April 24, 2016 — Family Food
‘This Japanese classic has become a favourite in the WDC house, because it’s warming, filling and just totally delicious… you could say, moreish! But it’s also really simple. I’ve made it plenty of times back in uni and at home.’
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360g sushi rice
500ml cold water
4 chicken breast fillets
2 x individual Japanese curry blocks mild, medium or hot (S&B Golden Curry)
400g waxy potatoes
1 large onion
2 large carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 bay leaves
4 cm piece of ginger
1 chopped green chilli (optional)
500 ml chicken stock plus 250ml water
Milk, eggs, flour and panko breadcrumbs for coating chicken
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Chicken Katsu Curry – a timeless classic
When Wagamama opened in Wigmore Street, I would often pop-in for lunch. You may think this a rather extravagant indulgence for a simple midday meal, but judging by the daily queues one could be forgiven for thinking that the place was no more than a staff canteen. Besides, I was on a mission to understand the new trendy food being offered. Queues, however, do normally indicate that lunch will not be a quick affair, but with Wagamama’s automated and efficient method of seating, ordering, cooking and serving it was possible to have lunch and return to the office within an hour. Wagamama also made it easy for eating on one’s own – the overly democratic benches did at least allow for comfortable anonymity.
On my first visit I had a bowl of rice and a gyoza starter and a juice. On subsequent visits, I noticed that just about everybody was ordering a bowl of endamame beans with their meal. So I did too. Then I noticed that about half the customers were eating big bowls of soup: ramen. So I started to order this… The other popular and distinctive meal being served was a plate filled with a large mound of rice in the shape of half a cacao bean smothered in a grey brown sauce and served with what looked like tasty fried chicken. Ah, chicken katsu curry.
How clever of Wagamama to take four Japanese staples and make a million. In the beginning the brand was a little confused – all the blurb was about the super-healthy and nutritious life-style nature of their food. I kept ordering juice and berry smoothies thinking this is what it was about. But it was not. It was about, the long tables and hip waiters, the whizzy handsets and scribbles on your place mat… It was about an exposed kitchen and wok burners with leaping flames – and it was about the name ‘Wagamama’ and the Japanese lingo and all those m’s, y’s, and k’s…
It was also about good food, based on endless variations of Japanese and Asian wok cookery…
But mainly it was about chicken katsu curry.
This is like falling off logs – do try it. Once you do it will become a family favourite. NB: the curry blocks were once my secret weapon in the kitchen – but you can’t expect the retail giant research teams to miss something this good, so the ingredient – once available in Japanese grocers only – it is now widely available.
A perfect winter warmer – Cassoulet!
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An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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