Katsu curry: crazy Japanese, French, Indian hybrid of a dish. Panko coated, pan fried escallops of anything you could possibly imagine: beef, pork, chicken, Tofu, veggies, and in our case, cauliflower.
Smothered in a velvety blanket of sweet, savoury, spicy and creamy curry sauce. Think of curry sauce on chips…think of a creamy Korma…think of that classic school dinner curry from the 1980s: foods that comfort you to the core. This is that.
We happen to have made a vegan/gluten free version here but this can easily be vegetarian or include meat. The choice is for you to make, every time you make it. And make it you will, time and time again.
A whole host of store cupboard ingredients combine to make a fab weekday dinner, a Wagamama recreation or a starter for a datenight at home.
This is our version of a Japanese classic: Katsu curry:
For the Katsu:
- 1 large cauliflower
- Panko crumbs (we actually used leftover sourdough crumbs this time)
- sunflower oil to fry
- spice seasoning of your choice (we found a cute little pot of Schichimi Togarashi. A Japanese seven spice blend with seaweed, orange peel and sesame seeds)
- Aquafaba (tinned chickpea water)
We’ve used aquafaba instead of the classic egg in our pané process. (Told you it was a bit French). It’s worth mentioning that aquafaba is a little less sticky than egg but did tick a lot of boxes: used a ‘waste’ product; made the dish vegan, store cupboard ingredient, and, most importantly it did stick the crumbs onto the cauliflower. Egg replacer could also be used to help the coating stick.
Another point of note is that a cauliflower does not slice up with zero wastage. What do we do with the left over odd florets and leaves? Well, watch this space for Bang Bang Cauliflower and cauliflower leaf soup!
Now for the Curry sauce:
Hmm, now what on earth did we actually put in there? Copious internet research presents many many many recipes. So many. Our biggest inspirations were:
Essentially this is a French roux based sauce, but with coconut milk as the liquid and Indian curry powder to flavour. Made by the Japanese.
Core common ingredients are as follows:
- 2 carrots
- an onion
- 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- a thumb sized piece of ginger
- turmeric (we used 2cm grated fresh but 1/2 tsp powdered would work)
- flour (we used cornflour to keep this GF)
- curry powder (pick a GF brand like Sharwoods)
- 500 ml veggie stock: homemade, cubes, low salt, GF, up to you
And further ingredients that we have selected to make our sauce our own:
- 1 can of coconut milk (we used light)
- soy sauce to taste (use GF if you want) about 50mls
- honey: to taste. About 2 tbsp
- 1 teaspoon of garam masala (beware gluten can lurk in spice blends)
- 2 fresh red chillies
- 1 tsp your fave chilli flakes, not too hot
- 2 curry leaves
Bubble the sauce until the veggies are soft and the spices cooked out. Remove curry leaves and blitz the whole dang thing.
Return to the pan and simmer, reduce until it is the thickness you like. It should coat the breaded katsu, not too thin. This is why we like to keep the veggies in the mix, rather than strain them out like some other recipes do.
Add honey and soy to adjust the seasoning to your liking.
And there you have it, our Cauliflower Katsu Curry (Vegan and Gluten Free)
Serve with plain boiled sticky rice and a cheeky pickled salad.