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When craving homemade Japanese cuisine minus the commitment to oil dunked chicken, try air fryer chicken katsu. Providing the same juicy depth as normal fried chicken, with a crisp and tender exterior, enough to have you drooling in anticipation. With not having to worry about excess oil dripping off of your chicken, it really does not get any better than this.
Table of Contents
What is Chicken Katsu?
Katsu is a Japanese dish consisting of cutlets drenched in flour, egg, panko, and then fried. Commonly made with chicken or pork, it’s normally served with a fruity and tangy katsu sauce, rice and finely shredded cabbage. The meat is juicy and tender, and the outside is wonderfully golden and crispy. The perfect comfort food.
What is Japanese Curry?
Japanese curry has a thicker consistency that typically includes a protein, onions, carrots, and potatoes. It comes in varying levels of spiciness, with a sauce that resembles the thickness of gravy, making it the perfect candidate for some plain boiled rice. Thinner curries make Japanese rice lose it’s stickiness which is quite undesirable.
Japanese Chicken Katsu
While it’s great to enjoy a dish placed in front of you, it’s also important to know the origins of that dish. With every great dish having an incredible story behind it, one that will have many appreciating it’s taste and textures even more. The term katsu generally refers to a fried meat cutlet or seafood that is the essence of comfort foods in Japan. It is made with panko bread crumbs which are flaky as well. In Japan katsu is quite popular amongst people from different ages, from children to adults.
The katsu dish comes in many varieties, including chicken katsu. It is a boneless chicken crusted with panko crumbs and deep fried. Some people prefer to have their chicken katsu made out of chicken breast, whilst others enjoy the tender juiciness of the chicken thigh instead. Chicken katsu is incredibly satisfying, and is a great treat that can be served alongside some finely shredded cabbage, with thick katsu sauce and a distinct Japanese curry. Serve these over piping hot plain rice or as part of a sandwich.
Is Air Fried Chicken Katsu Easy To Make?
The air fryer cooked Japanese katsu chicken is very easy to make and only requires 7 ingredients. You need to butterfly your chicken, tenderise it with the back of your knife until its flattened, then coat it in corn starch, dredge it in whisked egg, and generously coat it in panko bread crumbs. Transfer it into an air fryer, or brush some oil over your chicken and air fry it at 350 degrees. If you have a smaller air fryer, you might want to air fry them one at a time, for ultra crispiness.
Air Fried Chicken Katsu
We all love a bit of deep fried food, but who loves the grease marks that skid along the kitchen counter tops, and stove, beckoning you to come get your hands dirty? Typically chicken katsu is deep fried in plenty of oil until it’s crispy and golden brown. Air fried chicken katsu is no different to the deep fried version apart from the fact that it is much healthier, than having excess oil dripping off your crispy chicken. Trust me, you won’t find yourself missing the deep friend version. If you don’t have an air fryer, don’t fret. Just place the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway.
How To Get Extra Crispy Katsu?
The secret to getting perfectly crispy and golden brown is by toasting the panko beforehand. In a pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, toss the panko in the oil for a couple of minutes until it turns golden brown. This is what you’ll cover your chicken cutlets in before air frying them. It gives the katsu chicken a beautiful toasty flavour, with an extra crunch, and golden colours painted over the chicken.
How To Eat Chicken Katsu?
After the chicken katsu is cooked, you’ll chop the chicken into manageable bite sized pieces. You can serve it over steamed rice with katsu sauce. But katsu is quite versatile which means that you can have it served as a sandwich, over Japanese curry, or with dashi eggs, these are also incredibly tasty. All the more reason for you to get making chicken katsu, and experiment with these different dishes.
What You’ll Need For This Recipe
It’s important to collect all your ingredients and equipment needed before planning to cook a meal, this can essentially avoid any mini panic attacks when you’re trying to find a particular kitchen utensil while you have a large pot of stew threatening to bubble over, if it is not stirred immediately! Thankfully we have outlined the things you’ll need for this recipe below:
- Air Fryer
- All-Purpose Flour
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- Katsu Sauce
- Onion, Potato, Garlic, Carrot
- Apple & Honey
- Chicken Broth
Instead of deep frying the chicken cutlets, why not opt for a healthier option. You’ll achieve the same results, with crispy, tender chicken satisfying your cravings in no time, minus the excessive oil seeping out of the chicken. No leftover grease marring your kitchen counters, just pristine golden chicken cutlets, waiting to fill your belly.
You can use chicken breast or chicken thigh for this recipe, you might prefer chicken thighs to breast because of the natural tenderness that is simply irresistible.
This seals in the chicken, preventing it from being tough. Using all-purpose flour is the perfect choice, as it can withstand heat.
This is a great element in binding the flour and panko bread crumbs to the chicken.
Panko Bread Crumbs
Panko is a Japanese bread crumb made from pristine white bread. The panko flaked are much larger than bread crumbs, and they provide a light and airy texture giving the chicken cutlets, a delectable finish.
This tangy sauce is made from fruit, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Some might compare it to BBQ sauce. If you don’t want to use Katsu sauce, try Japanese curry instead, you’ll find its thick heartiness quite satisfying with every bite. You can find these at any Asian store or online.
Onion, Potato, Garlic, Carrot
These are the most common vegetables used in Japanese curry. You don’t have to go for the potatoes and carrots if you prefer a much simpler curry.
Apple & Honey
The combination of apple and honey, are what tie the elements of the curry together. Bringing out a subtle sweetness that creates a clear distinction between Japanese curry and other curries.
The chicken broth acts as an extension of flavours to the curry, you don’t have to use chicken broth, instead water will work perfectly.
How To Make Chicken Katsu in the Air Fryer?
