Japanese Katsu Curry

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 21/10/2023 Updated: 28/11/2023
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 1 hour
Japanese katsu curry made with crispy panko breaded chicken served with a sweet, savory and satisfying Japanese curry sauce over a bed of warm rice is the ultimate comfort dish.
Japanese Katsu Curry

Japanese katsu curry made with crispy panko breaded chicken served with a sweet, savory, and satisfying Japanese curry sauce over a bed of warm rice is the ultimate comfort dish.

A plate of Japanese chicken katsu curry with table settings nearby.

Japanese katsu curry features juicy, tender panko-breaded chicken katsu served with a rich, umami-packed, and aromatic curry over a bed of freshly cooked white rice. The chicken is tenderized, coated, and fried to golden perfection. Then, the Japanese curry is made with a premade roux that is naturally sweetened with grated apple and honey.

This chicken katsu curry recipe is one of our favorite Japanese recipes! Chicken katsu curry is the perfect dish to make when you are in the mood for a warm and comforting meal. If you love Japanese katsu curry and are looking for more Japanese cuisine inspiration, check out our omurice, yaki udon, and teriyaki tofu.

What is katsu curry?

Katsu curry is a popular Japanese dish that is made with breaded and fried pieces of either pork or chicken and served with a rich, sweet, and flavorful Japanese curry sauce over a bed of white rice. Katsu curry translates to “cutlet curry.”

The Japanese curry sauce is typically made with a curry roux and then sweetened with apples and honey for a naturally sweeter curry. For a more hearty Japanese curry, potatoes and carrots are also added in for a more balanced meal.

Looking down at a plate of Japanese katsu curry.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are three reasons why you will love this Japanese katsu curry recipe.

  1. Comforting and delicious: Nothing beats the combination of crispy and savory breaded chicken cutlet paired with a rich, aromatic, and sweet Japanese curry sauce.
  2. Easy to make: This chicken katsu curry recipe is really easy to make and can be done in under 1 hour.
  3. Customizable: this katsu curry recipe is easily customizable from swapping the protein to changing up the vegetables in the katsu curry sauce.
A pair of chopsticks holding up a slice of japanese katsu.

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following pieces of kitchen equipment to make this chicken katsu curry recipe.

  • Meat Tenderizer: a meat tenderizer will allow you to create an even thickness and texture in the chicken.
  • Candy Thermometer: frying oil will vary dramatically each time you fry a katsu chicken. The best way to monitor the temperature is by using a candy thermometer so that you can adjust the temperature accordingly.
  • Large deep skillet: Since this katsu chicken will be butterflied, the final product will be pretty large. The best way to fry this crispy chicken is to use a large deep skillet that is wide enough to fit the entire chicken breast and deep enough to safely fry.
  • Wire rack: the best way to maintain the crispiness is to let the chicken katsu cool on a wire rack to prevent it from getting soggy.
  • Medium pot: you will need a medium pot to make the katsu curry sauce.

Ingredients

To make this Japanese katsu curry recipe, you will need the following ingredients that you can find at your local Asian grocery market. I’ve linked all the ingredients that you find online below.

Chicken Katsu

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast: typically Japanese chicken katsu is made with butterflied chicken breast. Make sure to bring the chicken breast to room temperature before frying.
  • Salt and Pepper: salt and pepper season the chicken breast.
  • All-Purpose Flour: regular all-purpose flour absorbs any surface moisture of the chicken.
  • Egg: the egg binds the flour and panko to the chicken creating that beautiful crispy crust.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: panko breadcrumbs are Japanese breadcrumbs that are lighter and crispier than regular breadcrumbs. They are dryer and flakier which allows them to absorb less oil. I do not recommend substituting panko for any other breadcrumbs.
  • Vegetable Oil: I recommend using vegetable oil because it has a high smoke point and is neutral in flavor. Make sure you have enough vegetable oil to cover the Japanese chicken cutlet for even cooking
All the ingredients organized and labeled for making Chicken Katsu.

Japanese Curry

  • Curry Roux: the invention of the instant curry roux was a game changer for making chicken katsu curry at home. This dramatically shortens the time to make Japanese katsu curry at home. Choose your favorite curry roux or my personal favorite Kokumaru curry roux!
  • Onion and garlic: the combination of onion and garlic adds a rich savory aromatic flavor to the katsu curry sauce.
  • Potato and Carrot: these are the most common vegetables used in katsu curry. You can opt out of adding the potato and carrots if you’d like a simpler curry.
  • Apple and Honey: the apple and honey together are the secret ingredients to curry. They are what brings out a subtle form of sweetness that makes Japanese katsu curry so distinct from other curries.
  • Chicken Stock: the chicken stock adds another layer of flavor to the katsu curry sauce. If you don’t have chicken broth at hand you can also use water.
  • Soy Sauce: a touch of soy sauce adds a hint of umami flavor to the katsu curry sauce.
All the ingredients organized and labeled for making Japanese curry.

