I grew up eating my mom’s Chinese cooking, but strangely enough have never really explored cooking other Asian cuisines. Sure, I’m familiar with EATING it – in college I lived off discount take-out sushi (discount sushi? Gross, I know, but I loved it), bibimbap, green curry, oyako-don, and other college-priced Asian fare that you can find pretty much everywhere on the streets of Toronto. But cooking non-Chinese Asian food? Meh – I never had much interest. Throwing together a stir-fry was so much easier. Lately though, I’ve become slightly obsessed with Japanese food. With a much anticipated trip to Japan coming up, I’ve been reading up like crazy on ingredients to make mochi, matcha-flavored desserts, proper zaru soba, and more.
Well, I promised more Asian recipes, and here I am delivering on the promise! Chicken katsu is a variation of the Japanese tonkatsu, breaded pork covered with panko bread crumbs and deep-fried, and served with sauce. It’s a family-friendly dish that doesn’t have to be unhealthy – just bake it in the oven instead of deep-frying to cut down on the oil and fat.
The ideal is to use boneless chicken thighs – they are much juicier and more flavorful, in my opinion, than chicken breasts. But I was unable to find boneless thighs at my local supermarket, and being the lazy person I am, I just used boneless chicken breasts. Just don’t overcook them and they won’t be too dry.
For the tonkatsu sauce, I used a mixture of ketchup, dark soy sauce, sugar, and Worchestershire sauce. It tasted pretty good, even if it wasn’t exactly like tonkatsu sauce that you get at a Japanese restaurant.
This was a quick and easy meal – after the breading part, I just stuck the chicken in the toaster oven and let the timer take care of the rest. I served the chicken katsu with some potato salad (just the way my mom makes it) and simply sautéed sugar snap peas.
Chicken Katsu (baked)
2 boneless chicken breasts
¼ cup flour
1 large egg, beaten
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
¼ cup ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 F.
Pat the breasts dry with a paper towel. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour. Then put into a bowl with the beaten egg and turn to coat with egg. Place the panko breadcrumbs on a plate, then coat the chicken with the breadcrumbs, patting to help adhere.
Place the breaded chicken onto a pan and bake for 20 minutes until cooked through (if poked with a sharp knife, juices should run clear, not bloody). If you want the top to brown more, turn on the broiler for the last minute. Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the sauce.
When chicken is ready, let rest for 1 minute, then cut into slices. Drizzle with sauce and serve.
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