dried Chilli Flakes, depending on their heat and your tolerance.
1 Inch thumb of fresh Ginger, peeled and finely minced
4-5 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Small Red Onion, finely sliced
Coriander, stems minced, leaves set aside
2 Vegetable Oxo (bouillon) Cubes
1 Teaspoon of Flour
5 Tablespoons of Mirin
For the Chicken
4 Chicken Thighs, boneless.
Salt and Pepper
1 Large Egg
Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Carrots, peeled and halved length-ways and chopped a cm thick
1 Courgette, chopped (about a cm thick)
4 Shiitake Mushrooms
1 Avocado, sliced
200g Raw Cashews
Juice of One Lime
Lots of ingredients, but a super simple method. In a pestle and mortar put: turmeric, cumin, coriander seeds, cinnamon, chilli, ginger and garlic. Add 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and grind that sucker out until well combined. Don't worry if its a bit chunky, it'll soften.
Add the finely sliced raw onion to a frying pan with a lug of oil, and turn to low-medium heat - just enough for a gentle sizzle. Add the paste from the pestle and mortar and combine well. Gently saute, moving the onion around the pan. Lightly toasting the spice mixture releases aroma and flavour. Add the coriander stems, mix in well, then add the mirin. The mirin is basically sugar, so cook it down until it dries slightly and the onions get a bit sticky. Add 2 cups of water, diffuse those curry flavours throughout then crumble in the two oxo cubes and stir in. Reduce heat, and steadily reduce while working on the next couple of steps.
Rinse 250g of sushi rice well in cold water (about five times, or until the water runs clear). if you're using a rice cooker, cook as per packet instructions with the a dash of salt. If you're going stovetop - my method is filling up the pot with water, covering the rice by about a cm. Add a dash of salt. On the stove on the smallest burner, bring the rice to a boil. Cover with a lid, lower the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for about 20 minutes. Once done, turn the heat off, fluff up the rice quickly with a fork and cover.
Bring a pot of water and a steamer to a boil. Add the carrots and steam until just tender, adding the courgette halfway through the process.
Salt and pepper 1/2 a cup of flour really well, 2 teaspoons of salt and a whole load of pepper. Rub the chicken thighs in the flour- coat them thoroughly. Beat the egg in a bowl, pass the chicken through for a good coating of egg, then roll in breadcrumbs until well-crumbed. Set aside for frying.
In a small frying pan on a medium heat, add the cashews. Toast the cashews, and when you hear them sizzling slight, pour in the lime juice, and toss them around in it with a couple of pinches of salt. Once the lime juice has reduced, and starts to stick and caramelize, they're done. Take of the heat and set them aside for serving.
Rinse the cashew pan, half your shiitake mushrooms and in a little oil and on a low heat, saute cut side down, letting them caramelize. Flip them over once caramelized and continue the process on the other side until cooked.
Fry the chicken in a little oil on a medium heat, about 8-9 minutes a side depending on thickness. Cut the thickest part open to check its properly done.
Take the warm sushi rice, mix with 1/4 cup of 50/50 mirin/rice wine vinegar. Spread 1/2 a cup of that rice onto a sheet of nori leaving about a cm of nori for binding. Place a generous amount of avocado across it's width, and roll (I did mine freehand, it does't need to be crazy tight). Slice with a wet and sharp knife, about 3-4 cm thick, two pieces per person. Form the rest of the rice into table-tennis sized balls.
Time to bring the sauce into it's final thickening stage. If' it's dried up, add 1 cup of water. Mix in 1 tablespoon of flour with cold water until well combined, no lumps. Then, stirring constantly, stir the flour water in, being sure to incorporate it throughout the sauce. On the low heat with constant stirring, it'll thicken to a gravy. Salt to taste.
To serve, put a layer of hot sauce down in a shallow bowl. Place the rice balls and sushi on top, then arrange with slices of katsu and vegetables, lime cashews and finely sliced spring onions. Add japanese soy if you need!