Crunchy Katsu Chicken!!
This is an instant family favorite, I promise!!! There are a few specialty ingredients but they can be subbed out and some can be found at larger stores, but definitely at your local Asian market.
First some verbiage, sorry I have things to say before the recipe this time, Katsu in Japanese as a name actually means "victory." In the food world it refers to a fried meat cutlet. Typically, Tonkatsu means a pounded fried pork cutlet, but Katsu has become amalgamated in the West to refer to fried cutlets of any kind and also can be seen in other parts of the world under different names and origins, think schnitzel in Germany for example. But Tonkatsu and Chicken Katsu or Katsu Chicken, has become popular in the US and especially in Hawaiian and Pacific Rim/Isles Cuisine.
Sauce, you can top this with any sauce you like, but a classic tonkatsu sauce can be found at many Asian markets and is akin to a thick Worcestershire sauce with some tomatoey-ness. I sadly did not have any on hand, but I did have okonomiyaki sauce, which is kind of a cousin of Katsu sauce, but used for a different dish (okonomiyaki which is a cabbage based patty with other veggies) topped with its sauce and Japanese mayo and bonito (fish) flakes.
Honestly, I like the okonomiyaki sauce better, it's kind of spicy, a bit thinner and a tad sweeter maybe. If you can't find either, use Ketchup mixed with: soy sauce, brown sugar, and a touch or Worcestershire and a bit of garlic powder.
Okay Okay, the recipe-
2 Chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 eggs beaten
Oil for frying, Canola or peanut. Stop using vegetable oil for frying.
There will be an air fryer recipe at the bottom. :)
Other side dishes
To begin, set your chicken breasts on your counter from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. Don't panic, you won't get sick. You want them to come shake off some of that chill.
After 30 minutes have passed, wash gently in cold water and pat very dry with paper towels. With a larger knife you are going to butterfly the breast open. This sounds hard but I promise it's not. Take your knife firmly in your dominate hand and with the chicken breast flat on your surface put your other hand flat on top. Knife blade-side towards thickest side of the chicken breast, right in the middle of the meat. While pushing down on the chicken to hold it in place, gently wiggle the blade into the meat gently moving forward and back to start cutting the chicken. when you have made it 3/4 way through the chicken remove your hand from the top and open the chicken breast. It should resemble a large heart! You did it!
Now repeat it with the second breast :)
Cover both with saran wrap and take a hammer, meat hammer, or heavy bottomed sauce pan and beat the living hell out of them. Allow the hate, I mean love, to flow through you. Once you have them evenly thinned you are ready!
You will need three vesicles. One for your beaten eggs, flour, and the last for the panko. Take your chicken and pat dry once more with paper towels, BONE DRY people. Now, if your breasts are larger than your cooking surface, which is entirely possible after flattening them out, you should cut them up into larger pieces so they will just fit. Not strips or anything, they will dry out. Just something manageable.
Dip it in the egg, then the flour, then back to egg and BAM into the panko. Press it into the panko (crunch) flip and repeat, pressing the panko into the chicken, cover every nook and cranny. Lay flat on a surface, repeat with second breast.
Let those rest while you get a high-edged skillet with about an inch of oil in it up to medium heat. When the oil is rippling and moving, it's ready. One breast in at a time, or maybe two if you cut them small. They will take about 3-4 minutes per side. Don't over cook. Remember the second side always takes less. They should be 165F inside temperature. Set on a rack to cool, but flip after about 5 minutes or else the oil will still pool in the bottom. Always let your chicken rest at least 3-4 mins before cutting, lets the juices circulate and settle. These are SO CRISPY. You're welcome.
AirFryer- Batter as before. Spray liberally with cooking oil, place in air fryer on 375 for 15mins, flipping halfway. Check that internal temp, let rest 3 mins before slicing.
Serve with my signature fool-proof pressure cooker sticky rice and crispy salad.
You can also serve this over mac and cheese! Top with some chili powder, hot honey, and sriracha. ;-)