Crispy chicken katsu curry
- If your chicken breasts have skin on them remove it, check the chicken over for sinews etc. and trim them off. Now grab a roll of cling film and a rolling pin. Tear off a large sheet of cling film and lay it on a chopping board. Place the chicken breasts on the cling film leaving a gap in between each.
- Cover over with a second layer of cling film and now using the pin, bash the chicken until it is the same thickness all over and much thinner - about 1cm thick maximum.
- Now crack the eggs into a bowl that is big enough to take the chicken, pop the flour on a plate and the panko on a second one.
- Add the salt and Chinese five spice to the breadcrumbs and mix up to distribute.
- Now dredge the chicken through the flour, coating thoroughly, next through the egg, then through the breadcrumbs giving them a good pat so you get plenty of the crispy crumbs on. Leave to one side and move on to the saucy bit.
- Heat a medium sized sauce pan or deep fry pan to medium on the stove. Add in the coriander seeds, cardamom pods and cumin seeds. Stir about until they are warm and giving off some sensational smells. Tip them into the bowl of a pestle and mortar if you have one, or even better a coffee grinder (not used for coffee!) failing that, use a shatter proof bowl and a rolling pin.
- Add the salt, turmeric and curry powder into the bowl, bash the whole lot to oblivion. It's free anger management and good for the bingo wings.
- Now peel the ginger and grate it, then dice the onion.
- Heat the vegetable oil in whatever saucepan you fancy and add in the onion. Turn it down to medium and stir about a bit until its soft and translucent. Now add in the ginger and cook for a minute more. Now add in the spice mix and heat till fragrant.
- Sniff heartily and add in the tomato purée, cook for 2-3 minutes stirring often. This removes the bitterness from the paste.
- Now add in the sugar and salt. Mix.
- Take your can of coconut milk and shake it like you are Tom Cruise in Cocktail. This loosens all the thick coconut creamy good stuff inside and mixes it about, making it easier to extract from the tin.
- Open the can and add it to the pan with all the other goodies. Stir or whisk vigorously.
- Turn the heat up to get the sauce simmering. Once it is bubbling away turn it down and cook uncovered, stirring often for at least fifteen minutes. This will cook the spices properly and stop them tasting bitter and raw.
- Taste it, season with more salt or sugar if you feel it needs it. If you are happy turn off the heat and leave it to sit for a few minutes while you cook the chicken.
- In a large based heavy bottom sauté or fry pan, add 2/3 inches of oil. Leaving at least the same depth as free space at the top so it doesn't over flow when you bung the chicken in and scare the bejesus out of you.
- Heat the oil until a cube of bread dropped into it browns in around 30 seconds, not super fast, then it's too hot.. If you have a thermometer then 180 Celsius is perfect.
- One at a time, lay the chicken into the pan - always sweep the chicken in away from you, so that if any fat spatters it is not over you but over the back of the pan.
- Allow the first side to gain a luscious brown tan, it should take 3-4 minutes if the heat is right, flip over the chicken and do the same on the second side. Remove the pieces onto a pile of scrunched up kitchen towels to absorb any extra oil. You may have to do this in two or three batches, depending on the size of your pan.
- Now, using a stick or hand blender blitz the curry sauce so it is silky smooth. Re heat if necessary and serve in a jug alongside the chicken and piles of sticky Thai cooked rice.
- Tops any take-away or restaurant version around, a real treat.
- Would also work with pork loin or shoulder chops batted out the same as the chicken or thick slices of aubergine or sweet potato.
- The sauce can be made in advance and reheated.