[Updated 29 June 2021]
Plenty of countries around the world have their own variation of curry, and Japan's version is super distinctive! Thicker and milder than its counterparts in India and the rest of Asia, it's become a much-loved quick and easy meal for locals, with chains like CoCo Ichibanya specialising in the dish. Muslim travellers to Tokyo will have no doubt tried their curry dishes at one of their two halal-certified outlets in Shinjuku and Akihabara. If you're missing the taste of CoCo Ichibanya's delicious curry, you can recreate a fantastic chicken katsu curry right at home with our easy halal Japanese curry recipe.
Ingredients (serves 2)
For the chicken cutlet:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Salt & pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¾ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- Oil for frying
For the curry:
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ½ carrot, diced
- 1 potato, diced
- 500ml cups of chicken stock
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 100g Japanese curry roux (about 1 - 1.5 blocks, depending on your brand of curry cubes. You can find halal-certified Japanese curry roux by the Indonesian brand House on Zairyo (Singapore), Shopee Singapore or Shopee Malaysia. You can also make your own roux - see notes below!)
- ½ tbsp honey
- ½ medium apple, peeled and grated (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Oil for frying
- Cooked Japanese rice, to serve
For the chicken katsu:
- Start by making the chicken katsu. Lay your chicken breasts between two sheets of cling wrap, and pound with a mallet or the back of pan so it gets flattened into an even layer about half an inch thick. Season the chicken on each side with salt and pepper.
- Prepare 3 bowls for your breading station - one bowl filled with flour, one with the beaten eggs, and 0ne with panko crumbs.
- Dredge each chicken breast in the flour, then the eggs, and lastly the panko crumbs.
- Deep-fry until golden brown (or if you prefer a healthier option, air-fry them!).
- Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
For the Japanese curry:
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium heat.
- Add the diced onion and stir-fry until translucent.
- Add the garlic and stir-fry for another minute, then add the carrots and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, grated apple (if using), honey and mix well. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the diced potato, and continue to let it simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and tender to your liking (about 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes).
- Once the potatoes are tender, add the Japanese curry roux.
- After the rue has melted, add the Worcestershire sauce and stir through thoroughly. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Ladle into a bowl filled with rice. Cut a chicken katsu into strips and serve on top.
- Most CoCo Ichibanya copycat recipes use Japanese curry cubes from the brand S&B (i.e. Golden Curry). However, most Golden Curry products are not halal as they contain animal-derived ingredients (with the exception of the green label variation that is free from animal-derived ingredients), we've opted to use the House brand of Japanese curry that's halal-certified and available online ?
- You can also make your own Japanese roux from scratch - it's not that difficult! Check out this recipe from Just One Cookbook.
- Add chilli powder or cayenne pepper to adjust the spice level to your liking.
- Not in the mood to make your own chicken katsu? You'll find readymade chicken katsu in the freezer section at the supermarket for a much quicker alternative. You can also opt-out of the katsu and incorporate chicken into your curry directly - just use 150g of raw diced chicken. When cooking, after stir-frying the onions and garlic, add the diced chicken, season with salt and pepper, and stir-fry until it gets cooked through. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe as written above.
- Feel free to get creative and add other toppings like the kind you'd find at CoCo Ichibanya! From slide sausage to cheese, corn and much more, once you get the curry sauce down, the world's your oyster ?
Making a bowl of warm, hearty curry and chicken katsu will no doubt hit spot. Take yourself back to your Tokyo trip and recreate this CoCo Ichibanya-style curry for a delicious meal!