Substitutions and Additions

This is your chicken katsu curry recipe which means you can make any substitutions or additions that you’d like! I made some recommendations for you below.

Substitutions

  • Curry Roux: you can use any curry roux or even a homemade roux. If you want a spicier chicken katsu curry, you can opt for a spicy curry roux.
  • Protein: instead of chicken, you can alternatively use pork, beef, or even seafood.
  • Vegan Katsu: for a vegan katsu, you can use tofu or vegetables instead of chicken.
  • Vegetables: you can use other vegetables such as sweet potatoes, taro, bell peppers, or green beans, etc.

Additions

  • Shredded Cabbage: add shredded cabbage for more veggies.
  • Pickled Vegetables: pickled vegetables (fukujinzuke) or radishes add a certain brightness and acidity to the chicken katsu curry.

How to Make Japanese Katsu Curry

Here are the instructions on how to make this Japanese katsu curry recipe. This easy weeknight recipe is so warm, delicious, and comforting.

Chicken Katsu

  1. Butterfly the chicken. Butterfly the chicken by slicing the breast horizontally along the long side of the chicken from one side leaving the other intact.
  1. Tenderize and season the chicken. Fold out the chicken, and lightly pound the chicken to tenderize until it is about ½ inch thick then season both sides with salt and pepper.
Tendering a chicken breast with a meat mallet.
  1. Prepare the breading. Prepare three shallow dishes, 1) with flour, 2) with the lightly beaten egg, and 3) with panko bread crumbs.
  2. Coat the chicken. Thoroughly coat both sides of the chicken with flour, then the beaten eggs, and lastly the panko bread crumbs. Shake off any excess between each step and make sure to press on the panko bread crumbs to thoroughly coat the chicken.
  1. Fry. In a medium-sized deep pan, heat up about 1-2 inches of vegetable or any neutral oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 340°F (170°C). Place one coated chicken katsu into the oil and cook for 3 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Cook the chicken until golden brown. Let the chicken cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing it into strips.

Japanese Curry

  1. Prepare the ingredients. Peel and dice the potato and carrot into diced pieces about 1 inch thick. Soak the potato in water for about 10 min to remove excess starch. Peel and wedge cut the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a fine grater, grate the apple. Set aside.
  2. Cook the onion and garlic. In a medium pot over medium heat, add in 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the onion and garlic until lightly browned and fragrant.
Cooking the aromatics for Japanese curry in a sauce pot.
  1. Cook the carrot. When the onions are translucent, add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and carrot. Mix thoroughly. Cook on medium-high for about 2 minutes.
Cooking carrots in a sauce pot to soften them.
  1. Cook the potato. Add the add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the potato. Mix thoroughly. Cook on medium-high for about 2 minutes.
Cooking potatoes and vegetables in a sauce pot.
  1. Add in the chicken stock, water, soy sauce, honey, and apple. Pour in the chicken stock, soy sauce, honey, and grated apple. Bring the pot to a boil then turn down the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.
All the liquid ingredients for Japanese curry being mixed in a sauce pot with vegetables.
  1. Add the roux. Add the curry roux back into the pot with the vegetables and stir gently to blend the curry roux. Simmer on medium-low heat for 15 more minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stirring occasionally.
  1. Serve. Serve the chicken katsu sliced over a bed of rice and a large scoop of Japanese curry.

Tips for the Best Japanese Katsu Curry

  • Tenderize the chicken: This ensures even cooking time for your chicken. Tenderizing the chicken creates an even thickness for more tender and juicy meat.
  • Bring your chicken breast to room temperature. About 30 minutes before cooking the chicken cutlet, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and bring it for a more even cooking.
  • Use a candy thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. I HIGHLY recommend placing a thermometer inside your skillet to monitor the oil temperature at all times. The oil temperature you want to maintain is 340 ºF (170 ºC).
  • Scoop up the fallen panko crumbs. In between each batch of katsu chicken, scoop out the dropped breadcrumbs in the oil to prevent them from burning in the oil and changing the flavor of the oil.
  • Cool on a wire rack. Cool the Japanese chicken cutlet on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes so the excess oil can drip off and prevent the crispy crust from becoming soggy.
  • Cut the carrot and potato into large pieces. The carrot and potato must be cut into decently sized pieces about 1-inch squares. This prevents the carrot and potato from falling apart too quickly.

