Chicken Katsu and Tonkatsu are two of the dishes that (assuming I’m not craving sushi) I have to get when we go to Japanese restaurants. I don’t often let myself eat fried food, but it’s impossible to resist the lure of crispy, tender, breaded/fried meat (mmmm, pork) smothered in a thick savory-sweet sauce over a giant pile of rice, you know? Impossible! Cannot be done. At least not by me.
Up until now, however, I have never successfully created katsu-anything in my kitchen. I am a terrible fryer. Did you know that if you have the heat on too high your oil starts smoking and everything you put in it burns to a crisp without cooking all the way through? And then you’re left with mostly-raw yet somehow burnt food that’s definitely not edible? Yep. True story.
This batch of chicken katsu turned out great, though! I learned my lesson and set my frying pan over medium/medium-high heat, resisted the urge to flip my meat incessantly, and voila – perfectly cooked, juicy, crunchy chicken breasts that sliced like a dream and tasted awesome. They would have tasted more awesome if my grocery store had tonkatsu sauce in stock, but hey, water under the bridge. Instead, we ate our cutlets with fresh rice and cabbage salad (dressed in a mayo-based sauce), and savored every last bite. Mmm mmm mmmm!
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Oil, for frying (I prefer peanut oil for frying, but canola/vegetable oil are just fine)
- Place your flour, egg (beaten), and breadcrumbs in 3 separate, shallow dishes. Set aside.
- Pound each chicken breast into ½ inch thickness (I alternated between a potato masher and heavy bowl to do this).
- Season chicken on both sides with salt/pepper to taste.
- Using your hands, take one chicken breast and dip it in your flour bowl. Coat both sides with a thin layer of flour, making sure to gently shake off the excess.
- Dip your floured breast into the egg mixture, making sure that every inch of the breast is coated with egg. Allow excess to drip off.
- Dip your wet breast into the panko crumbs. Press down gently and flip/repeat to make sure the entire breast is covered with breadcrumbs. Set aside on a baking sheet or plate.
- Repeat steps 4-6 with the remaining chicken breasts.
- Fill a heavy skillet or frying pan about ¼ inch up the sides with oil. Set skillet on your stove over medium to medium/high heat.
- Once oil is hot (if you drop some flour/egg into the oil it should start bubbling/sizzling like mad), place your chicken breasts into the skillet - how many you cook at a time depends on how large your pan/skillet is. I did mine one at a time.
- Cook chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden-brown.
- Lift cooked chicken out of the skillet and allow to rest on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle without burning yourself, slice it into strips.
- Serve immediately with katsu sauce (optional) over a bowl of rice.
(Slightly adapted from My Kitchen Journey’s recipe)