Mystery Box: Tribute to Chicken Katsu Curry + Apple Slaw

Mystery Box: Tribute to Chicken Katsu Curry + Apple Slaw

 If you follow us on Instagram (@cookwithzing) you'll know we have this new thing where we challenge Zing's head chef to a mystery box challenge and you get to vote on what he'll use. 

For the first box, our Instagram followers selected: chicken (vs. tempeh), apples (vs. bananas), carrots (vs. rutabaga), and rice (vs. Wonder bread). To crank it up a notch, you also only allowed Chef Kiran to use one pan (vs. not allowing him to chop anything!) 

Uncooked carrots, rice, apple, and an uncooked chicken breast on wooden cutting board

With his ingredients, Chef Kiran payed tribute to classic Japanese comfort food: Katsu Curry. Sweet, spicy, crispy and rich, this one always hits the spot. Of course, this is inspired by the flavours of Katsu Curry, but isn't a traditional recipe. 

Although this was a "challenge recipe", the outcome was a total knockout that we will be adding to our rotation!  

P.S. this recipe looks like a lot of work, but it comes together very quickly. You can feel free to leave out certain elements (e.g. slaw!) or speed it up even more using our notes at the bottom. 

Serves 2

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes



For the rice:

    1. First, cook the rice. Heat a heavy bottomed pan (we used a cast-iron) over a high heat. Rinse the rice 2-3 times, until the water runs clear, and drain well. Add 1 tbsp of cooking oil to the pan, and add the rice. Stir occasionally, and cook until parts of the rice are gently browned, around 3-4 minutes. 
    2. Add boiling water. There’s no specific amount of water here, as it will depend on your pan. The general rule of thumb is that you want there to be around ½ an inch of water covering the rice. Bring back to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and let cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the lid, turn the heat to medium, and let the bottom crisp up. If you heated the pan enough at the start, and drained the rice properly, it shouldn’t stick. This is best done by smell, cook it until the rice smells nice and toasty, but not burnt. If you’re nervous, just turn over one corner with a spatula to see. When it’s ready, remove from the pan and add to a bowl and cover until ready to serve. 


    Crispy Crunchy Cast Iron Rice

    For the curry:

    1. Next, cook the curry sauce. Add 2 tbsp of the flour and 2 tbsp of oil to the pan, heat over med-high, and stir constantly with a whisk until brown, but not burnt. Think the colour of peanut butter, that’s how dark you want it. Grate half of the apple and add to the pan, and stir for 30 seconds until they start to brown. Add the turmeric, and cook for a further 30 seconds, and then add the water. Add it slowly while whisking to avoid lumps. Let this cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. If you like the sauce smooth, blend it and return to the pan. To finish, add the Smoki, Mogambo and soy sauce. Remove from the pan, and keep covered until ready to serve. 

    For the katsu: 

    1. Wipe out the pan one last time, and heat over a med-high heat again. While that heats, prepare your chicken. Cut the chicken breast in half across the middle. Cover both halves in plastic wrap to make cleaning easier, and using a tenderizer or rolling pin (we used the latter), bash it until it’s around 1cm thick. 
    2. Get 3 plates ready. Add the remaining flour to one, 1 beaten egg plus 2 tbsp water to another, and the breadcrumbs onto the final plate. Season both sides of the chicken breast with the Ooomami, and then add to the flour. Coat on all sides, pat to remove the excess, and then add to the egg. Cover with the egg, and add then add to the Panko until covered completely. Add the remaining oil to the pan, and add the chicken. Now, reduce the heat to medium, and let cook for 3 minutes, until brown and crispy, flip and repeat. 

    For the slaw: 

    1. While the chicken cooks, prepare the slaw. Thinly shred the cabbage, and slice the remaining apple and the carrot into matchsticks. Combine in a bowl, add the salt, vinegar, and Hakka-ish, and set aside.
    To serve, place the rice on the plate, put the chicken on the rice, and spoon over the curry sauce. Serve the slaw on the side. 

    Notes: Since this was a cooking challenge where we could only use one pan to cook everything, that's what we did, but feel free to cook everything in separate pans to be more time efficient. 

    If you want a quicker healthier option, skip the breadcrumbs, cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes, add to the sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes until cooked through.