Cooking chicken Katsu using an air fryer means less work for you and more time preparing the table. A meal that will taste equally as amazing as chicken cutlets that had been deep fried to perfection, excluding the excessive grease, that would need blotting with thick paper towels. Let’s take a look at how you would make this terrific chicken katsu curry:
Making Katsu Curry
- Using a meat tenderiser, pound the chicken until the thickness of the chicken is even. If you have a large chicken breast or thigh, slice the chicken in about 1/2 inch thick slices. Blot the chicken with a paper towel, then generously season it with some salt and pepper, setting it aside.
- Add the panko crumbs into a frying pan on medium low heat and gently toss until they’re medium brown, then transfer it to a flat bowl or tray.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk the eggs. In a separate bowl, add the flour.
- First, dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess, then dip the chicken into the eggs and let the excess drip off. Lastly coat the chicken in panko crumbs removing any stray crumbs.
- Preheat the air fryer to 330 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the chicken for 7 minutes. Then increase the heat to 380 degrees and flip the chicken, cooking for 4 minutes. The time might vary depending on how large the cut chicken are. You can test how far they’re done, by slicing them slightly to see if the chicken is pink on the inside.
- Slice the chicken into 1 inch cutlets.
Make the Japanese Curry
- Peel and dice the potato and carrots into 1 inch thick pieces. Soak the potato in water for about 10 minutes to remove excess starch. Peel and wedge cut the onions. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a grater, grate the apple and set it aside.
- In a medium pot over medium high heat, pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pot and sauté the onions and garlic until they release a potent fragrance, or until they’re transparent.
- When the onions are translucent, add carrots and enough oil to coat the carrots mixing thoroughly. Cook on medium high heat for about 2 minutes.
- Add the potato and enough oil to coat the potato, mix thoroughly and cook on medium high for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock, honey and grated apple. Bring the pot to a boil then turn the heat down allowing it to simmer until the potatoes and carrots are soft. Cover the pot, preventing moisture from escaping.
- Turn off the heat, scoop about 1 ladle of liquid and pour it into a separate sauce pan. Break apart solid cubes of curry roux and add it to this saucepan, stir until its dissolved.
- Add the roux back to the first pot with the vegetables and mix to combine. Let it simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir this mixture every now and then to achieve impeccable results.
- Serve with your cooked chicken katsu and rice.
Useful Tips for Making Katsu Chicken
- For healthier chicken katsu, use ultimately fresh chicken breast, but for tastier and juicier chicken katsu use chicken thighs, as this meat is very forgiving, even when overcooked slightly.
- Tenderise the meat using the back of your knife.
- Generously coat your chicken in starch, egg, and panko. The thicker the layers of each, the crispier your chicken will be.
- Spray or brush some oil over your chicken. Spraying will ensure that the panko does not fall off of the chicken before it is placed in the air fryer. You wouldn’t want the panko to scatter.
- Air fry for 9 minutes on both sides, spraying more oil when you flip it over.
- If your chicken pieces are much smaller, then air fry them for 7 minutes on each side, or you will overcook it.
What Kind of Chicken Can I Use?
Skinless boneless breast, or thigh will work just fine. Breast is healthier but tends to be much drier than chicken thigh. Chicken thighs are juicier, providing the perfect texture needed to satisfy that gnawing craving you’ve carried around for the entire week.
What to Serve With Chicken Katsu?
Chicken Katsu, served with a thick drizzle of Japanese curry and plain boiled rice, might be enough to satisfy the gaping hole in your stomach, but wouldn’t you want to make this already delicious meal, even more delicious with some incredible sides? Let’s get into it:
- Fried Egg
- Udon Noodles
- Crusty bread
- French Fries
- Katsu Sandwich
You can never go wrong with a bit of fried egg, with a runny yolk that’ll drench your chicken katsu with creamy, velvety flavours. Flavours that you can chase away with some tremendous rice, or munch the eggs and chicken katsu with a little Japanese curry to elevate those tender, juicy flavours wonderfully.
Instead of the classic boiled rice with chicken katsu, why not serve this crispy chicken and Japanese curry combination with some thick udon noodles instead. Let the flavours of the curry seep into the tube like noodles, scoop up some chicken and enjoy!
Break apart the crispy, tender and juicy chicken, into small bite-sized pieces, ready to toss over your favourite bowl of salad. Hear the crunch of some greens paired with the crispy chicken, with flavours that melt in your mouth, taking you on a quick trip to heaven and back, over and over, till your stomach is ready to burst.
Crusty bread, and crispy chicken, are undeniably brilliant combinations. You can drizzle a little thick Japanese curry over the top of your freshly fried chicken katsu, allowing your tender, but crusty bread to soak up the flavours of the curry, and scoop up a little chicken popping it into your mouth quickly.
You can never go wrong when there’s a bit of fries added to the menu. Especially with crispy, tender chicken like chicken katsu. You can serve this as a side to have with your chicken katsu curry and rice, or simply serve some chips with your freshly air fried chicken cutlets, waiting to be devoured, with or without the accompaniment of freshly fried potatoes.
You’ve had fried chicken sandwich, so why not try freshly fried chicken katsu sandwich. With an elevated crunch, and countless textures that will have you bringing the sandwich back to your mouth several times, before hurrying to grab another piece. An irresistible dish like chicken katsu, should definitely come with a warning sign!
Air fried or not, there’s no denying the natural comfort that emanates from this tender, yet juicy chicken katsu recipe. Serving this crispy chicken with some white rice, drizzling the chicken in thick, hot Japanese sauce, is enough to make any food lover faint. Whether you enjoy this the traditional way or prefer a little adventure, chicken katsu won’t disappoint.