Katsu curry is just a variation of Japanese curry with a chicken cutlet on top. I have used a store-bought block of Japanese curry roux which is commonly used in Japanese households. Chicken Cutlet (Japanese version of chicken schnitzel) brings the Japanese curry up to the next level. It’s so delicious and filling.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Japanese curry rice (カレーライス, pronounce it as ‘karē raisu’) is the national home cooking dish. Everyone, particularly children, love it. When Japanese people say ‘having a curry tonight’, it is the Japanese curry that is made from the store-bought block of curry roux.
Ready-made Curry Roux
The most popular store-bought curry roux in Japan is called Vermont Curry. It is one of the many curry roux products made by House Food Corporation. When you say ‘Vermont Curry’, everyone knows that it is House Vermont Curry.
The roux contains apple and honey to reduce the spiciness so that even little kids can eat curry.
Apparently, the name ‘Vermont’ came from the state of Vermont in the USA, which was known for folk medicine with apple cider vinegar and honey. At the time of the first TV commercial, this folk medicine was well known and popular, so House Foods just borrowed the name ‘Vermont’.
House Food Corporation broadcasted the commercial with a catchy theme song. The commercial was a big hit and absolutely every household bought the roux and made curry for their kids. I suppose the Japanese curry rice became a national dish then.
There are many varieties of curry roux products are available now (see a few samples in above photo) and each household has its favourite curry roux. The roux made the curry-making so easy. Sauté the meat and vegetables, add water and cook them, then add the roux. Viola!
The photo below is the beef curry I made by just following the instructions on the pack (in English!). I used Java Curry (the middle one in the photo above). Because it is medium hot, the colour of the curry is darker than that of mild curry such as House Vermont Curry.
You can buy Japanese curry roux at Japanese/Asian grocery stores as well as most of supermarkets.
What’s in My Katsu Curry
Katsu Curry is simply a rice and curry with a cutlet on it. Since the cutlet is a meat dish on its own, my curry does not have any meat in it. I added three vegetables in the curry that are commonly used to make a Japanese Ccurry.
- House Vermont Curry (mild) – see the sample photo of the packet in the post
- Cooked rice
- Onion – sliced into 1cm wide pieces
- Potato – cut to 1.5cm / ⅝” cubes
- Carrot – sliced to 7mm / ¼” thick pieces
- Chicken Cutlet (Japanese Chicken Schnitzel) – cut into 2.5cm / 1″ wide strips
The curry roux does not have to be Vermont Curry and the spiciness can be different too. Depending on the brand of the curry roux, the amount of water required to make the right consistency of the curry is different. You need to read the instructions on the packet.
The combination of the vegetables can also be changed but I prefer using the vegetables that do not stand out too much in the sauce, e.g. large green leaves. The Chicken Cutlet is the hero of today’s dish and you want to draw an attention to the cutlet.
You will notice that the size of the vegetables in my recipe are not very large. This is because I wanted the cutlet to stand out even after pouring the curry on. Katsu curries served at restaurants often do not have anything in the sauce.
Katsu Curry – Great Pre-made Dish
You can store Japanese Curry for 2-3 days in the fridge and 1 month in freezer. But if you are freezing the curry, I strongly recommend avoiding potatoes added to the curry. Defrosted potatoes become spongy and the texture is not great.
When reheating the chilled curry, you may add some water to the curry because the roux thickens when cooled down. It still tastes great, though.
There are two ways to reheat frozen curry – heat in the microwave and heat in hot water bath.
When reheating the curry in your microwave, stir from time to time. The outer part of the curry gets heated and even starts bubbling but often the centre is still frozen. You need to mix the hot and cold to speed up the process of defrosting and heating.
In the hot water bath method, you don’t need to worry about occasional mixing. Put the block of frozen curry in a zip lock bag and place it in a sieve that can go inside a pot of boiling water. The sieve prevents the plastic from touching the side of the pot, which is extremely hot.
The Japanese curry is quite different in flavour and consistency from other authentic curries. The sauce is thicker than other curries in the world. It is similar to the consistency of béchamel sauce. But it is delicious!
Katsu curry is just a variation of Japanese curry with a Chicken Cutlet on top. I have used a store-bought block of Japanese curry roux, which is commonly used in Japanese households. The Chicken Cutlet brings the Japanese curry up to the next level. It’s so delicious and filling.
Time dos not include the time required to make Chicken Cutlet
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 400g / 0.9lb onion sliced into 1cm / ⅜” wide pieces
- 250g / 0.6lb potato cut into 1.5cm / ⅝” cubes
- 100g / 3.5oz carrot sliced to 7mm / ¼” thick pieces (note 1)
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ packet of 230g / 0.5lb House Vermont Curry (Mild, note 2)
- 800ml / 1.7pt water
- 4 cups cooked rice (hot)
- 4 Chicken Cutlets cut into 2.5cm / 1” wide strips
Add oil into a pot and heat over medium high heat.
Add onion and sauté for a few minutes or until the onion becomes translucent and edges start getting slightly burnt.
Add potatoes and carrots into the pot and stir for a couple of minutes or until the surface of the vegetables starts getting cooked.
Add water and turn the heat up to bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 7 minutes or until the vegetables are nearly cooked through (note 3).
Break the curry roux cake into small blocks along the lines and add them into the pot. Stir gently to blend the curry roux.
Place a lid on and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or until the curry roux is completely dissolved. Stir occasionally.
Check the consistency of the sauce. It should be like béchamel sauce. If too thick, adjust with some water. If too thin, cook further without the lid. It will thicken when cooled down as well.
Turn the heat off.
Place a cup of hot cooked rice onto one side of a plate. Place the chicken cutlet pieces next to the rice, leaning them on the rice so that there will be a space to pour the curry.
Pour curry next to the chicken cutlet and serve immediately.
1. If the carrot is fat, you may halve or quarter it lengthwise, then slice it.
2. I happened to have a mild curry pack. But you can use medium hot or hot curry or even another brand instead of House Food.
Different kinds/brands of roux might require different amounts of water. Please follow the instructions on the pack.
3. Put a skewer through to the potato/carrot. If the skewer can easily get through, the vegetables are cooked.
4. You may pre-make the curry and serve it later. The curry can be kept for few days in the fridge, 1 month in the freezer.
When the curry cools down, the sauce thickens. The consistency of the sauce should be like béchamel sauce. Check the consistency of the sauce after re-heating and if too thick, adjust with water.
To defrost your curry, see the post for two different methods.
5. I did not use it but you can add Fukujinzuke (Condiment for Japanese Curry) if you have it.
6. Nutrition per serving. It is a high calorie food. Eat vegetables rest of the day!
serving: 790g calories: 945kcal fat: 45g (69%) saturated fat: 8.3g (42%) trans fat: 0.3g polyunsaturated fat: 9.6g monounsaturated fat: 24g cholesterol: 198mg (66%) sodium: 559mg (23%) potassium: 958mg (27%) carbohydrates: 93g (31%) dietary fibre: 6g (25%) sugar: 8g protein: 41g vitamin a: 88% vitamin c: 36% calcium: 10% iron: 31%
Originally published in March 2017, split into two posts to have Chicken Cutlet in a separate post, improved photos and contents with Meal Ideas in 2020 (no change to recipe).