Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chicken Katsu

Chicken breasts are pounded thin, breaded, quickly pan fried then served with a thick homemade teriyaki sauce. This delicious twist on the traditional Japanese style chicken is weeknight easy and delicious!

We eat a ton of chicken! I think most families do, especially when it's so affordable and versatile. While it surely can get repetitive and boring, it doesn't have to! Anytime you can take inspiration from another country when planning dinner, you have a good chance of your meal tasting anything but boring.

This dish is inspired by the Japanese dish. Though normally served with a tomato based sauce, we absolutely loved the homemade teriyaki sauce. Who knew it was so easy to make at home? The chicken is super thin, crispy, and cooks up fast. The sauce has sweet and salty taste that it downright drinkable. I served it with fried rice (also easy and quick!) for a delicious Asian inspired weeknight meal.

The key to crispy quick cooking chicken is to slice it in half AND pound it thin. Don't sub flour for the cornstarch - it lends a super crispy texture you can't get from flour.

Chicken Katsu
For the chicken:
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup vegetable oil for frying

For the teriyaki sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Place the cornstarch in a shallow bowl, the beaten eggs in another shallow bowl, and the panko breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl.

Slice each chicken breast in half (creating 2 thin chicken breasts pieces) and pound to 1/2-1/4-inch thickness. Blot dry with paper towels and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Dredge each chicken piece in cornstarch, then dip in the beaten egg, and finally coat with panko breadcrumbs. Place breaded pieces in single layer on a wire rack set over baking sheet and allow coating to dry about 5 minutes. 

Heat 1/2 cup oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 1/2 minutes. Add the coated chicken pieces in a skillet and fry until deep golden brown and crisp on first side, about 2 1/2 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook until the meat feels firm when pressed gently and second side is deep golden brown and crisp, about 2 1/2 minutes longer. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and put in the oven to keep warm.

Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a saucepan over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch until no lumps remain and then whisk it into the sauce in the saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup. 

Serve chicken with teriyaki sauce drizzled over top or on the side. 

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