Chicken Katsu (Japanese Breaded Chicken)

Here is a first! I have never made fried chicken before. It has always made me nervous. Worries about greasy meat, dried out insides, the coating not staying as I fry it, not cooking the chicken all the way through and yet burning the coating…it just seemed too difficult. Then I came across a recipe which takes fried chicken leftovers and remakes it, embracing the way the coating gets a bit soggy in leftover form, and it keeps the leftover chicken from being dry. Since K doesn’t always enjoy leftovers, I figured this was a way of making one thing, and then being able to enjoy it a different way that was still fairly simple. Plus, he loves fried chicken and rice.

So, this might not be American fried chicken, but it didn’t matter to me. This was a hit with our family and definitely one I would make again. Using the Dutch oven made it not too messy either. I did need to wipe down the cooktop and surrounding countertop because of some oil spray, but it wasn’t much considering all of the chicken I fried. I also was pleased that it only used 4 cups (I thought it would need much more) and made it through 3 batches. It felt less wasteful than I expected. All in all, a winning recipe.

Directions for Chicken Katsu

Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness, or sliced to be around that thickness (the option I chose)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 ounces flour (I was magically out of AP flour and subbed bread flour, no problem)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 ounces panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil (I used canola, and my pot required about 4 cups)

Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Place them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours to rest.

When ready, make 1 bowl of flour, 1 for the eggs, and 1 for the panko. With one piece of meat at a time, dredge it in the flour with your left hand, shaking off the extra. Place it in the egg dish, then use your right hand to turn the meat and coat both sides. Allow the excess egg to slide off, then use your right hand to place it in the bread crumb mixture. Use your left hand to scoop some panko on top of the meat, then turn it to have it well crusted. Place the meat on a separate plate, and repeat with the remaining meat. This process keeps your hands from getting goopy.

While you are breading the chicken, you can preheat the oil. I used a Dutch oven and filled the pot to about 1/2 inch with oil. Heat it over medium-high heat until it registers 350 degrees F on a thermometer.

Use tongs to lower the meat into the oil, laying them away from your to prevent oil splashes. Only do one layer of meat, so work in batches as necessary (I needed 3 batches). Rotate the cutlets as necessary for even browning (I did this after the initial flippings). At this point you want the oil to register around 325 degrees F. When the bottom coating is set, about 1.5 minutes, flip the pieces of chicken, and fry the other size, another 1.5 minutes. Then, continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the meat is cooked through (165 degrees F).

Transfer the meat to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and sprinkle with salt immediately. Continue with your remaining chicken pieces.

Serve with tonkatsu sauce, shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, rice, and/or Japanese pickles. For a tonkatsu recipe, read below.

Tonkatsu Sauce

Slightly adapted from Serious Eats

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Stir everything together and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Directions for Chicken Katsu (without pictures)

Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness, or sliced to be around that thickness (the option I chose)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 ounces flour (I was magically out of AP flour and subbed bread flour, no problem)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 ounces panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil (I used canola, and my pot required about 4 cups)

Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Place them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours to rest.

When ready, make 1 bowl of flour, 1 for the eggs, and 1 for the panko. With one piece of meat at a time, dredge it in the flour with your left hand, shaking off the extra. Place it in the egg dish, then use your right hand to turn the meat and coat both sides. Allow the excess egg to slide off, then use your right hand to place it in the bread crumb mixture. Use your left hand to scoop some panko on top of the meat, then turn it to have it well crusted. Place the meat on a separate plate, and repeat with the remaining meat. This process keeps your hands from getting goopy.

While you are breading the chicken, you can preheat the oil. I used a Dutch oven and filled the pot to about 1/2 inch with oil. Heat it over medium-high heat until it registers 350 degrees F on a thermometer.

Use tongs to lower the meat into the oil, laying them away from your to prevent oil splashes. Only do one layer of meat, so work in batches as necessary (I needed 3 batches). Rotate the cutlets as necessary for even browning (I did this after the initial flippings). At this point you want the oil to register around 325 degrees F. When the bottom coating is set, about 1.5 minutes, flip the pieces of chicken, and fry the other size, another 1.5 minutes. Then, continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the meat is cooked through (165 degrees F).

Transfer the meat to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and sprinkle with salt immediately. Continue with your remaining chicken pieces.

Serve with tonkatsu sauce, shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, rice, and/or Japanese pickles. For a tonkatsu recipe, read below.

Tonkatsu Sauce

Slightly adapted from Serious Eats

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Stir everything together and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

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