Lately I’ve been existing mostly on Marks and Spencer Cheese and Onion Twists. Life got pretty busy and I’ve ended up spending a lot of time out of the house at meetings, and they’re cheap and relatively filling, so I don’t feel too terrible about it. Although admittedly, that much pastry can’t be a good thing in the long run.
All that said, though, when things calmed down a bit, the first thing that I wanted to do was cook something. More than anything else, I find that cooking calms my brain. It’s good for the soul.
My first attempt was to try and cook a soufflé out of Prue Leith’s cookery course.
I’ll write it up in a week or so – again, when things get quieter. But you don’t want to know how not to make a soufflé, do you, so I might try and crack it before I do.
Anyway, though, tonight I made this – Chicken Katsu. I first had it at a branch of Wagamama a while back as a friend of mine swore it was delicious, and the menu at Wagamama is pretty daunting anyway so I took his word for it. He wasn’t wrong. (Although admittedly, I’ve not been back to Wagamama since, but if I did I’d order this again.)
This is a knock-off version, apparently from a book called Cook Yourself Thin, but I just found it on the Channel 4 website instead and cooked it tonight, and it was wonderful – rich, flavoursome sauce and crunchy chicken. I particularly liked breading my chicken with cornflakes, too, something I’d do again, as it gave a good crunch.
So all in all, it was pretty good for the soul, all things considered. Here’s how to do it.
This serves 4.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into thin slices
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp medium curry powder
- 600ml chicken stock
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 bay leaf (I didn’t bother, as I didn’t have any, and I survived)
- ½ tsp garam masala
- Salt and pepper
- 4 x 100g chicken breasts
- 100g flour, seasoned with lots of salt and pepper
- 1 free-range egg, beaten lightly
- 120g cornflakes, bashed in a pestle and mortar
- Olive oil
So. Chop up your onion, garlic and carrots and then start off with the sauce – sauté your onion and garlic in a saucepan for 2 minutes, then add the carrot pieces and cook slowly for 10 minutes, with the lid on, giving the odd stir occasionally. Apparently you want to sweat the vegetables until softened and starting to caramelize, but I’d expect this to take way longer than 10 minutes – basically you just want some of the onion and garlic flavours really.
Next, stir in the flour and curry powder and cook them for a minute, and then slowly pour in the chicken stock bit by bit until combined (do it slowly to avoid getting lumps). Add the honey, soy and bay leaf then bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes. The sauce will have thickened and taken on all of the flavours, although you still need it to have a pouring consistency. Add the garam masala, salt and pepper, and then you could pass the sauce through a sieve if you want, though I preferred to keep the vegetables in.
Now get on with the chicken. Put your seasoned flour, egg and cornflakes on separate plates, and then coat the chicken breasts first in flour, then egg and finally cornflakes. Add a bit of olive oil then put in the hot oven for 12-15 minutes. Slice the chicken diagonally then serve it with rice. Happy days!