Storage Instructions

This chicken katsu curry is best served immediately. However, you can store any leftovers with the chicken and curry in separate air-tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheat: Reheat the curry on the stove over medium heat until warm. For the chicken katsu, reheat in the oven or air fryer at 350 degrees F until warm and crispy.

Freeze: you can freeze the Japanese chicken katsu and curry separately in freezer-safe airtight containers. This will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake the frozen chicken katsu on a lined baking sheet in the oven or air fryer at 350ºF (176 ºC) until warm. You will need to defrost the curry in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

What is katsu curry sauce made of?

This katsu curry sauce is made with a combination of a Japanese curry roux, onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots, grated apple, soy sauce, honey, and chicken broth.

What kind of meat is typically used in Japanese katsu curry?

Typically, the most common meat for Japanese katsu curry is pork and chicken. However, you can also use beef, and seafood options as well.

Can you make chicken katsu curry vegetarian or vegan?

Yes! You can swap the chicken out for tofu or vegetables and adapt the curry sauce with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Is this katsu curry recipe spicy?

No, I chose to use a mild Japanese curry roux for this katsu curry recipe. However, you can make it spicy by choosing a spicier roux.

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Japanese Katsu Curry

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Japanese katsu curry made with crispy panko breaded chicken served with a sweet, savory and satisfying Japanese curry sauce over a bed of warm rice is the ultimate comfort dish.
Servings: 4 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Chicken Katsu

Japanese Curry

  • 2 oz Japanese Curry Roux
  • 1 yellow onion wedge cut
  • 1 large russet potato peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup red apple peeled and grated about 1 large apple
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Serve

Instructions

Chicken Katsu

  • Butterfly the chicken. Butterfly the chicken by slicing the breast horizontally along the long side of the chicken from one side leaving the other intact.
  • Tenderize and season the chicken. Fold out the chicken, and lightly pound the chicken to tenderize until it is about ½ inch thick then season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare the breading. Prepare three shallow dishes, 1) with flour, 2) with the lightly beaten egg, and 3) with panko bread crumbs.
  • Coat the chicken. Thoroughly coat both sides of the chicken with flour, then the beaten eggs, and lastly the panko bread crumbs. Shake off any excess between each step and make sure to press on the panko bread crumbs to thoroughly coat the chicken.
  • Fry. In a medium-sized deep pan, heat up about 1-2 inches of vegetable or any neutral oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 340°F or 170°C. Place one coated chicken katsu into the oil and cook for 3 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Cook the chicken until golden brown. Let the chicken cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing it into strips.

Japanese Curry

  • Prepare the ingredients. Peel and dice the potato and carrot into diced pieces about 1 inch thick. Soak the potato in water for about 10 min to remove excess starch. Peel and wedge cut the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a fine grater, grate the apple. Set aside.
  • Cook the onion and garlic. In a medium pot over medium heat, add in 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the onion and garlic until lightly browned and fragrant.
  • Cook the carrot. When the onions are translucent, add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and carrot. Mix thoroughly. Cook on medium-high for about 2 minutes.
  • Cook the potato. Add the add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the potato. Mix thoroughly. Cook on medium-high for about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the chicken stock, water, soy sauce, honey, and apple. Pour in the chicken stock, soy sauce, honey, and grated apple. Bring the pot to a boil then turn down the heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the roux. Add the curry roux back into the pot with the vegetables and stir gently to blend the curry roux. Simmer on medium low heat for 15 more minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stirring occasionally.
  • Serve. Serve the chicken katsu sliced over a bed of rice and a large scoop of Japanese curry.

Notes

  • Tenderize the chicken: This ensures even cooking time for your chicken. Tenderizing the chicken creates an even thickness for a more tender and juicy meat.
  • Bring your chicken breast to room temperature. About 30 minutes before cooking the chicken cutlet, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and bring it for a more even cook.
  • Use a candy thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. I HIGHLY recommend placing a thermometer inside your skillet to monitor the oil temperature at all times. The oil temperature you want to maintain is 340 ºF (170 ºC).
  • Scoop up the fallen panko crumbs. In between each batch of katsu chicken, scoop out the dropped breadcrumbs in the oil to prevent them from burning in the oil and changing the flavor of the oil.
  • Cool on a wire rack. Cool the Japanese chicken cutlet on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes so the excess oil can drip off and prevent the crispy crust from becoming soggy.
  • Cut the carrot and potato into large pieces. It is important that the carrot and potato are cut in decently sized pieces about 1-inch squares. This prevents the carrot and potato from falling apart too quickly.
  • Storage Instructions: Chicken katsu curry is best served immediately. However, you can store any leftovers with the chicken and curry in separate air-tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition:

Calories: 2095kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 184g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 100g | Monounsaturated Fat: 43g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 1282mg | Potassium: 900mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 3040IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg

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