Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Easy Japanese Fish Katsu Curry with Rice

WARNING: This recipe will offend food snobs everywhere.

Today's recipe is inspired by Wagamama (a chain of Japanese-themed cafes), who serve a breaded chicken breast with a katsu curry sauce over rice. I have since discovered that the sauce in question (or one that tastes suspiciously similar to it) can be bought in any Asian cash and carry grocers and it is, perhaps unsurprisingly, called 'Chinese curry sauce', rather than the Japanese sauce it is supposed to be - see the picture below.

Hardly Japanese and hardly home-made. Sorry Wagamama, you're busted.

Instead of chicken, I use a frozen breaded haddock fillet instead, not just because of my new 'meat in moderation' mishigas, but because breaded fish is DELICIOUS! I would eat it every day (in a plastic basket with chips and tartare sauce with a parsley and lemon wedge garnish. And a pint of Stella, naturally.) if I could, but then after a week I would probably hate the sight of it. If you haven't got haddock, you could even use frozen fish fingers - don't laugh, you snob, they are almost equally as delish as a whole fish fillet.

I know this recipe ain't actually haute cuisine, but it's not supposed to be. It's a stop-gap to discourage you from resorting to fast food places, and encourage you to eat cheaply, healthily and easily at home instead - as I did yesterday in front of the TV. Last night I prepared this whole dinner in the 15 minute half-time break in England's opening game against France, at Euro 2012.

By the way, did you see England play? They were brilliant. Even though the score ended 1-1, the French team, former world champions and considered by many to be this tournament's favourite team, were pegged right back. Our defence looked (almost) impregnable. It would be ironic if our new coach, Roy Hodgson, the cheapest England manager in years, might end up as one of the greats (but what a savage indictment of our domestic team, when a draw excites us to this degree).

Back to the recipe: I serve this dish with some steamed pak choi sprinkled with sesame seeds to give the meal a bit of green stuff; but Wagamama serve Japanese pickled vegetables with their katsu instead. I think steamed veg is better.

Morrison's supermarkets sell four large breaded haddock (or cod, if you fancy) fillets for a fiver. Unbeatable value, which means that this entire dish, including the pak choi, comes in at a fantastically cheap £2.50 per serving. About a quarter of the price of the Wagamama chicken katsu - and in my opinion healthier and more delicious (and in front of the TV while England manages to not lose to France). What's not to like?

Serves 2


2 frozen large breaded haddock fillets (or fresh - no-one's stopping you)
2 tablespoons of Chinese curry sauce concentrate
200ml water
2 large pak choi, split into two pieces each
300g cooked basmati rice
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Bake the haddock fillets, as per the instructions on the box (if fresh, then it's 200c for 20 minutes). In a saucepan, make the sauce by combining the concentrate with the water and boiling until reduced to the consistency of thick cream. In a colander over the saucepan, steam the pak choi for 5 minutes, until tender. Place a mound of rice on each plate and top with a cooked fish fillet, Smother in the sauce and serve with the pak choi on the side. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the veg.

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