If you’re not yet hooked on Katsu curry, be warned – you soon will be. Prepare to replace your sashimi and nigiri with a hot steaming portion of Katsu every time you order from your favourite sushi takeaway in London. You’ll forget you even liked raw fish in the first place, trust us….
What’s so cracking about Katsu?
This Japanese take on curry is uniquely indulgent. What makes Katsu different from any other Japanese (or worldwide) curry is the preparation of the meat. Meat in Katsu is first breaded in Panko breadcrumbs, then fried, then slathered in a rich curry sauce and served with sticky rice. It’s not a dish you should eat every day but, when you want a tasty treat, this divine curry is an excellent choice. No wonder it’s so popular.
Where does Katsu come from?
Katsu may be a Japanese delicacy, but its origins begin in India. When the classic Indian curry became a hit with British colonialists, it wasn’t long before the British Empire introduced their new favourite exotic meal to their Japanese connections. Known as kare in Japan, curry is now a favourite Japanese dish, but it’s very different from the Indian variety…
What’s in a Katsu curry?
Unlike its Indian ancestors, kare in Japan is seldom particularly spicy. That makes katsu kare a great choice for those of you who steer clear of the wasabi in your London sushi delivery and avoid the jalapeños in your nachos like landmines.
Instead, Japanese curry (Katsu included) is thicker, creamier and much, much less spicy. This is largely because, when the British brought curry to Japan, it came in the form of curry powder – not a mouth-searing fresh chilli in sight.
Unlike Indian and Thai curries, Japanese curries do not come in red, green and yellow. Instead curries are categorised as mild, medium hot and hot. To turn any Japanese curry into a Katsu curry, a main breaded, fried main ingredient is added just before serving to make sure it stays scrummily crispy!
How is Katsu made?
This iconic Japanese curry typically starts off with a sort of curry roux. This is a thick paste made by frying oil, flour and curry powder together. Once the roux has been made , it is then added to a stew of vegetables (usually including mushroom, carrot and potato) then simmered until deliciously thick and flavoursome. In Japan it is common to buy this roux pre-made in a block, ready to become your delicious dinner. Once the curry is ready, it is served poured over the breaded and fried main ingredient on top of a bed of rice.
The star ingredient in your Katsu curry can vary (personally we’re very fond of our own prawn Katsu curry – order a portion with your next sushi delivery in London!). The deep fried, Panko breaded treat can be anything; from chicken and pork to a vegetarian aubergine alternative. If you’re being strictly traditional, a real Japanese katsu kare is usually a breaded pork cutlet.