When you’re trying to straddle the line between comfort food and the lighter side, these Chicken Katsu Bowls will really hit the spot. Perfect for those in-between months like September when you’re not quite ready to fire up the crock pot, these bowls are warm and satisfying without being heavy.
This is one of those meals that’s an easy sell to the whole family. The kids love the chicken finger aspect of the katsu, and the more sophisticated palates appreciate the sweet onion broth and pickled veggies.
What does katsu mean?
The word “katsu” in Japanese actually comes from the English word “cutlet”. And that’s basically what it is. Katsu is Japanese fried chicken, prepared very much like classic chicken cutlets, only with panko breadcrumbs instead of plain breadcrumbs.
Making Perfect Katsu Chicken
- Start with a thin breast of boneless, skinless chicken. You can choose to pound them thin with a mallet, or simply slice a chicken breast in half into two thinner pieces. Many supermarkets already sell chicken breast in thinner slices.
- Fry the chicken over a steady, medium-low heat. If the oil is too hot, the coating will brown or probably burn before the inside is fully cooked. Take your time when you’re frying chicken cutlets so that the inside and outside cook at the same pace.
What’s in these Chicken Katsu Bowls?
There are four basic components to these katsu bowls:
- The panko-coated chicken
- The sticky rice (I recommend sushi rice)
- The onion sauce: it’s brothy, salty and full of umami flavor. It will simmer on the stove while you’re frying the chicken
- The pickled veggies (see below)
How to quickly pickle vegetables
For more Asian-inspired recipes, try these:
For more chicken dinners, try these:
- Honey Mustard Chicken w/ Warm Potato Arugula Salad
- Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- Champagne Chicken with Garlicky Whipped Potatoes
Chicken Katsu Bowls
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced or pounded thin
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 cup scallions diced
- 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
- 4 cups cooked sushi rice
- vegetable oil for frying
The Onion Sauce
- Make the pickled vegetables: Using a vegetable peeler, make long ribbons of the cucumber and carrot. Place the cucumber in a colander and toss with salt. Allow to drain for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the carrots and cucumbers and combine well. Cover and refrigerate.
- Heat the sesame seeds over medium-low heat in a small frying pan. Constantly moving them around, toast the seeds until they start to brown slightly and become fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Make the onion sauce: In a saucepan, combine the chicken broth, onions, 1/2 cup soy sauce, mirin, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, 1 tsp. sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, while you cook the chicken.
- Make the Chicken: Line up 3 shallow bowls. In the first bowl, combine the flour, kosher salt and pepper. Beat the eggs and water in the second bowl. In the third bowl, place the panko bread crumbs. Fill a frying pan with 1/2 inch of vegetable oil and heat to medium. Dredge chicken in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the panko. Fry until chicken is golden brown and easily pierced with a fork, about 7-8 minutes on each side. Remove chicken onto paper towels. Slice into strips.
- Divide the cooked rice among four bowls. Pour onion broth over the rice, then top with chicken strips, pickled vegetables, scallion and toasted sesame seeds.