Chicken Katsu and Kappa Maki

Another recipe post today but this time something from slightly further afield.. I made chicken katsu and kappa maki (cucumber sushi rolls). It's a really simple dish to make and the only part you really have to practice at is rolling the sushi but there's plenty of videos online that walk you through exactly how to do it.
There's a few things you will need to go out and buy that you probably don't already have in your cupboards but the good news is that most good supermarkets have begun to stock Japanese cooking items so you should be able to buy most of it without having to go to a specialist store. The only thing you may struggle to get is the Tonkatsu sauce, which is a Japanese fruity/almost bbq sauce. I got mine from a Japanese supermarket in London.

This recipe serves 3-4 people and you will need:
For the Katsu:
A chicken breast per person or about 500g of readily sliced chicken breast
2 eggs
Plain flour
Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Tonkatsu sauce
Salt and pepper

For the sushi:
1 cup of sushi rice, uncooked
Cucumber, cut into strips about a cm wide
3 sheets of toasted nori/sushi nori
1/2 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
A bowl of water
Sushi rolling mat

The first thing you want to do is prepare the rice as per the instructions on the packet. It's a good idea to soak the rice for half an hour before cooking - I think this maybe breaks down the starch and makes it stickier, which is what you want. 
While that's soaking, prepare the chicken. If you've got chicken breasts, slice them into one inch strips.  Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and set to one side for a minute. Now you want to set up 3 bowls: one with flour in; one with the 2 eggs, whisked; and finally one with the panko. There's no exact rule on how much flour or panko. I just judge it by eye, but start with less than you think you might need as you can always add more.
Dip the chicken first in the flour, making sure it's coated all over, then in the egg, and finally into the panko making sure it's got even coverage all the way round.
Once you've done this to all of your chicken, you're ready to start frying. I'm lucky enough to have a chef for a father so our kitchen is quite well equipped with things that some kitchens won't have, like deep fat fryers.. If you have one, heat the oil to 180C. If not, fill a deep frying pan with oil and you will know if it's up to temperature by dropping a bit of the panko in, if it fries and bubbles then the oil is hot enough. 
At this point the rice is probably ready to go on the heat, so bring the water to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cover for as long as the instructions say.
This is quite a tedious process because you don't want to put too much chicken in the oil at once as it will bring down the temperature, so I normally go for 3 pieces at once. The chicken probably takes about 3 to 4 minutes to cook but only take it out when the panko has gone a golden brown. You can then take it out and leave it to rest on some kitchen roll which will aslo soak up some of the oil.
Don't forget to keep an eye on your rice and take it off the heat after the cooking time, transfer it into a bowl and leave it uncovered. Sprinkle it with the rice vinegar and mix. It doesn't matter if you haven't quite finished the chicken it needs to cool down to room temperature anyway.
Once you've fried all of your chicken you'll need to keep it warm while you're making the sushi so I usually put it in the oven at about 75C.

Now for the sushi. Set up your work station with the cucumber, the sushi rolling mat, the bowl of water, the sushi rice and the nori.

Take a knife and wet it slightly, and cut one of the nori sheets in half. Place the sheet onto your rolling mat and wet your fingers, this will stop the rice sticking to your hands. Cover the sheet in rice, leaving about an inch uncovered at the top edge. You want an even covering about half a cm thick. Next place the cucumber a couple of cm from the bottom of the sheet and you are ready to roll. You can also sprinkle some sesame seeds onto the cucumber at this point. This is the tricky part: You want to use the mat to roll the sushi, and I've tried extremely hard to try and explain in words how to do this but it is easier to show you, so you can watch a professional do it HERE.

Repeat this with the remaining 2 and a half nori sheets. Take a knife and wet it slightly, again this will help to cut the rolls. Cut them in half and then into thirds, giving you six even pieces of sushi per roll.

To serve, slice some raw white cabbage and put on the plate with the katsu on top and drizzle with the Tonkatsu sauce. You will want to serve the sushi with a selection of wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger.

And there you have it, a delicious Japanese meal, which is really quite simple to make! Try it!


Scott Frank said...

Thanks Daisy! Now I know what I'm making for dinner tomorrow night!

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